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Development path set for storage initiative

Novell joins Aperi, an open-source project that follows the Storage Management Initiative.

Aperi, an open-source storage group backed by IBM and Cisco Systems, said Tuesday that it has signed up Novell and has applied to have its software projects developed under the auspices of the Eclipse Foundation, a consortium set up to oversee such projects.

Founded by several technology companies last October, Aperi is working to develop common open-source software for managing storage on machines from different providers.

The standards for that software, referred to as the Storage Management Initiative specification (SMI-S), are currently under development by the Storage Networking Industry Association. SNIA, to which all Aperi members also belong, will establish the specifications for the code that Aperi is developing, according to Bob Sutor, the vice president of open source at IBM.

The announcement that software maker Novell is contributing to Aperi follows the abrupt departure of Sun Microsystems, a founding member, last week. There have been rumors of a rift between Aperi/SNIA members and other SNIA members.

But Sutor said SNIA members have all been very positive about the type of work being done for the industry. A letter released to SNIA members on Friday also seems to underscore a collegial relationship between the two organizations.

"Both parties have concluded formation and relationship discussions whereby Aperi, once established within Eclipse, plans to formalize a relationship with SNIA that will focus on standards, testing and implementation of SMI-S, testing of applications using SMI-S, and common marketing and education programs that focus on SMI-S and storage management," said the letter, which was sent by SNIA Executive Director Robin Glasgow.

Sutor likened the relationship between SNIA and Aperi to that of the World Wide Web Consortium and Apache. One organization develops the standards, while another group develops an open-source code that adheres to those standards.

"Traditionally, there has been a separation between the organization that creates the standards and the organization that creates the software. And that's the parallel here. We have SNIA creating the standards, and then there is this Aperi effort, which will take place in Eclipse," said Sutor.

The Eclipse Foundation, originally set up by IBM to foster open-source software development projects, became independent in 2004. The consortium oversees a number of open-source projects.

While Eclipse is still conducting a 30-to-45-day review of the proposal, it is highly likely that the Aperi initiative will be accepted, a spokesman for the foundation said.