For months, the analyst community has been telling customers that they will not get the kinds of storage tools and technologies they need until they demand them from vendors. The call to arms has been heeded by one industry group, and it appears that end users will finally have a direct influence on the future of networked storage.
This week, the Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA), the umbrella organization for the storage networking industry, will announce the creation of a new executive council made up entirely of storage users.
The stated goal of the new Consumer Executive Council (CEC) is to provide end user requirements for storage networking technologies to the SNIA, driving the alignment of SNIA strategic initiatives with the needs of storage consumers.
"The Consumer Executive Council has been created as a vehicle for end user expression and participation within the SNIA," said Tom Clark, SNIA Consumer Executive Council liaison. Clark said the problem has always been vendor members filtering out customer input.
"With the Consumer Executive Council, the SNIA will receive direct input from high-level executives who understand their companies' business objectives and how networked storage fits into those objectives," he said.
"Why don't we have management solutions that are comprehensive? Because [end-users] aren't asking for them," said Jon William Toigo, storage expert and author of "The Holy Grail of Data Storage Management."
Toigo added that it is not just a lack of tools, but it's also a lack of clearly defined, accurate terminology in the industry that is stifling progress in networked storage.
"We have all been taught a set of vocabulary by the marketing departments of computer storage companies. We've been given a set of vocabulary that detracts from the technology," Toigo said.
According to the charter for the SNIA CEC, customers will benefit by having a direct voice into the storage networking industry to assert their storage requirements and strategic goals. Subsequently, SNIA said, vendors will have broader exposure to the customer base and its needs.
The ultimate hope is that the Council's input will lead to a clarification of end-user requirements and priorities, which can accelerate the development of features and functionality that meet customer needs.
The SNIA CEC is comprised of corporate and institutional IT executives and managers who are responsible for the storage strategies of their organizations. End-user participants in the Consumer Executive Council do not have to be SNIA members.
The CEC will meet several times per year via telephone and face-to-face meetings. The SNIA will compile end-user requirements and issues into a SNIA-hosted database made available to the SNIA membership.
The CEC will also make formal recommendations to the SNIA Technical Council regarding the storage networking technology roadmap.Let us know what you think about the story, e-mail Kevin Komiega, assistant news editor
FOR MORE INFORMATION:Find out more at the SNIA Consumer Executive Council's homepage Vendors march toward CIM management standard Open management standard still simmering Comment on this article in the SearchStorage Discussion forums