Storage UPDATE, September 23, 2002

Storage UPDATE—brought to you by Windows & .NET Magazine Network.
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(below COMMENTARY)


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September 23, 2002—In this issue:

1. COMMENTARY

  • CIM-Compliant Storage Management Gains Traction

2. ANNOUNCEMENTS

  • Take Our Quick Survey and You Could Win a $200 Gift Certificate!
  • UNIX, Linux, and Windows: Managing the Unruly Trinity

3. RESOURCES

  • Storage Highlight: Dealing with Brick-Level Exchange Backups
  • Featured Thread: Storage Device Is Busy
  • Submit Top Product Ideas

4. NEW AND IMPROVED

  • Better Manage Storage Assets in Mixed Storage Environments
  • Consolidate Data in SANs

5. CONTACT US

  • See this section for a list of ways to contact us.

1. COMMENTARY

  • CIM-COMPLIANT STORAGE MANAGEMENT GAINS TRACTION

  • (by Elliot King, [email protected])
    Sun Microsystems recently released what the company claims is the first Web-Based Enterprise Management (WBEM)- and Common Information Model (CIM)-compliant Storage Area Network (SAN) management system. That release, coupled with a flurry of announcements from major storage vendors that they have exchanged APIs, signals that CIM-based storage management is finally starting to gain traction.

    Last month, Sun unveiled Sun StorEdge Enterprise Storage Manager (ESM) software for SAN management (for more information, see the first article listed in Resources below). The software provides a centralized management platform for viewing and managing storage environments. The product incorporates the core management services of SAN topology reporting, device configuration, and proactive health monitoring and diagnostics, and represents a key element in Sun's efforts to promote fully integrated, open SAN architecture. During the product announcement, Sun took a swipe at the API exchanges of other major storage vendors, arguing that only products that adhered to open standards will open the door to new storage solutions.

    Sun was alluding to deals between Hewlett-Packard (HP), EMC, IBM, and Hitachi to exchange APIs (for more information, see the second article in Resources, below). But Sun shouldn't misconstrue those deals as efforts to slow down the move to CIM-compliant storage management solutions. In fact, the companies involved in the deals positioned those exchanges as stepping-stones to the delivery of CIM-compliant products, which should be available in first quarter 2003.

    The recent announcements mark an important turning point for the application of CIM in the storage arena. CIM is an object-oriented conceptual information model that the Distributed Management Taskforce (DMTF) developed for describing management information that isn't bound to a particular implementation. You can apply CIM throughout the network infrastructure. But because CIM is implementation-independent, CIM doesn't provide sufficient information for product development. You need to create specific extensions to apply CIM to different products such as servers, mobile devices, desktop devices, and storage devices.

    CIM debuted in 1996, and many observers think that storage companies have dragged their feet in incorporating the technology into their products. IBM first showcased CIM technology in 1999, but efforts to bring products to market have largely stalled since then.

    Two recent developments have accelerated the move toward truly open standards, however. In May, a consortium of 17 members of the Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA) who have joined together in the Partner Development Program unveiled a specification called Bluefin (for more information, see the third article in Resources below), which describes how to use the storage extensions for CIM. Company officials involved in Bluefin described storage extensions as a pack of playing cards and Bluefin as the rules to the games that you can play with the cards. Bluefin does more than simply specify the object model; it documents what implementations need to do to achieve interoperability.

    In addition to CIM, Bluefin draws on yet another standard developed by the DMTF, WBEM. Last summer, Winston Bumpus, president of the DMTF and director of standards at Novell, described WBEM as a forerunner of Web services. WBEM is a set of management and Internet standard technologies that centralize the management of enterprise computing environments. The tools let companies deliver a well-integrated set of standards-based management tools that leverage Web technologies.

    CIM, WBEM, and Bluefin together provide a sufficient foundation for the emergence of products incorporating open storage management standards. In fact, although Sun claims to have released the first CIM and WBEM product, in July, the start-up company StorScape launched a CIM-based approach to storage management. According to company president Mark Urdahl, who was involved in establishing Fibre Channel as an industry standard, his company's products are the first to use CIM "from the ground up." The first CIM-based StorScape solution allows for policy-based automation across storage infrastructures.

    CIM-compliant products appear in storage technology road maps released by IBM, Hitachi, and HP. Even EMC, which some observers believe has the most to lose as open standards take hold, has publicly supported the CIM and Bluefin approach. And perhaps EMC has no choice. As James Staten, vice president of strategy at Sun, has noted, "CIM/WBEM is now commercially viable and ready for development. Vendors can start writing CIM-based applications today." Achieving the goal of interoperability in the storage arena is getting closer.

    RESOURCES

    Sun Microsystems Delivers New CIM-Compliant SAN Management Software

    HP and IBM Expand Storage Interoperability Initiatives

    Bluefin: A Storage Analytics Background Document


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    2. ANNOUNCEMENTS

  • TAKE OUR QUICK SURVEY AND YOU COULD WIN A $200 GIFT CERTIFICATE!

  • We need your opinion! Take our brief survey about Windows management tools, and we'll automatically enter your name into a drawing for a $200 gift certificate from Amazon.com. Click here now to start the survey!

  • UNIX, LINUX, AND WINDOWS: MANAGING THE UNRULY TRINITY

  • Sign up for our latest Web seminar at which we'll discuss the concerns associated with managing a heterogeneous server environment. You'll learn more about the management characteristics of each platform and about existing management solutions and how well they work. Sponsored by NetIQ. There's no charge for this online event, but space is limited so register now at
    http://www.winnetmag.com/seminars/netiq

    3. RESOURCES

  • STORAGE HIGHLIGHT: DEALING WITH BRICK-LEVEL EXCHANGE BACKUPS

  • Each month, the Storage Admin channel highlights several articles about important storage topics such as backup and recovery, storage-related hardware and software, and application-specific storage. This week, take a look at Jerry Cochran's "Using a Recovery Server in an Exchange 5.5 Environment." Jerry discusses how you can use an Exchange Server 5.5 recovery server to simplify brick-level backups.
    http://www.storageadmin.com/Articles/Index.cfm?ArticleID=24995

  • ATTEND OUR FREE WINDOWS SECURITY SOLUTIONS WEBINAR!

  • If you're using Windows 2000 to run mission-critical applications, you know Win2K has security concerns. The Windows & .NET Magazine's Security Solutions Summit, a half-day online event, addresses where the vulnerabilities lie, how you can strengthen your enterprise's security, and how you can exploit the same tools that hackers use. Register today!
    http://www.winnetmag.com/seminars/security

  • FEATURED THREAD: STORAGE DEVICE IS BUSY

  • After installing a new storage device, Mudjive is trying to do a test backup but keeps getting messages reporting that the storage device is busy.
    To read more about the problem or offer your expertise, use the following link:
    http://www.winnetmag.com/forums/messageview.cfm?catid=46&threadid=46544

  • SUBMIT TOP PRODUCT IDEAS

  • Have you used a product that changed your IT experience by saving you time or easing your daily burden? Do you know of a terrific product that others should know about? Tell us! We want to write about the product in a future What's Hot column. Send your product suggestions to [email protected].

    4. NEW AND IMPROVED

  • BETTER MANAGE STORAGE ASSETS IN MIXED STORAGE ENVIRONMENTS

  • StorageTek announced Automated Cartridge System Library Software (ACSLS) 6.1, library management software that helps you better manage storage assets in a mixed data storage environment. ACSLS includes display and reporting capabilities to let you consolidate storage assets and manage library resources from a central location. Pricing starts at $1100. Contact StorageTek at 303-673-5151 or 800-877-9220.
    http://www.storagetek.com

  • CONSOLIDATE DATA IN SANS

  • Advanced Digital Information Corporation (ADIC) and Fujitsu Siemens Computers are partnering to let Fujitsu Siemens Computers provide ADIC's Scalar 10K tape library though its sales channels. The Scalar 10K is designed for data consolidation in Storage Area Networks (SANs). Featuring Linear Tape-Open (LTO) drives, the library provides storage capacity ranges from 70TB to 958TB. For pricing, contact ADIC at 425-881-8004 or Fujitsu Siemens Computers at [email protected]
    http://www.adic.com
    http://www.fujitsu-siemens.com

    5. CONTACT US
    Here's how to reach us with your comments and questions:

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