Standards body the IETF has produced a standard for managing virtual fabrics in large storage networks.

Large storage area networks (SANs) are based on huge switches known as directors, which are often sub-divided into smaller virtual SANs for isolation from faults and for resource-sharing. However the consolidation of switches in a SAN fabric has been hindered by Until now there has been no standard way to manage virtual fabrics.

The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) IMSS working group has introduced a standard management information base (MIB) which means a director can be logically separated and managed as multiple virtual switches. It permits physical resources within compliant cross-vendor directors to be managed at a finer level. This should provide better resource consolidation and more efficient utilisation. Like server virtualisation it gives system administrators a better way to consolidate and share resources, manage users and servers.

When combined with the re-invigoration of the Storage Networking Industry Association's (SNIA) system management interface specification by the formation of the anti-Aperi group today, this pair of announcements heralds a major step forward in storage networking management.

The IETF draft standard was authored by McDATA and Cisco.