Four vendors have rolled out a new technology initiative designed to provide end-to-end data integrity and avoid corruption of databases running on enterprise storage systems.

Oracle, Emulex, LSI and Seagate introduced the Data Integrity Initiative (DII), part of ANSI's T10 Data Integrity Field (DIF) standard, at the Storage Networking World event in San Diego.

The DII technology, which provides a standard data-checking mechanism to monitor the integrity of data, evolved out of Oracle 's Hardware Assisted Resilient Data (HARD) initiative. DII will provide Oracle users running on Linux the ability to not only detect data corruption, but also isolate and report the source of errors and ensure data integrity.

With DII technology, an Oracle application sends a block of information with integrity checks to an Emulex host bus adapter. The Emulex host bus adapter validates the data and sends the data block with its integrity check across the Fibre Channel fabric to the storage array. The storage array in turn validates the metadata and writes the data to RAID memory. The array then sends the block of data to the disk, which validates the information before writing it to disk.

DII replaces the proprietary data integrity checks each component - host bus adapters, array and disk - formerly performed. In traditional systems, when corruption occurs, it can be difficult to pinpoint where in the process of writing data to disk that corruption occurred. By using the same proposed standard, DII avoids this and saves users from vendors' finger-pointing when components fail and corruption occurs.

If adopted by the industry, DII would require changes to storage hardware in order for users to receive the full benefits of the technology. Emulex, LSI, Oracle and Seagate expect to see its implementation in storage hardware by 2008.

Conceivably, DII could be adopted by other database vendors such as IBM and other host bus adapter vendors such as QLogic. In addition, DII could apply not only to databases, but also to file systems and other applications running in the storage infrastructure.

So far no Fibre Channel fabric vendor is a member of the initiative.