Demonstrating its credentials as a supreme master at playing the open source marketing/politics game IBM and a group of other storage vendors are forming an open source storage systems management group called Aperi - a Latin word meaning 'to open'.

It seems pretty obvious it's an attempt to close the door on EMC, Microsoft and others, being an extension of the ongoing Linux/Microsoft war into storage.

Aperi consists of IBM, CA, Brocade, McDATA, Cisco, Engenio, NetApp, Fujitsu, and Sun. IBM donates some SW to it and the group says it supports the SNIA and SMI-S.

The SNIA says it supports Aperi. It could hardly do otherwise - Aperi members are in the SNIA and it can't even consider booting IBM out or ticking it off - which many will believe it should.

Aperi will develop a common storage management platform and says the SNIA develops standards, not a common platform. Aperi will build on SNIA standards. The first software for this platform is IBM's and group publicity says other members are free to donate their own software.

Meaning they haven't done so but might.

What a pity the group's credentials have been holed below the waterline at the start. According to reports EMC and HP weren't even approached about joining before the group announced itself.

An EMC spokesperson in the report commented: "We were perplexed that EMC was informed of the proposed initiative from IBM AFTER IBM had already pre-briefed some of the media, reflecting a consortium without EMC's inclusion... We were equally perplexed that the Storage Networking Industry Association -- the existing industry consortium that has been working on storage management standards for a number of years -- was also not engaged in the process."

An HP spokesperson in the report commented about the Aperi management platform: " this appears to be based on IBMÂ’s own technology under the guise of open source."

Others not in the Aperi club include HDS, Symantec and Microsoft.

How can Aperi group members work effectively with EMC, HP, Microsoft, and Symantec in SNIA 'common management platform' activities from now on? They'll be suspecting a hidden agenda.

Like Eclipse, Aperi will be run as a not-for-profit (except IBM and other group members indirectly through sales to LInux users of their products) organisation. The Aperi web site is an IBM site. No doubt it will get its own site some time soon.

Well, what can you say? We've been here before. We'll be here again. It's business. It's marketing. It's politics. Where's the toothpaste? I need to wash my mouth out.