Storage Networking World (SNW), Australia's sole trade show and conference dedicated to storage has been cancelled for 2007 due to lack of interest from sponsors.
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"EMC is the only vendor to fully commit to the show," said Symon Rubens of Terrapinn, the events company running the show in concert with the Storage Networking Industry Association. Terrapinn had earlier issued a statement saying that the cancellation was "...due to the fact that the event is not getting the level of support from the vendor community which is needed to make the event a success."
"We just have not been able to get answers from key vendors," Rubens added. "Some told us they would not do it or would participate at a lower level, so we made the financial decision to cancel the event."
"SNW was 100% funded by sponsors. If they are not 100% committed there is no sense in doing the event."
The reasons for lack of support are complex.
The Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA), which worked with Terrapinn to produce the event, last year received feedback to the effect that the event should shrink from one day to two.
SNIA hoped that a one day event could be run in more than one city.
But Terrapinn's Rubens says that the cost of a two-day event is only slightly more than a one-day affair. Moving an event to different cities, however, would add more cost than sponsors are willing to incur and was therefore not a viable commerical option. Rubens also points out that Terrapinn does not believe in the one-day format and "does not run them worldwide."
The result was a compromise decision for a one-day event in one city only, a less attractive proposition to marketers that may have been one reason Terrapinn found it hard to attract sponsors.
Yet Terrapinn's level of engagement with potential sponsors may not have been comprehensive. Mark Heers of Network Appliance told searchstorage.com.au that he was only approached by Terrapinn two weeks ago. As he was waiting to receive his new budget allocation he had not yet decided whether or not to sponsor the show, but leaned towards doing so.
Heers does not, however, feel that the event represented exceptional value.
"Sponsorship was identical in price to last year's two-day show," he said. "That made it a very expensive one day event from a sponsorship point of view."
Nonetheless, Heers says he is "disappointed" the event will not go ahead.
He shares that sentiment with SNIA Chairman Jacob Van der Eyk, who told searchstorage.com.au that he respects Terrapinn's commercial decision but still feels the region deserves a storage event.
"If they cannot make a commercial success of it they should not proceed," he said. "We have been and are in discussions to see what happens as the dust settles."
"SNIA ANZ believes we need to have a flagship conference in the region. It is a key part of our educational objectives."
"It is nice to have a major flagship event but we need to remember SNIA is an Australia and New Zealand organisation. Feedback we have received is that a smaller, more targeted, more focussed event could be needed."
"I am in touch with representatives from the end-user community and we are asking what would work for them. We're confident we can do something relevant."