The tide for standards is running full flood, and eight companies led by AT&T Co and British Telecommunications Plc yesterday came together to announce formation of the Open Systems Interconnection Network Management Forum, committed to selecting common protocol options from the seven layer Open Systems model, and identify common message sets, to create a standard network management system. The other six founder members are Amdahl Corp, Northern Telecom Ltd, STC Plc with ICL, Hewlett-Packard Co, Unisys Corp and Telecom Canada. IBM and DEC were invited to join but have not yet replied. Other companies that have expressed interest include GEC Plessey Telecommunications, Nixdorf Computer, Telematics International, General Datacomm Industries and Digital Communications Associates Inc. The eight founders are all voting members paying $40,000 a year, and committing two man-years of engineering effort apiece. Non-voting members pay $5,000 a year to be kept in touch. Companies like Hewlett Packard with its own OpenView network management product say that if a protocol stack different from the one it uses is defined, it will migrate users to the standard. Common interfaces to proprietary architectures such as IBM’s SNA and NetView will be implemented, and initial work will concentrate on IEEE 802.3 Ethernet and X25, and the initial work on common message sets will be for configuration management and fault management. The aim of the Forum is to reduce by two years the time it will take to get the defintion of an Open Network Management system agreed.