IBM and Hitachi develop open standard SANs

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IBM and Hitachi develop open standard SANs

IBM and Hitachi have announced separate plans to support a new set of standards that promise to ease storage management and make system administrators' lives easier.

The two companies have laid out detailed roadmaps for adding new management protocols to their storage hardware and software products. Both companies plan to deliver products next year that follow the Common Information Model (CIM) and Web-based Enterprise Management (WBEM) standards, which are designed to make it easier for customers to manage storage networks made up of hardware from a variety of vendors.

IBM and Hitachi, like most major vendors in the storage business, are working to open up their storage management platforms for storage area networks in an effort to help users who may have struggled to link hardware and software from a variety of vendors. The companies have turned to the CIM and WBEM technology to create a standard way of letting their products communicate with products from other vendors.

IBM has started a programme to let independent software vendors test their applications with hardware and software from IBM that supports the CIM and WBEM standards. This could help ISVs to create management products with tight links to IBM products, Jim Kelly, vice-president of enterprise storage products, said. BMC Software, Computer Associates International and Veritas are also involved in the development of the IBM programme.

IBM has also announced plans to double the capacity of its TotalStorage Enterprise Storage Server, better known as Shark. Both the Model 800 and 800 Turbo systems will be available in November with 146Gbyte drives, bringing the total capacity of the system to 56Tbytes, Kelly said.

When the new drives arrive, IBM plans to provide its customers with better software management tools for the Shark products. Administrators will be able to write scripts that automate repetitive commands. Customers will be able to use the scripts to discover information about the status of devices connected in a SAN, check the amount of storage space available on disks and free up more capacity for applications.

Meanwhile Hitachi has demonstrated its CIM-compliant HiCommand Device Manager working with storage products from other vendors. Hitachi plans to release the product, which allows users to set up policies for automating storage management, by the end of the year, said Phil Townsend, senior director of product marketing at Hitachi Data Systems.

HDS has also formed a new Global Solution Services organisation. The group will offer services to ease managing SANs and related software, Townsend said.

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