SMI-S, or the Storage Management Initiative – Specification, is a storage standard developed and maintained by the Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA). It has also been ratified as an ISO standard. SMI-S is based upon the Common Information Model and the Web-Based Enterprise Management standards defined by the Distributed Management Task Force, which define management functionality via HTTP. The most recent approved version of SMI-S is available at the SNIA.

The main objective of SMI-S is to enable broad interoperable management of heterogeneous storage vendor systems. The current version is SMI-S V1.6.0. Over 75 software products and over 800 hardware products are certified as conformant to SMI-S.

At a very basic level, SMI-S entities are divided into two categories:

  • Clients are management software applications that can reside virtually anywhere within a network, provided they have a communications link (either within the data path or outside the data path) to providers. Using the "provider" (the actual software library), a management application (SMI-S Client) doesn't require knowledge of the specific architecture or infrastructure requirements of the particular storage platform.
  • Servers are the devices under management. Servers can be disk arrays, virtualization engines, host bus adapters, switches, tape drives, etc.

Figure 1 : How to manage a storage system using SMI-S?