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Issue of April 2004 

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‘Interoperability levels the playing field’

The SNIA has finally released a new specification and a conformance testing program. Ronald Demone, Vice Chairman, South Asia Regional Affiliate, Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA) updates us on the latest developments. by Brian Pereira

What are the new initiatives taken by SNIA?

The biggest thing we are trying to push forward worldwide is a test program called SNIA Conformance Testing Program (SNIA-CTP). It's being designed by working groups in the US. SNIA-CTP is a suite of tests that allows people to certify their solutions, within our own testing environment, in our labs (See box).

The group will also release a new specification referred to as SMI-S (Storage Management Interface Specification). This is a specification for interoperability between vendors.

Can you update us on CIM? Are there CIM-compliant products in the market yet?

Common Information Model was initially established by the Distributed Management Task Force (DMTF). But as a standard management interface SMI-S provides new features that extend CIM. There's also a Web-based enterprise management standard to create interoperable storage. It's called Web-Based Enterprise Management (WBEM) and it's an integral part of SMI-S.

What are your plans for South Asia? Is an India chapter on the cards?

There is a lot of interest in India and we feel an India chapter is important. But right now we'd like to keep our program together in South Asia, and India will be a country member under South Asia.

We have 12 members in Asia, and the South Asia Regional Affiliate of SNIA are primarily an organizing committee and now a governing body.

Traditionally, API exchanges between storage vendors has been the way to promote interoperability. What more needs to be done here?

The SNIA will be the body that ensures interoperability between storage vendors by using published and accepted standards. That's why it's important that the vendor committee should be involved with the SNIA.

It has taken sometime for the SNIA to come up with a specification. The SNIA-CTP is due for release late this quarter, after which the vendors can start conformance testing against the specification.

Is there a message you want to send out to vendors?

Standards are created and popularized by standards organizations like SNIA and IEEE. And these standards are very important for the industry. But it's more important that we have interoperability. It levels the playing field for today's and tomorrow's vendors, and gives better opportunities to take advantage of new technologies.

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