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Aperi dies on its arse

Time-wasting diversion keels over

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The 'community' concept here was a very one way thing. It turns out that IBM was the only committed funder of the Aperi project in Eclipse, as an email to the Aperi-news distribution list in the Eclipse organisation makes clear.

Its sender Allen Heitman, with an email address ending in @us.ibm.com, said:

IBM has decided not to staff the Aperi project for 2009. ... Currently, the Aperi project has been an Incubation project under the Eclipse Technology Project for several years. Incubation is a phase and not a place. Since IBM is the only company providing active committers for over the last year, I propose that we move the project from Incubation phase to the Archived state.

The original goal of Aperi was to build a diverse community of committers to help share the burden of the "framework" in order to free up resources in all member companies to expand on the higher level functionality. Over the years, we have not been able to build up this diverse community despite many efforts. The interest just wasn't there.

The interest just wasn't there? Many people could have told IBM that. And what of the other proud Aperi group members? What resources did they put in? Not a lot if "the interest just wasn't there".

It's a great shame. The goal of having a multi-vendor, standards-based system management framework to enable management of heterogenous hardware and software vendor storage products is one that customers really, really do want. But the storage industry, collectively, really, really does not want to supply it. Generally, suppliers don't want to open up their products to the threat of replacement by competing products. Nor do they want to lose proprietary storage system management product revenue to an open source product alternative. They're not charities.

In a way, Aperi was an admirable project at first and, if a groundswell of open source support for the thing had risen, then vendors outside Aperi could have felt the need both to join in and to help the SNIA make SMI-S a real and useful standard instead of the toothless and fairly mangy hound it is now. The SNIA will protest and say it isn't toothless and it isn't mangy, but practitioners like Chris Evans and others will disagree and point to chapter and verse where it just does not suffice. This is a dog that does not bark.

The SNIA can't force its members to pony up and cut the SMI-S cloth to suit storage customers; it is a trade body after all, not a police force. Aperi was an attempt that was doomed to failure from the start, that wasted resources, blundered around and then headed unerringly towards storage hell.

It wasted the time of committed and hard-working people who supported it but who were, it may be judged, just tools in a marketing battle between IBM on the one hand, and EMC and HP on the other. That is a pity. ®

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