HP, Hitachi Exchange Storage APIs, Allow Software To Manage Each Others' Arrays

Hewlett-Packard Hitachi

As a result, HP's OpenView Storage Area Management software will be able to directly manage Hitachi's Lightning 9900 and 9900-V series and Thunder 9200 series storage arrays. Hitachi's HiCommand Management framework will be able to directly manage HP's StorageWorks XP, VA, EVA, and EMA arrays.

Executives from both companies said while the agreement and other API exchange agreements signed with IBM and EMC allows HP to manage about 90 percent of all the storage arrays installed in the market, the agreements are still only an interim step until industrywide standards such as Common Information Model (CIM) and Bluefin are finalized. Finalization is expected this fall by the Storage Networking Industry Association.

CIM provides a conceptual view of physical and logical system components of a SAN. Bluefin is a SAN management specification that can identify, classify, monitor and control physical and logical resources across the enterprise using CIM.

Hitachi and HP have three types of API licensing arrangements, said Steve East, vice president of storage integration at Hitachi Data Systems (HDS).

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Under one type of agreement, HDS and various storage ISVs exchange APIs under HDS' TrueNorth framework. A second arrangement allows HDS to exchange hardware APIs with HP, Sun, and IBM, helping build interoperable SANs. The third type, which includes this most recent agreement, allows hardware APIs to be incorporated directly in the vendor's storage management software offerings, East said.

HDS plans to deliver a CIM-enabled version of its HiCommand application by the end of the year. However, that version will continue to be a work-in-progress as CIM and Bluefin become adopted by other vendors in the industry.

Next week, HP will unveil details about its latest storage application, OpenView Storage Area Management version 3.0, said Mark Sorenson, vice president of HP's Storage Software Division.

Version 3.0 will offer support for new storage arrays via plug-in modules. Sorenson said he expects to see direct support for Hitachi's arrays, as well as EMC's Symmetrix and IBM's Shark arrays, by November, with support for EMC's Clariion arrays expected in the future.

By the end of this year, OpenView will be supporting the CIM and Bluefin standards, with fairly complete support expected in the first half of next year, Sorenson said.

Christine Wallis, senior vice president of global strategy and planning at HDS, said API exchanges help the channel by giving solution providers tools to ease heterogeneous SAN integration. "Anything that brings vendors to work together makes it easier for [solution providers," Wallis said.

Sun Microsystems, which also is a major reseller of HDS storage arrays, admonished both competitor HP and partner HDS for exchanging APIs instead of focusing on getting CIM capabilities into their products as soon as possible.

"This is a disappointing step as it distracts these companies from the full-functionality (sic) customers need that can only be delivered through CIM-compliant products," said James Staten, director of strategy, Sun Microsystems, in a statement. "Vendors, such as HP, are wasting R and D time and money on a temporary solution. Our customers need and want simplicity in managing storage, lower cost and choice. We're delivering on CIM today, and we're not going to take our eye off the ball. We think this will take HP and HDS six to nine months to achieve the promises that they're making today. This is valuable time and resources that we're spending delivering on the open standards with our partners."

The API exchange is only the latest in a series of similar moves by major storage vendors.

In late August, HP and IBM expanded an existing API agreement to include new storage products. IBM agreed to license the API for its Shark storage array to HP for use with OpenView, while IBM gained the ability to integrate APIs from HP's EVA and EMA arrays into its Tivoli Storage Manager application.

In mid-July, HP and EMC signed a similar agreement for their storage arrays, expanding on an arrangement first inked between EMC and the pre-merger Compaq.