The rift in the storage software industry has taken definite shape now IBM has revealed its plans for the Aperi open source group that it founded last year.
IBM said it will donate a million lines of storage management code to Aperi, and that its fellow Aperi members Fujitsu and McData will also hand over some code. Big Blue also announced that Aperi is to become part of the Eclipse Foundation, the now independent open source body that was originally set up by IBM.
The storage industry’s dominant trade body, the Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA), contributed to the announcement with an unequivocal endorsement of Aperi, which it said would accelerate the take-up of the SMI-S standard that the body itself is currently developing.
The storage software industry is now split into two camps – Aperi, and the so-called Gang of Five. Both claim to be promoting the SMI-S storage management standard, and both plan to release some form of public or shared building block code.
The differences are that the Gang of Five – which has not given itself a name – has not committed to open source code, dwarfs Aperi in terms of market presence, and says that, unlike Aperi, it will work from within SNIA.
Aperi was founded last year, and its 10 members consist of many of IBM’s partners and allies including Network Appliance, LSI Logic, Brocade Communications Systems, CA, Cisco Systems and McData. IBM’s announcement was the big Aperi splash that the Gang of Five had attempted to pre-empt with an announcement that it made just days before.
The Gang formed only recently when it released its statement, which re-affirmed its members’ commitment to the emerging SMI-S storage standard and to SNIA. Unlike Aperi, the Gang wields a lot of muscle, as it includes the three biggest names in the storage software sector – EMC, Symantec, and Hewlett-Packard Co – alongside the lesser presences of Hitachi and Sun Microsystems.
The statement also promised that, like Aperi, the group would develop some form of public, shared storage management code, although not necessarily open source. Coincidentally, SNIA recently admitted that it has proposed to its membership constitutional changes that, if approved later this year, will allow it to embrace code development.
The group of five’s statement did not mention Aperi by name, but its timing and its emphasis on SMI-S and action in concert with SNIA was clearly intended to remind the world that Aperi was set up outside of SNIA, and as such might be considered a proprietary effort. SNIA has, however, emphatically confirmed its support for Aperi.
IBM said that it will donate its code to Aperi at the start of July, and that the formation of a sub-group within Eclipse normally takes around 30 days to be approved. The million lines of IBM code are currently being assembled, and IBM said it is working to remove IBM-centric code the sort of content that might justify charges of a proprietary bias.
The SMI-S standard is some way from covering all storage management functions, however, and as such IBM’s shipping code as distinct from what it says it will donate to Aperi will certainly contain proprietary elements.