Management Muddle

Sun quits Aperi in the latest tempest in the storage standards teapot

June 22, 2006

2 Min Read
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5:55 PM -- Sun has quit Aperi, in the latest round of an ongoing storage standards melodrama -- er, make that "comedy of errors." (See Sun Withdraws From Aperi.)

Aperi, in case you've forgotten, was IBM's answer to other storage standards, and it caused a minor tradeshow kerfuffle among suppliers last fall when key players like HP and EMC didn't climb aboard. (See Aperi Appears Amid Questions.)

IBM reports that Aperi's current members are Brocade, Cisco, CA, Emulex, Fujitsu, IBM, LSI Logic, McDATA, and NetApp.

Sun's alternative to Aperi is to focus on the SNIA. The company's press release states: "Sun believes the storage industry requires a concerted and standards-based effort that can only be achieved through a governance model provided by the SNIA."

Unfortunately, not everyone agrees. Despite the good work that's being done, vendors still have not embraced standards in any meaningful way for centralized, cross-product storage management. Byte and Switch guest columnist, Jon William Toigo, described the situation in a column earlier this year:

  • Storage techs working behind closed doors have done their darndest to deliver a storage management paradigm that could work across heterogeneous infrastructure. Along the way, however, they... have been forced to dumb down the whole effort of uniform cross-platform management to avoid goring the sacred cows of the big iron vendors. (See Remaining Relevant for more.)

Today's release should be greeted with snorts of disgust from end users, who don't need any more evidence that multi-vendor management (at least the kind that could be easily built into storage products and accessible to end users) is doomed to resistance from big suppliers. Vendors simply don't want to make it easy for competitors to manage their wares, and the ongoing snipes and catfights prove it.

At the same time, suppliers are notorious for starting -- or renewing -- specs projects as a marketing strategy. Everyone plays along for the free PR before things simply evaporate. By that time, the effort's been largely forgotten, so there's no one to blame except maybe the cynics themselves, who shoulder their share of vendor criticism for exposing the travesty. (See Standard Response, Strange Fascination With Aperi, and Aperi's Seeds of Revolution.)

Bottom line? Comprehensive, heterogeneous management of storage devices is still missing in action, and there's little indication it will show up anytime soon -- at least if vendors keep passing the fiddle while Rome burns.

Mary Jander, Site Editor, Byte and Switch

Organizations mentioned in this article:

  • Brocade Communications Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: BRCD)

  • CA Inc. (NYSE: CA)

  • Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO)

  • EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC)

  • Emulex Corp. (NYSE: ELX)

  • Fujitsu Ltd. (Tokyo: 6702; London: FUJ; OTC: FJTSY)

  • IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM)

  • Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ)

  • LSI Logic Corp. (NYSE: LSI)

  • McData Corp. (Nasdaq: MCDTA)

  • Network Appliance Inc. (Nasdaq: NTAP)

  • Sun Microsystems Inc.0

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