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Sun 25 Aug 2002 04:00 AM

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Making Storage Managment easy

There was an interesting announcement last month from the Storage Network Industry Association (SNIA) about its Storage Management Initiative (SMI) to develop a series of standard formats for interoperability between equipment from various storage vendors.

There was an interesting announcement last month from the Storage Network Industry Association (SNIA) about its Storage Management Initiative (SMI) to develop a series of standard formats for interoperability between equipment from various storage vendors.

The system called Bluefin, will allow heterogeneous storage environments to be managed much more easily. As well as managing them, it should also make installation an easier process, which opens the door to a wider range of solution providers and VARs to get into the storage business.

The aim of the initiative is to allow customers to have best-of-breed solutions rather than be limited one or two vendors because the cost of managing a mixed environment outweighs the benefits.

Storage has long been considered a murky area to those who are not in the know but this move should make it a more straightforward area for non-specialists to enter. It is also an area in which technology is continuing to develop at a fast pace and with it the management options; see the take up in optical storage and storage on demand initiatives for evidence.

However the move does not necessarily mean that the storage market will become consolidated with prices becoming the main driver. There will still be plenty of room for the proper expertise to be paid its worth. However, companies and individuals with that knowledge would be well advised to keep themselves up to date on developments that could threaten their value.

It is encouraging that the industry should be making moves itself to develop standards because in various industries in the past incompatibility has been a problem for end users and eventually the companies in the losing side of the argument.

But the SMI will take some time to be finalised and then adopted. So what is the best strategy in the meantime if you are not qualified on the various competing proprietary standards? It depends on whether you are willing to take up certifications that may well change in some significant ways over the next six months, otherwise wait and see might be the best option.

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