Hewlett Packard (HP) and Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) have agreed to allow cross-management of each other's storage products while they wait for the Bluefin storage area network (San) standards to arrive.
The exchange of about 10 groups of existing storage application programming interfaces (APIs) by each company will mean that an enterprise can use either HP OpenView storage area management software or HDS HiCommand management framework to manage a mixed HP/HDS environment.
But the move is simply a stopgap measure while the much-touted Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA) San interoperability standards crawl towards completion.
For HP this is its third arrangement, having swapped APIs with IBM and EMC, but HDS has been more reticent, only releasing its storage APIs to Sun for its StorageEdge 9900 systems.
The Common Information Model is the underlying architecture for SNIA's storage management initiative that will be used in Bluefin-compatible San components, designed to open up San interoperability for the first time. Some Bluefin-compatible products have already begun to appear.
"San standards are not there yet," said Bob Plumridge, director of software products for HDS in Europ, Middle East and Africa.
"The Common Information Model 2.7 schema is ratified and released but that took longer than expected and it only displays configurations and ports. In release 2.8 we will start to have the ability to manipulate these but this could be six months away. The [API exchange] will protect us against slippage."
He said that there had not been huge customer demand yet but customers were wanting to know when the functionality would be available. Both HP and HDS were fully committed to the SNIA standards, he said.
The agreement allows HP OpenView storage area management software to manage HDS' Lightning 9900 and 9900V series and Thunder 9200 series storage arrays.
HDS HiCommand will be able to manage HP StorageWorks XP, VA and Enterprise Virtual Array disk arrays, and StorageWorks Enterprise Modular Array storage systems.
Plumridge said he did not blame SNIA for the slow pace of standards development. "Every large manufacturer is involved, which is a first. All have their own requirements so it's a tough job," he said.
Nor will the API integration be wasted work. Mark Sorenson, vice president of HP's storage software division commented: "The knowledge HP is gaining through integrating API technologies from Hitachi and other companies into a common software management platform will be used to assist the industry in making Bluefin and SMI a reality."
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