The Storage Networking Industry Association's Australia/New Zealand chapter has refocused its efforts to assist end users to understand and get the most out of storage technologies, according to recently re-elected Chairman Jacob Van der Eyk.
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"SNIA in the USA is a standards setting body," Van der Eyk told searchstorage.com.au. "That is not applicable for the regional affiliates."
With that role unavailable in the ANZ market, SNIA asked itself if "we had been doing anything in a controlled and focussed way for the true member rather than the paid up vendor member?"
The result of that introspection was a commitment to do more for end users and also for the storage implantation industry, partly by expanding the SNIA ANZ board to include representatives of system integrators and end-users.
"We have a stable board which we felt was a good point. And we had excellent industry representation. But in this region we thought we were not in touch as well as we could be with the end user community."
"SNIA is vendor-neutral, but when you look at the Board all the key vendors were at the table. However we were getting feedback from the end users that they wanted more engagement and that was a key motivation to expand the board."
End-users' interaction with system integrators meant it made sense to invite them to the board as well.
"The folks on the board now make a living out of selling storage as vendors, installing it as system integrators or using it," Van der Eyk said.
SNIA's new structure has been accompanied by four key new initiatives.
One is the first-ever rollout of SNIA training courses in the region.
"There are more than 2000 SNIA certified people in the world but only 80 here," Van der Eyk said. SNIA ANZ hopes to boost that number with its Storage Networking Management and Administration Course to run in Sydney for a week from July 23rd and Melbourne from July 30th.
The organisation has also appointed Evito, a company led by former SNIA Europe chairman Paul Talbut to devise and deliver its future activities.
"Paul has been there and done it," Van der Eyk says.
No future activities have been decided, but Van der Eyk says increased and enhanced newsletters and websites are planned to strengthen the storage community. Another initiative is greater regional and global engagement with other SNIA chapters. Van der Eyk has been appointed co-chairman of the global organisation's International Committee, a post he hopes will see our region gain a greater voice in worldwide SNIA affairs.
"Now have an APAC view into discussions with our North American parent," he told searchstorage.com.au.
Those discussions, he hopes, will help SNIA become even more useful to the growing pool of storage networking users as the technology becomes cheaper and appears in more organisations.
"We believe the time is right to ready SNIA for the likelihood of more organisations needing our support. We have the right experience and skills on the board to serve Australia and New Zealand. With storage networks growing in prevalence this is absolutely what we need to be doing."