IBM is placing Aperi, its open source storage management group, under indirect industry authorisation. Aperi will join the Eclipse Foundation, the generic open source community. There will be a formal relationship with the storage networking industry organisation (SNIA).
Previously IBM founded Aperi in October, 2005, in such a way that snubbed EMC and HP and implied the SNIA's own storage system management interface specification (SMI-S) was unacceptably slow in coming to fruition.
Nothing then happened publicly until last week when Sun abruptly left Aperi and joined an anti-Aperi group (AAG).
This group then collectively affirmed the primacy of the SNIA on approving specifications and technologies for SMI-S.
It was our speculation then that IBM would have to submit Aperi to oversight by the SNIA. This is what is going to happen.
Robin Glasgow, SNIA executive director, stated in a June 24th e-mail: "This coming week, the Aperi community will make an announcement stating their intention to form within The Eclipse Foundation and also stating their plans to establish a formalized relationship with the SNIA." He is very keen to unify the activities of Aperi and the AAG: "All members of the Aperi community and all of the companies referenced in the June 22nd press release (AAG) are active, contributing SNIA members and the SNIA recognizes they are all passionate about the success of SMI-S."
The AAG needs the SNIA charter changed so that it can produce 'SNIA' APIs and technologies for SMI-S. But with both Aperi and the AAG set to produce SMI-S technologies the SNIA would have to choose technologies from one or the other side, leading to time-consuming and potential divisive discussions between representatives from Aperi and AAG in SNIA workgroup meetings.
SNIA divisions appear
An SNIA Board of Directors vice-chair, Ray Dunn, said: "Software development within the SNIA makes a lot of sense. The SNIA represents the majority of storage industry players and is the most logical place for new collaborative initiatives to come to fruition."
Robin Glasgow doesn't copy this sentiment, talking instead of: "a relationship with SNIA that will focus on standards, testing and implementation of SMI-S, testing of applications using SMI-S, and common marketing and education programs that focus on SMI-S and storage management."
"While consortia are free to develop specifications and standards independent of the SNIA, if these are offered to the SNIA, they will undergo the same open review process that an SNIA internally developed specification would."
Far better, Glasgow is saying, for the SNIA to approve specifications and APIs but not implementations. It's likely it will re-affirm itself as a standards body, not a code production group.
Both Aperi and the AAG need the SNIA's approval for end-user credibility so there is now little danger of either group operating without SNIA endorsement of their code products as SMI-S-compliant. AAG though must now see little hope of persuading the SNIA to change its constitution to produce code that the AAG wants in opposition to Aperi.