SNIA’s Swordfish Is Better Than The Film

Disclaimer: I recently attended Storage Field Day 13.  My flights, accommodation and other expenses were paid for by Tech Field Day and Pure Storage. There is no requirement for me to blog about any of the content presented and I am not compensated in any way for my time at the event.  Some materials presented were discussed under NDA and don’t form part of my blog posts, but could influence future discussions.


SNIA presented on Swordfish, amongst other things, at Storage Field Day 13 recently. You can see videos of their presentation here, and download my rough notes from here.



What is SNIA Swordfish?

It’s not the John Travolta movie that I love and hate so much. So what is it? Well, SNIA are looking to:

  • Refactor and leverage SMI-S schema into a simplified model that is client oriented;
  • Move to class of service based provisioning and monitoring;
  • Cover block, file and object storage; and
  • Extend traditional storage domain coverage to include converged environments (covering servers, storage and fabric together).


How do make Swordfish?

SNIA are leveraging Redfish heavily for Swordfish by:

  • Leveraging and extending DMTF Redfish Specification (focuses on hardware and system management – you can read an introduction on it here);
  • Building using DMTF’s Redfish technologies (RESTful interface over HTTPS in JSON format based on Data v4); and
  • Implementing Swordfish as a seamless extension of the Redfish specification.



SMI-S originally delivered the capability to identify storage device properties and attributes and has since been significantly extended to provide all types of management capabilities. It was a fantastic idea that was let down at times by various vendor interpretations of the implementation. Storage in the data centre also looks a lot different to what it did 15 years ago. It’s not just the hyperscalers who needs tools to manage their environments in a consistent fashion, it’s cloud folks as well. These environments lean heavily on automation as a key construct within their management capability, and the development of Swordfish on Redfish certainly provides a large part of this capability.

Managing infrastructure resources can be hard at the best of times. At the worst of times there’s usually a whole bunch of things that are (figuratively) on fire and it’s hard to know where to look for resolution. Ultimately, we’re all looking for simple ways to allocate, manage and monitor storage that integrates easily into our existing operational framework and processes. It feels like Swordfish provides this in theory, and SNIA have certainly put a lot of thought into how this experience can be improved and modernized when compared to SMI-S. I’ll be watching to see just how this plays out in reality, and just how well the vendors take to this new standard.

I’ve previously waxed lyrical about the role that SNIA plays in the industry. Initiatives like Swordfish prove once again how important SNIA is to the industry, with key people from various vendors coming together for the common good. If you do nothing else today, go check out SNIA’s website and, if you’re in the industry, get involved. It’s good for all of us.