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Created: May 23, 2002.
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SNIA Announces Bluefin SAN Management Specification Using WBEM/MOF/CIM.

The Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA) has acknowledged receipt of a draft specification for a "proposed common interface for SAN [Storage Area Network] management that can reliably identify, classify, monitor and control physical and logical resources across the enterprise using a common transport for communication. The specification, code-named 'Bluefin,' employs technology from the Web Based Enterprise Management (WBEM) initiative that uses the Managed Object Format (MOF) to describe system resources based on a Common Information Model (CIM). Bluefin introduces new technology for security, locking, and discovery for SAN management. The Distributed Management Task Force (DMTF) and SNIA have been in close collaboration for several years in anticipation of driving improved storage management interoperability. DMTF has developed WBEM, a standard set of web-based enterprise management tools that unify management of enterprise computing environments. WBEM includes a data model, the Common Information Model (CIM), an encoding specification based on Extensible Markup Language (XML), and a transport mechanism based on Hypertext Transport Protocol (HTTP). CIM is an object-oriented information model that provides a conceptual view of physical and logical system components. Taken together, these technologies provide the tools to build reliable, scalable, multi-vendor SAN management solutions."

From the announcement:

The industry requires a comprehensive standard architecture for managing devices such as disk arrays, switches, and hosts in a SAN. The standard must include a common model of device behavior, and a common language to read and set control information.

By contributing the specification the contributors seek to leverage the technical workgroup and marketing resources of the SNIA to complete and extend the Bluefin work. The contributing companies are: BMC Software, Brocade Communications Systems, Inc., Computer Associates, Dell Computer Corporation, EMC Corporation, Emulex Corporation, Gadzoox Networks, Hewlett-Packard Company, Hitachi Ltd., IBM, JNI Corporation, Prisa Networks, QLogic, StorageTek, Sun Microsystems, and VERITAS Software.

The contributors have developed a draft specification that applies CIM/WBEM object technology to create the basis of a complete management solution for interoperable, multi-vendor SANs. The contributing companies and the SNIA are cooperating to create a transition plan that addresses the appropriate level of incorporation into SNIA technical and marketing activities. The transition plan is expected to be complete in July.

"SNIA has worked on CIM-based SAN management for some time," said Arnold Jones, SNIA Technical Director. "The first demo of CIM as a management technology for storage networking took place in October 1999 at the SNIA conference in Seattle. Most recently, SNIA members demonstrated CIM-based management in the Interoperablility Lab at the Storage Networking World Conference in Palm Desert. We look forward to evaluating the Bluefin specification to enhance our work." [...] "These technologies form the base for high-function, multi-vendor management environments," said Jim Turner, DMTF Chairman. "We support the work that SNIA does to apply XML/CIM to storage management."

Note in this connection that OASIS has received a proposal from Novell, Sun, Cisco, and HP for a Management Services Technical Committee: "The proposed initial scope of this committee will be to develop an open industry standard management protocol to provide a web-based mechanism to monitor and control managed elements in a distributed environment based on industry accepted management models, methods, and operations, including XML, SOAP, DMTF CIM, and DMTF CIM Operations."

From the WBEM website: "Web-Based Enterprise Management (WBEM) is a set of management and Internet standard technologies developed to unify the management of enterprise computing environments. WBEM provides the ability for the industry to deliver a well-integrated set of standard-based management tools leveraging the emerging Web technologies. The DMTF has developed a core set of standards that make up WBEM, which includes a data model, the Common Information Model (CIM) standard; an encoding specification, xmlCIM Encoding Specification; and a transport mechanism, CIM Operations over HTTP. The CIM specification is the language and methodology for describing management data. The CIM schema includes models for Systems, Applications, Networks (LAN) and Devices. The CIM schema will enable applications from different developers on different platforms to describe management data in a standard format so that it can be shared among a variety of management applications. The xmlCIM Encoding Specification defines XML elements, written in Document Type Definition (DTD), which can be used to represent CIM classes and instances. The CIM Operations over HTTP specification defines a mapping of CIM operations onto HTTP that allows implementations of CIM to interoperate in an open, standardized manner and completes the technologies that support WBEM."

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