Does SNIA matter?

If your not into enterprise storage and live in France you might confuse the acronym with the Brotherhood of Infirmary Anaesthetics (Syndicat National des Infirmiers-Anesthésistes) but if you relate it to storage you obviously end up at the Storage Networking Industry Association.

This organisation is founded based upon the core values of developing vendor neutral storage technologies and open standards that enhance the overall usability of storage in general. 

In addition the SNIA organises events such as Storage Networking World, Storage Developers Conference, summits and it also provides a lot of vendor neutral education with it’s own certification path.There are world-wide chapters who each organise their local gigs and can provide help and support on general storage related issues.

The question is though, to what extend is SNIA able to steer the storage industry to a point on the horizon that is both beneficial to customers as to the vendors. The biggest issue is that the entire SNIA organisation lives by the grace of it’s members, which are primarily vendors. Although you, as a customer or system integrator or anyone else interested, can become a member and make proposals, you have to bring a fairly large bag of coins to become a voting member and have the ability to somewhat influence the pathways of the storage evolution.

The SNIA does not directly steer development of technologies which are under the umbrella of the INCITS, IEEE, IETF and ISO standards bodies. Although many vendors are part of both organisations you will find that the well established standards such as FibreChannel, SCSI, Ethernet, TCPIP are developed in these respective bodies.

So should you care about SNIA?

YES !!!!. You certainly need to. The SNIA is a not-for-profit organisation which provides a very good overview of where storage technology is at every stage. It started of in 1997 shortly after storage went from DAS to SAN. Over the years it has provided the industry with numerous exciting technologies which enhanced storage networking in general. Some examples are SMI-S, CDMI, CSI, XAM etc. Some of these technologies evolved into products used by vendors and others have either ceased to exist due to lack of vendor support or customer demand.

If you’re fairly new in the storage business the SNIA is an excellent start to get acquainted with storage concepts, protocols and general storage technologies without any bias to vendors. This allows to remain clear minded of options and provides the ability to start of your career in this exciting, fast pace business. I would advise to have a look at the course and certification track and recommend to get certified. It gives you a good start with some credibility and at least you know what the pundits in the industry talk about when they mention distributed filesystems, FC, block vs file etc etc.

I briefly mentioned the events they organise. If you want to know who’s who in the storage zoo a great place to visit is SNW (Storage Networking World), an event organised twice a year in the US on both the east and west coast. All major vendors are around (at least they should in my view) and it gives you a great opportunity to check out what they have on their product list.
The next great event is SDC (Storage Developers Conference) which quite easily outsmarts most other geek events. This event is where everyone comes together who knows storage to the binary level. This is the event where individual file-system blocks are unravelled, HBA API’s are discussed and all the new and exciting cloud technologies are debunked. So if you’re into some real technical deep-dives this is the event to visit.

Although questions have been raised whether SNIA is relevant at all I think it is and it should be supported by anyone with an interest in storage technologies.

I’m curious about your thoughts.

Regards,
E

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About Erwin van Londen

Master Technical Analyst at Hitachi Data Systems
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