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The announcement follows the development of an industry standards initiative known as the Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA) Storage Management Initiative (SMI), which was previously referred to as the Common Information Model/Web-Based Enterprise Model/Bluefin specification.
The SMI standard addresses a number of critical enterprise storage concerns in that it allows storage management software platforms, or clients, to discover, collect data from, and manage multivendor devices of all types, called providers, in a storage area network.
EMC's decision to support open standards in its WideSky platform gives it the ability to collect data from the SMI-compliant storage devices that are likely to come to market early next year from most vendors after the SMI standard is ratified. This is expected to happen in March or April next year.
According to EMC chief technology officer Mark Lewis, this support combined with WideSky's capabilities, will allow independent software vendors to worry less about writing code to collect data from SMI-enabled devices and instead focus on the capabilities of their own applications.
"Just programming to SMI will only allow you to probe devices on the storage area network," Lewis explained. "With WideSky, though a middleware platform, we go down deeper and present all the data we collect from switches and arrays, so developers don't have to code these themselves."
Lewis explained that WideSky will then present the collected data to Storage Resource Management software platforms that do the actual management of the SAN. He added that independent software vendors are interested in creating applications that accomplish functions and are not interested in writing code to query devices.