Storage Networking World: Bigger, Better, and 'Buzzier' Page 3


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Power to the User

One final development bears mention – the apparent rise of user power. This seems to represent a backlash against poor support and overhype (à la virtualization and now ILM). SNIA, for example, recently announced it is sponsoring an initiative called storagenetworking.org, which appears to have been established to help form Storage Networking User Groups (SNUG). These groups will function as information exchange and educational forums for end users.

ESG's Duplessie touched on a similar vein, discussing the poor results reported by users concerning vendor support. When he asked the audience whether support was better two years ago or today, most chose the former. He challenged the audience to force vendors to solve issues for them and leverage their dollars better.

"Cut through the vendor noise, as currently everything sounds the same," said Duplessie. "Make vendors solve the problems you actually have rather than trying to sell you solutions to problems that don't really exist."

Another new user group, the Association of Storage Networking Professionals (ASNP), voiced a similar refrain. An ASNP party drew over 100 people, and early indications are that this organization has struck a chord.

"Within less than a month, the association has qualified 734 new members," says Daniel Delshad, executive director of ASNP. "The response clearly validates our role in the marketplace as a user resource for education, to meet with peers, and to voice real issues" A positive sign? Smaller user forums are merging with it. The Minnesota Open SAN User Group, for instance, has folded its operations into the ASNP.

"ASNP has a strong infrastructure, expert resources, and a professional staff that will bring users together," says Michel Thorsen, founder of that Minnesota group and now a regional director for his local ASNP chapter. "The storage industry needs a strong end user-only voice to meet the challenges of storage management."

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