A: Many storage systems today don’t natively have a SMI-S provider running on them. Instead, they provide software that needs to be installed on a Windows server.

This software provides the SMI-S provider service for SMI-S clients and communicates directly to the SAN.

In common use today is System Center Virtual Machine Manager (SCVMM) 2012, which by using SMI-S providers exposes the storage details and enables SCVMM to perform actions on the storage directly.

Although it might install and appear to work, installing the SMI-S provider on the SCVMM management servers isn’t recommended or supported and can cause strange behavior.

Therefore the recommendation is to install the SMI-S provider on a separate Windows virtual machine (VM) that SCVMM can then communicate with.

(By the way, we do more than Windows--check out all of John Savill's FAQs for Windows.)