A solution in search of a problem?
I really don't see any need driving this development work, please elucidate. Are not the existing protocols a "lock-in-free method of accessing the drives"?
I'd welcome better, faster, more reliable hardware, but tacking an ethernet interface to a hard drive and standardizing a protocol (abstraction layer) to use it looks to me like they are trying to turn every hard disc into a NAS box, just add power-supply. This doesn't help me manage my storage, it doesn't improve storage performance, it doesn't make drives any more hot-swappable than the SATA drives I have in my server, it doesn't lessen network load (in fact it might increase it), and it doesn't improve reliability/longevity. So back to my original question, of what is the driving need behind this work?