Big SAN Players Rally Behind SNIA

A dozen major storage area network (SAN) players rallied behind the flag of the Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA).

"We’re taking this enormous mass of the industry, and we’re saying, ‘We’re aligning all the arrows,’" Darren Thomas, vice president of Compaq’s Multi-Vendor Storage Business Unit, said during the teleconference Monday. "There’s a wave, if you will, coming."

A major stumbling block for SANs has been the lack of interoperability between components and technologies arising from a lack of standards. Competing efforts from industry bodies, such as SNIA, have confused efforts to standardize.

SNIA (, established in November 1997, consists of 77 companies. One purpose of the group is to develop standards proposals and offer them to standards bodies such as the Internet Engineering Task Force.

Other hardware vendors participating were Dell Computer Corp., EMC Corp., Hewlett-Packard Co., IBM Computer Corp., Quantum Corp., Sequent Computer Systems Inc., StorageTek and Sun Microsystems Inc. Networking and software participants were Brocade Communication Systems Inc., Legato Systems Inc. and Veritas Software.

One of the other coalitions working on defining standards and getting them adopted by standards bodies is the FibreAlliance, spearheaded by EMC. During the teleconference, EMC vice president of product management, Don Swatik, did not clarify EMC’s position. Work in the FibreAlliance would continue, he said. And: "We are extremely involved with the SNIA."

Members of the group say they will work to set priorities for SNIA. Among the first priorities will be developing a common interface module for network storage devices and agreeing upon a common disk resource management architecture. Work will also move ahead on setting common definitions for SAN terminology.

Part of the purpose of the announcement was to emphasize the priority the large companies were placing on moving ahead with standards, the officials said. "We’re going to deliver things this year," Compaq’s Thomas vowed. To that end, the companies have also pledged to provide the necessary resources in people, money and equipment. -- Scott Bekker, Staff Reporter.

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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