By Lisa Coleman
The Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA) is recruiting end users to be part of its Consumer Advisory Council (CAC), one of two councils providing feedback to SNIA's vendor membership.
By this summer, SNIA hopes to attract 30 to 50 end users to participate in the CAC. Its counterpart, the Consumer Executive Council (CEC), has already been formed with more than a dozen executive-level managers. The CEC will provide high-level strategic input about end-user storage strategies, and the CAC will provide more-tactical input about how storage networks are installed, managed, and supported, and about what problems users face, such as interoperability issues.
"Our hope is that the feedback we get from both councils will be put directly back into SNIA activity," says Tom Clark, SNIA liaison for both the CEC and CAC. In the past, SNIA relied on its members to contribute second-hand information from their end-user customers.
Clark hopes that the councils' input will be used by vendors to create storage solutions that are suited specifically to end users' needs. He also hopes the input will align SNIA's standards definition requirements (e.g., interoperability) with end-user priorities.
CEC member Rick Bauer hopes that SNIA's members will listen to what end users have to say. As CIO of The Hill School, in Pottstown, PA, Bauer oversees 15TB in storage area network (SAN) and network-attached storage (NAS) configurations used for digitizing curriculum.
Bauer believes Microsoft succumbed to end-user pressure when it reworked Microsoft Exchange to work with NAS. "I think that was really due to the lobbying and advocacy of the users who wanted to do it," says Bauer. "I look forward to serving in that kind of capacity with the SNIA and letting the vendors know how this stuff is playing back in Peoria."
[If you would like to participate in the Consumer Advisory Council, please contact SNIA liaison Tom Clark at firstname.lastname@example.org.]