HP has announced that it will exchange Application Programming Interface (API) code with IBM for its enterprise storage products in a bid to improve interoperability.
The agreement will enable HP to support IBM storage products through its OpenView management software. IBM's storage management software will offer similar support for HP storage hardware.
Robin Burke, principal analyst at Dataquest, said the agreement is evidence of a broader trend. "Everybody is getting into storage interoperability, and there will be more announcements on API sharing in the next few months," he said.
HP also recently announced a similar arrangement with enterprise storage vendor EMC.
Darren Gale, software manager of HP's Storage Business Unit, said: "The idea of the API swaps is to lower the workload of storage administrators, enabling them to use OpenView with devices from other manufacturers."
Gale explained that the move came as the result of a lack of open standards in the storage industry. "Industry standards are still a little way off. For now, we need to support proprietary APIs in order to interact efficiently with other vendors' devices," he said.
HP and IBM, along with other enterprise storage manufacturers, have developed a draft specification for storage management standards through the Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA).
The technology, codenamed "Bluefin", enables discovery and management of multiple vendor resources within a Storage Attached Network, through a common interface.
But the Bluefin technology is unlikely to come to fruition in the near future and will not address support for legacy storage systems.
As a result, said Gale, the API swap between HP and IBM could be beneficial both for future and legacy storage.
Burke also believes that Bluefin will not be sufficient. "Standards will only address a lowest common denominator and won't solve everything," he said. "Vendors will still need to exchange interoperability APIs in future."
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