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Hey! Out of My Margin

Anyone else catch that faint whiff of commoditization?

Well, somebody had to say it. That's the real reason the loosely formed Aperi consortium is causing such a fuss, quite apart from who was or wasn't invited to join and when. (See Aperi Appears Amid Questions.)

By working together, Brocade, Cisco, Computer Associates, IBM, McData, Network Appliance, and Sun hope to share open-source code and crack the nut of multivendor management. The thinking is that this sort of consortium approach will keep each vendor from having to reinvent the wheel of storage management.

Byte and Switch columnist Jon William Toigo refers to this as a "hack the planet" approach that the open-source community has applied to countless other IT requirements in the last 15 years. (See Strange Fascination With Aperi.) Aperi, he adds, is just what storage needs to overcome vendor inertia and their inability to wean themselves off proprietary goods.

But whether we're talking about information lifecycle management (ILM) or the Storage Management Interface Specification (SMI-S), most storage vendors have shown they'll tolerate only so much interoperability. It's pretty clear the hooks and the APIs that have to be shared aren't the brainbusters vendors might have us believe. And in some instances, they could get expensive to develop or refine.

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