Sun Microsystems claims Java can help solve the problems of managing storage devices which work to different standards.
The company last week published the first draft of its Jiro specifications - a set of specifications for Java based interfaces which allow storage management devices to work together.
Jiro had previously been referred to as Project Storex. A final version is due later this year.
Jiro is intended to make storage management easier by allowing developers to write common management applications for different storage systems.
"This is probably the biggest step forward in storage management for years," said independent analyst Geoff Norman. "If you want to bring in genuine cross platform storage management, then you need a technology like Java to do it."
However, other analysts were more cautious. "It's pointless Sun taking such an initiative on its own, it needs the other storage vendors to support it," said Claus Egge, storage analyst for IDC.
While a number of suppliers, including BMC, Veritas, Hitachi Data Systems and Storagetek have backed the initiative, major systems suppliers such as IBM, Hewlett-Packard, and Compaq are not supporting it.
"This is still very early in the game," said Chris Sarfas, product marketing manager for Sun UK. "No other vendors are being precluded from joining. It's up to them to decide whether they want to join or not."
One supplier unlikely to join is storage giant EMC. "I would say this is bad news for EMC," said Norman.
Nigel Ghent, UK marketing director for EMC replied: "There are other initiatives which EMC is backing which have a much better chance of achieving the goal of open storage management."
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