Vendors Form Open Storage Networking Initiative

LAS VEGAS -- Seven vendors announced the formation of the Open Storage Networking (OSN) initiative at the Networld+Interop 2000 show here.

OSN is an open architecture approach to managing storage and deploying storage networking solutions, particularly SAN and NAS, designed to give administrators access to data and the ability to more effectively manage that data.

Jennifer Dmoch, senior manager of enterprise strategy at Network Appliance Inc. (, says the initiative has three goals at the onset. The first is to enable companies to leverage their existing infrastructures and technologies while implementing storage networking solutions. The second goal is to enable companies to leverage their knowledge base and IT personnel.

Scott McIntyre, business line manager for storage networking at Legato Systems Inc. (, says providing customers with the ability to maintain existing resources is important to the initiative. "By leveraging the existing networking infrastructure, the OSN initiative complements other emerging architectures and extends the promise of storage networking by providing new options for customers based on proven, standard technologies," he says.

The third goal, according to Dmoch, is to offer solutions that simplify storage networking and data management. At the show, Quantam/ATL Inc. ( and Network Appliance teamed up to announce the first product to emerge from OSN: the Filer SAN Solution (FSS). The two companies jointly developed the network storage-based backup solution, which is a Fibre Channel SAN-based shared ATL tape library system that supports Network Appliance filers.

"We’ll continue to see applications and vendors moving in that direction, as well," Dmoch says.

Kevin Daly, CEO of Quantam/ATL, said at the press conference that OSN also is based on established standards, permits heterogeneous data and device sharing, provides centralized data management, and eliminates LAN and server bottlenecks.

The initiative’s architecture will enable servers, storage appliances, tape libraries, and switching equipment to combine into enterprise-level systems to ensure that data is accessible anywhere via industry standard networks, and that it is replicated and able to be brought back on-line in the event of a disaster. Industry standard data management protocols, such as NDMP, enable the architecture to provide interoperability in multivendor data server environments.

The initiative enables companies moving to high-availability storage networking architectures to follow a best-practices approach, along with certified hardware and software configurations. OSN is also designed to enable companies to scale storage and network bandwidth as needed, dynamically or on-demand. Within 18 months, for instance, the bandwidth of this architecture is expected to increase an order of magnitude with the emergence of 10 Gb Ethernet.

The companies participating in OSN at the time the initiative was announced are Network Appliance, Quantam/ATL, Legato, Cisco Systems Inc. (, Foundry Networks Inc. (, Veritas Software Corp. (, and Amdahl Corp. (

As a result of the companies working together, Network Appliance’s Dmoch says OSN will accelerate the adoption of open storage networking solutions and aims to further the performance of both current and future storage network architectures.