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Tivoli Storage VP: Speed Up Standards!

Laura Sanders, head of Tivoli's storage software unit, says the industry is lagging on standards

The head of IBM Tivoli's storage management software group, Laura Sanders, has been on the job for less than a year. But she quickly clued in that the storage world is woefully behind the times in one particular area: Today, there aren't viable standards for managing multivendor storage environments.

"That's what amazes me about the storage industry this software works only with that API, you need this software to talk to that switch," she says. "The customers are going to have to say, 'This standards process isn't happening fast enough.' "

Sanders, singing straight from the IBM songbook [ed. note: we wouldn't be surprised if one actually exists], believes standards are vital to the industry. Moreover, she believes that by aggressively driving support for the Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA) standards, Tivoli and IBM's storage hardware group will gain an edge against key competitors, most notably EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC).

"You have to build [software] in an open way – and I think that's going to hurt some folks who are talking one way and delivering in another," she says, referring not-very-elliptically to EMC.

Tivoli will need to use all the advantages at its disposal if it wants to increase its share in this highly competitive segment. In 2002, IBM Tivoli held 13 percent share of the overall storage software market by revenue, trailing EMC (25 percent) and Veritas Software Corp. (Nasdaq: VRTS) (19 percent), according to Gartner Inc.

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