IBM Corp’s announcement of a cross-vendor, open source storage management software project has received a lukewarm reception, after Big Blue snubbed and in return was snubbed by other suppliers.
The aim of the project is to create open source club that will share low-level plumbing components for storage management software. But despite being conceived some months ago, the project has failed to recruit all but three of the top ten storage software vendors.
EMC Corp, by far the largest storage software supplier on the market, was not invited to join until the very last minute. Symantec Corp, another giant of the industry, did not join and it is not known whether it was invited.
Having been informed of the proposed initiative last evening, we are still sifting through the pro’s and cons. If it is an initiative that makes sense and benefits our customers, then we’ll endorse it, an EMC spokesman said.
Hewlett-Packard Co, which does not share EMC’s history of frosty relations with IBM, appears to have been invited in reasonable time. But the general manager of HP’s storage software and ILM division Frank Harbist still wrote off the project as largely a public relations stunt.
Whether or not HP’s recent purchase of SRM software startup AppIQ Inc has anything to do with IBM’s move or with HP’s rejection is not yet clear.
Dubbed Aperi, the project has managed to recruit Network Appliance, Cisco, Computer Associates, Brocade, Engenio, Fujitsu, McData, and Sun Microsystems, now the owner of Storage Technology Corp.
One problem facing the initiative, which has been dubbed Aperi, is that it has been set up by IBM, rather than by an industry body such as the Storage Network Industry Association. When asked why the project had not been established under SNIA’s wing, IBM and other Aperi members simply said that SNIA is responsible for standards, and that Aperi will instead concern open-source code.
Aperi members said that the project will focus on low-level code, performing functions such as discovery with SRM tools. For HP, Harbist said: We don’t understand why IBM has skipped over the necessary first step of defining a specification, and instead has moved directly to suggesting an implementation and a business model.
Another vendor that did not want to be named said that while the industry could benefit from a way to share low-level code so that suppliers can concentrate on higher-level technology, mutual distrust means that any such effort will need to be led by an existing body – such as SNIA.