Storage association establishes chapter in Canada

Storage distributor Bell Microproducts said while it supports the Storage Networking Industry Association coming to Canada, it’s not going to sign up to be a member

just yet.

“”What (SNIA) means to the channel versus what it means to the end customer is not yet clear to me,”” said Peter Diniz, general manager, Bell Microproducts of Canada, who has informally been in contact with people responsible for bringing SNIA to Canada. “”Without question if there is an opportunity and a play for the channel in terms of it having something meaningful then we will help spearhead that. I’m just not sure yet.””

Toronto-based SNIA Canada, which was officially launched Monday and has been in the works for nine months, was created to make it easier for vendors, resellers and end users here to get involved. SNIA Canada was promoted at the SAN/NAS Summit earlier this year and will go on the road to events in Toronto and Montreal in mid-October.

Wayne Hogan, Canadian storage manager, network storage at Sun Microsystems of Canada Inc., who is serving as the organization’s acting chair and is responsible for promoting it within the Canadian IT industry, said SNIA Canada will focus on the end user community.

“”Our focus in Canada is really more on promoting the storage networking technologies and also investing quite a bit on educating the end users and resellers,”” said Hogan.

“”Many of the major vendors, for example Sun, are already very active in the technology field in all the different standards committees. We felt our focus in Canada should be a little different.””

Established in 1998, SNIA, which has between 400 to 500 vendors, is a not-for-profit organization that aims to advance the adoption of storage networks via standards, education and services to push open storage networking solutions into the broader market.

Other SNIA Canada members include Cisco Systems, EMC Canada, FalconStor, Hitachi Data Systems, Infostream Technologies, StorageTek and Xiotech. Hogan said he hopes to have signed up 200 members by the end of this year.

Hogan said SNIA is needed to keep pace with businesses’ increased demand for storage and the management of it in recent years. “”If an organization had 300 terabytes of capacity in 2001, in 2003 they had one pedabyte capacity,”” he said as an example.

IDC Canada predicts storage spending for SAN and NAS to increase by a five-year compound annual growth rate of 19 per cent from 2003 to 2008.

Divided into four tiers, membership fees cost $1,000 per year for vendors, $500 for resellers, $100 for end users and are free for public organizations.

One of the main benefits for resellers and end users, said Hogan, is a 10 per cent discount on storage area network (SAN) certification training courses delivered by an Ottawa-based TSI. These courses, which include SNIA Certified Professional, Certified Systems Engineer, Certified Architect and Certified Storage Networking Expert, cost anywhere between $4,000 to $5,000.

Hogan said in addition to the educational benefits of the courses, these two groups also get an opportunity to network with other people who specialize in storage.

“”Many organizations have a subset that’s focused on storage within their IT departments,”” said Hogan. “”The courses can get individuals with people in other organizations to exchange experiences and knowledge.””

Diniz said he likes SNIA because it’s a collaboration of companies or is vendor-agnostic.

“”It’s not an infomercial,”” he said, describing himself as having been an advocate of agnostic storage from the get-go. “”SNIA will clearly help preach that position so that the end user and the channel become more conversant and competent in the technology itself as opposed to putting square pegs in round holes when you’re simply taking the server approach.

“”I think it’s long overdue.””

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