New Open-Source Group Formed Without Key Players

The project, named Aperi, Latin for “to open,” launched last week and is being led by IBM. While Brocade Communication Systems, Computer Associates International, McData and five others are joining the project, EMC, Hewlett-Packard, Hitachi Data Systems and Symantec have not.

Jim Stallings, vice president of intellectual property and standards at IBM, Armonk, N.Y., said that the success of several open source initiatives has shown that vendors can work together for the good of customers. “Now it&'s time to do the same with storage,” he said.

In the past, data center storage environments have separated vendor from vendor and software from hardware, creating major problems for customers who then need extra software and databases to connect multivendor environments, Stallings said.

“It&'s difficult to manage the storage environment when the vendors don&'t talk to each other. But there has to be involvement from manufacturers who offer best-of-breed products,” said Pat Edwards, vice president of sales at Alliance Technology Group, a Hanover, Md.-based Sun and Network Appliance storage solution provider.

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Aperi has its critics, especially some of the key vendors who are not a part of the initiative.

Several vendors wondered why Aperi came into play outside of the Storage Networking Industry of America (SNIA), which is developing the Storage Management Initiative Specification (SMI-S) to standardize interoperable storage management technologies. Stallings said Aperi is working with SNIA, and that all the Aperi members also belong to SNIA.

“[IBM has] defined both implementation and business models, to their advantage, without first defining the specification—an activity usually done in conjunction with other entities such as vendors,” Frank Harbist, vice president and general manager of ILM and storage software at HP, said in a statement.

Symantec is not joining because it believes the storage management community should focus efforts on SNIA and SMI-S, according to a statement.