Back to the main storyStandards efforts underway in the storage industry could help pave the way for heterogeneous storage provisioning capabilities, allowing companies to easily allocate storage resources from multiple vendors.Automated provisioning will be a component of the Storage Management Interface Specification (SMIS) standard for storage management, which is sponsored by the Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA) and based on Common Information Model (CIM) and Web-Based Enterprise Management (WBEM) technologies.SMIS, formerly called\u00a0Bluefin, is a set of APIs that could help simplify the management of multivendor storage-area networks. Industry participants say the standard will help ensure a high level of performance when companies use storage products \u2014 including automated provisioning \u2014 from multiple manufacturers.\u201cEventually we\u2019ll be able to deliver provisioning APIs and management applications that can use those APIs to enable higher-level policy based around provisioning,\u201d says Phil Kemp, marketing manager of network storage solutions at HP and vice chairman of the Storage Management Forum, the business development arm of SNIA. \u201cProvisioning is something we expect to do on heterogeneous platforms as the specification evolves through this year.\u201dKemp says HP, which introduced automated provisioning software last November and is a major proponent of SMIS, will support the standard once it\u2019s completed. He says many HP customers use storage management products from more than one vendor, and they need the kind of interoperability standards will provide. The release of the final SMIS version from SNIA is expected in the second quarter of 2003, he says.Standards are not developing fast enough for many companies, which need storage management interoperability now, says George Mele, director of software markets and products at EMC. While EMC supports the standards efforts, it plans to swap APIs with other major vendors to hasten the development of heterogeneous provisioning, Mele says. EMC rolled out automated provisioning software last fall.