Recently, the North American Computer Products group of Arrow Electronics, Inc., a $10 billion company, announced that it had become the first distributor to be granted a membership and voting rights in the Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA).
While that's not exactly earth-shattering news, it still may be a sign of the growth and maturation of the storage networking industry that SNIA has become an attractive place for distributors, too. And, this may be just the beginning.
"We hope to use our position in the industry to work with SNIA on initiatives that advance all companies' storage networking businesses, such as establishing interoperability standards," said Jim Markisohn, vice president of business development of the North American Computer Products group of Arrow Electronics.
Markisohn explained that the two primary motivations for joining SNIA were to represent the distributor and reseller viewpoint -- particularly the market demand for standards and interoperability and to support programs like certification.
"We also think it is very important that SNIA is developing certification standards for the people who will sell and specify solutions," Markisohn says.
Of course, Arrow has also invested heavily in storage, so it also has a large stake in the storage market. Indeed, the company had been talking with SNIA about getting more involved for some time.
For its part, SNIA looks to be opening the door wider in the future. "Arrow's clear commitment to the storage networking industry and its historically strong position among the vendor community will work to SNIA's advantage as SNIA works to develop programs and standards that benefit the industry as a whole," said Tony DiCenzo, membership chairman of SNIA.
DeCenzo says he thinks there are probably two reasons other distributors, such as Ingram, Access Graphics, Tech Data, and others haven't yet joined. First, SNIA hasn't reached out to them, he admitted. Second, he suggests, they probably haven't given it much thought. But this will change, he promises. "We are in the process of contacting them, and developing a membership category that would offer an appropriate role and benefits to distributors, resellers, integrators and VARs," says DeCenzo.
Regarding other types of businesses joining SNIA, DeCenzo says SNIA is interested in expanding the membership to include other types of non-storage vendors, such as end-users/consumers, non-storage ISVs (such as Oracle, SAP, Peoplesoft), and is working on a plan to do just that.
About the author: Alan Earls is a freelance writer in Franklin, MA.