Organization seeks to create independent storage user groups

There are no vendor-independent user group in existence today. However, according to one advocacy group, that's about to change.

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A nonprofit association that follows the storage industry has said it has plans to organize the first storage industry user groups.

Unlike many segments within the IT industry, storage is not represented by a vendor-independent user group, although experts say one is long overdue.

The Information Storage Industry Center (ISIC) at the University of California, San Diego, has launched a Web site, StorageNetworking.org, in an attempt to fuel the organization of storage user groups. Its main goal is to educate IT personnel and facilitate peer-to-peer collaboration on how to manage and plan networked storage architectures.

Ron Durbin, spokesman for ISIC, said the mission of StorageNetworking.org and its eventual user groups will be to support the users of data storage technology.

"There are a couple of concepts on the table. One is to produce an online resource portal and the other is to stimulate the creation of storage networking user groups," Durbin said.

The Web site is expected to serve as a clearinghouse for educational support materials and courses, a goal that will be achieved through cooperation with the Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA) and universities across the globe.

StorageNetworking.org is in "month one of a four-month planning process," Durbin said.

"We would like to provide a catalog of educational opportunities, from technical coursework to business-type coursework for both instructional education and distance learning," he said.

He added the syllabuses will be provided by universities and private training organizations.

Steve Duplessie, president and founder of the Enterprise Storage Group Inc., a Milford, Mass.-based analyst firm, said that independent storage networking user groups are long overdue.

"While each IT shop has its nuances, by and large they share very similar problems, only on different scales," Duplessie said. "The more they talk to each other, the better off they are at avoiding mistakes made by those before them."

StorageNetworking.org's academic advisory board is composed of representatives of several university organizations: the Center for Magnetic Recording Research at the University of California, San Diego; the University of Minnesota's Digital Technology Center; Penn State University's School of Information Sciences and Technology; the University of Colorado's Network Information and Space Security Center; and the Singapore Data Storage Institute's Network Storage Technologies Division.

At the StorageNetworking.org Web site, users can sign up for e-mail newsletters and provide input into the group's development and direction.

Let us know what you think about the story. E-mail Kevin Komiega, News Writer

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