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When the Association of Storage Networking Professionals (ASNP) launched one year ago, few gave it much chance of success. Yet it has grown into a worldwide organization of storage networking users that exceeds its membership targets every quarter.
We caught up with ASNP founder and chairman Daniel Delshad at a chapter meeting in Southern California.
Q: What is the ASNP?
ASNP provides an open forum for members to discuss real-world problems and solutions related to storage networking. Through its regional chapters and annual conference, ASNP offers educational training and networking opportunities. Members also have exclusive access to the association's online portal, which features training and certification resources, newsletters, product reviews, member and vendor directories, and discussion forums. Check it out at www.asnp.org.
Q: What is the mission of the ASNP?
Our mission is to educate and empower members by providing them with educational resources, member meetings, and other professional development opportunities. Our vision is to build a worldwide community of storage networking users and to act as the leading advocate for users' needs.
Q: Why did you start the ASNP?
Users have been telling me for years that if they raised a concern with a vendor, the usual reaction was, "Sign this PO and we will fix the problem." The ASNP offers them a place to resolve storage issues without vendor pressure or bias.
Q: How many members and how many chapters do you have?
At the last count, we had reached the 1,800-member milestone. We have 27 chapters around the world. Chapters in the U.S. include California, Colorado, Dallas, Florida, Georgia, Houston, Illinois, Kansas, Minnesota, New England, New York, Nevada, Washington state, and Washington, D.C. Overseas chapters include Brazil, Colombia, France, Germany, Korea, Nigeria, Switzerland, and the UK.
Q: Why do you think so many storage end users have joined?
An obvious part of its allure is our end-user exclusivity. Vendors are not permitted full membership of the association. They can become involved in specific vendor forums, but have no say in group management and cannot participate in chapter business.
Q: What does the membership base consist of?
IT managers, systems administrators, and CIOs/CTOs with storage responsibilities and budgets; consultants who work at integrator or consulting firms who manage storage on behalf of their clients; as well as university professors and students interested in storage networking.
Our user base varies from the largest corporations to the small business. The amount of storage managed covers the spectrum. 77.5 percent of our members manage anywhere from 1 to 99 TB. Yet 16.2 percent look after less than 1 TB.
It also goes across all verticals such as government, finance, high-tech, manufacturing and retail. Further, over eighty percent of our members have at least three years experience in storage. This makes the association very attractive to veterans and rookies alike as they can always find someone who can help them with their storage challenges.
Q: What do members tell you they like most about ASNP?
They enjoy the quarterly member meetings and also our extensive website.
Member meetings give storage users the ability to regularly meet with their peers, interact and help each other. This also gives them the opportunity to tour manufacturing facility and data centers to see how others organize their storage environments.
The website is well visited and offers storage information in one centralized location. While some of the data is open to everyone, we also have a members-only section of detailed case studies and white papers, as well as discussion forums.
Q: What is different about your organization from the other user groups out there?
Most user groups bog down in administration. A few enthusiastic individuals establish the group to deal with user issues. Unfortunately, they end up dealing with mainly business situations such as paying the bills, getting people to attend meetings, finding rooms and arranging speakers. That's why so few user groups have staying power or achieve their goals.
What's different about the ASNP is that we have a central management body that takes away a lot of the decision-making and administration. Thus the members can be more comfortable by participating in a group that is getting something done. There time is spent on what they want to be doing, not on organization.
Q:What is the difference between the ASNP and SNIA?
Since its inception, the Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA) has provided the industry with a viable roadmap and vision for the future, especially with its standards work. The ASNP was started to provide only the end-user community with a home where they can receive professional development, networking opportunities, and educational resources.
The ASNP will not be actively pursuing standards creation and therefore will look forward to working closely with the SNIA and other industry associations to help them get valuable feedback from our membership. The ASNP is currently working with the SNIA and other industry associations to create a working relationship so that together we all can help continue to keep the industry moving forward.
Q: Where do you want to be by the end of your second year?
In our first year, the stress was on building up our membership base. After all, you can't be the voice of the user if you have very few members. While we will continue our drive to increase the membership (the target is 3,000 members), we are now in a position to begin the process of bridging the gap between the industry and end users outside of the typical sales channel.
We plan to provide the industry with a place where they can go to get answers to their questions. This might include focus groups, assisting vendors with technical roadmaps, and participation in pre-beta product testing so new products come on the market that more closely fit the needs of end users.
Article courtesy of Enterprise IT Planet