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In a sign of changing times, EMC and Brocade rushed on Tuesday to inform customers about their compliance with the storage industry's latest management software standard.

For years, leading storage vendors such as EMC, IBM and Hitachi fought to maintain their lock on the storage market, in part, by protecting proprietary software interfaces. Recently, however, all of the major vendors have given in and decided to progress with the SMI-S (Storage Management Initiative Specification) promoted by one of the leading industry trade groups - Storage Network Industry Association (SNIA).

EMC last year went through the biggest role reversal of all, abandoning a vigorous go-it-alone strategy dubbed WideSky in favor of SMI-S.

Now the company is making the most of its crow-eating exercise by announcing Tuesday that both Symmetrix and Clariion storage systems have passed SNIA's tests for SMI-S compliance. All Symmetrix boxes shipped since 1997 and all Clariions moved since 2000 can now be managed with software that adheres to SMI-S, EMC said.

Dell - EMC's partner in disk - piggybacked the announcement, reminding customers that EMC's Dell-badged gear is compliant too. Imagine that.

Brocade also announced compliance with version 1.0.2 of SMI-S. Its Open Fabric Management Services software is now open systems ready. Brocade's Silkworm family of switches passed SNIA's tests as well.

Storage vendors are pushing a pretty optimistic story for SMI-S in 2004. Most of the big boys have now shown either hardware, software or both that are up to SNIA's snuff.

The days of an EMC or a Brocade trying to block out the competition on interfaces alone appear to be fading, and end users are sure to benefit from this trend. ®

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EMC floods market with new hardware
EMC drops WideSky, swallows pride

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