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XAM Spec Shapes Up

The Storage Networking Industry Associations (SNIA) eXtensible Access Method (XAM) specification is gradually making its way down the path from theoretical concept to deployable technology.

A number of advances have occurred, but users will probably have to wait until 2009, at the earliest, before the technology will impact their organizations.

SNIA began working on XAM in 2005. The finishing touches are now being applied to the first release of the specification, software development kits are making their way to market, and support is growing.

Still on the docket are the development of conformance testing procedures and tools, incorporation of the standard into production storage products, and most importantly, endorsements from application vendors.

XAM is designed to address a long-standing problem. Storage vendors have used proprietary interfaces, such as EMC’s Celerra and NetApp’s Snap, to tag data, so it could be located when needed by applications or storage systems. This approach has meant that application developers have been forced to write to each of these interfaces, and generally data management systems could only work with their own information.

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