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SD2003: SNIA - Providing answers to storage questions

Sheila Childs, chairperson of SNIA's board of directors, discussed storage customer issues and the role of industry groups and SNIA to bridge the gap between customers and vendors.

Sheila Childs, chairperson of the Storage Networking Industry Association's (SNIA) board of directors, gave a broad overview of storage customer's issues, the role of industry associations and how SNIA is involved in work to bridge the gap between users and vendors in the storage industry.

There are many customer issues that SNIA sees but on the forefront there is the shift in storage budgets, the management gap, staff and storage requirements as well as HIPPA, security, Sarbanes-Oxley, SEC regulations and FDA rules.

In addressing common staff and storage requirements, for example, Childs cited recent studies indicating that storage requirements more than double every five years in the average enterprise environment. She also mentioned that such growth rates often require additional personnel each year to help manage the data. She indicated how the more common consolidation efforts, such as moves to storage area networks (SANs) and virtualization, could bring down the number of storage staff required to support the environment.

According to some of SNIA's field research about customer common issues, many end users find the storage marketplace confusing but would welcome vendor-neutral information on storage technologies.

SNIA believes that the IT industry organizations need to focus on what customers want such as standards, interoperability and integration, Childs maintained. She covered some of the key areas where SNIA has made significant impact in bringing customers and vendors together toward a common goal, such as its efforts with integration testing at its Colorado Technology Center, and efforts to standardize storage management efforts with its Storage Management Initiative specification (SMI-S).

Presentation slides and other links to the full session proceedings are available here.

About the speaker: Sheila Childs is a chairperson for the Storage Networking Industry Association's (SNIA) board of directors. Childs is also the director of product management for SAN products at Legato Systems, (formerly OTG Software). Prior to joining OTG, Sheila was the the vice president of service development at StorageProvider, a storage service provider (SSP) focused on providing storage services to the mid-tier market. Childs has also held technical and management positions in product development, marketing and customer services for Software Partners/32 and BMC Software. She has been involved in the development of storage management software for 15 years.

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