The lowdown on SMI-S

What is it? SMI-S is the Storage Management Initiative Specification. It has been developed by the Storage Networking Industry Association to create a common approach to managing different vendors' storage products.

How does it work? SMI-S uses the Common Information Model and Web-based Enterprise Management specifications to create common models for describing storage hardware and management functions. Vendors then write interfaces to let their products share information via these common models.

What's in it for buyers? When SMI-S is fully adopted, buyers won't have to learn entirely new management instructions for different vendors' equipment. They will be able to manage their entire SAN from a single console, without being locked in to a single SAN vendor.

What's in it for vendors? SMI-S compliance will let vendors and application developers bring products to market more quickly because they won't have to write different interfaces to other vendors' products.

Must-know info? SMI-S will open new avenues for both buyers and sellers of storage products. While the technology's main focus today is on SAN management, it will likely move on to more comprehensive storage management issues, covering network-attached storage and storage over IP.

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