SNIA's chair presents user-related highlights from this month's conference and exhibition.
By Sheila Childs
For those who missed the event, here are a few highlights from the Storage Networking World (SNW) Spring conference and exhibition, which took place April 5–8, in Phoenix, AZ.
For the first time, end users took center stage at SNW to present the results of the Storage Networking Industry Association' (SNIA's) End User Council's Top Ten Pain Points Survey. (For more information about the End User Council, visit www.snia.org.)
The survey was designed to help end users communicate their biggest storage challenges and their highest priorities to the vendor community, provide an assessment on how well the industry is currently addressing end-user needs, and help the vendor community assess its current work scope.
As a part of this survey and presentation, the end users have challenged the SNIA to respond to these pain points, requests, and challenges at the upcoming SNW Fall conference in October.
Education, training, and certification
At SNW, the SNIA Education group unveiled an enhanced structure for the SNIA Storage Networking Certification program, which provides a vendor-neutral foundation for credentials geared to help IT professionals meet their career goals. The new structure consists of four certification domains: Concept, Standards, Product, and Solutions, and can be integrated with vendor-specific certification programs.
Also for the first time at SNW, the SNIA provided on-site testing for many of its certification credentials, including the new SNIA Certified Professional credential. Participants had the opportunity to road test a beta copy of the SNIA Storage Network Foundations exam, which is designed to address the broad technology and solution fundamentals for all jobs related to storage networking. This exam tests a candidate's knowledge of generic storage network concepts, as well as specific topics such as Fibre Channel, SCSI, IP storage, storage area networks (SANs), network-attached storage (NAS), interoperability, virtualization, data management, continuity management, and storage management (including the SNIA's SMI-S management standard).
In addition to the SNIA certification testing, SNW offered 26 tutorial sessions, with new tutorials covering data availability, protection, ROI planning and assessment, SAN management, and the SMI-S standard.
Also at SNW, a number of vendors announced the results of product testing for SMI-S conformance through the SNIA's Conformance Testing Program (SNIA-CTP), which is the testing process that validates that hardware and software products conform to SNIA standards—in this case, SMI-S. The release of the SNIA-CTP program and vendor adoption of SMI-S as a standardized tool to manage heterogeneous storage networks are a critical building block in the effort to make multi-vendor storage environments simpler to implement and easier to manage.
Interoperability and Solutions Demo
The SNIA's Interoperability and Solutions Demo provided attendees with a hands-on environment to learn about the latest in storage interoperability. This demonstration included a number of products that conform to the SMI-S standard. Demonstrations in the multi-vendor environment included adding disk arrays and switches to the SAN, creating and masking/mapping volumes (LUNs), creating a file system on a LUN, creating zone sets, pulling/disabling disks or volumes, unplugging Fibre Channel cables from switches, and performance monitoring of the SAN.
The demonstrations showed that products that conform to the SMI-S standard deliver simplified storage management, configuration, and allocation procedures; standardized controls for complex operations; and a foundation for policy management that will increase the efficiency of provisioning and fault management.
The Interop Demo also demonstrated other new solutions and technologies in key focus areas, including securing and protecting data; delivering storage solutions over IP networks; designing and building storage networks; service infrastructure; tested and supported networked storage blueprints; standards-based management solutions; emerging technology solutions; and managing SANs.
Included in the demo were more than 30 products from vendors such as Adaptec, AMCC, AppIQ, Brocade, Cisco, CNT, Computer Associates, CreekPath Systems, Decru, EMC, Emulex, Hewlett-Packard, Hitachi Data Systems, IBM, Intransa, LeftHand Networks, LSI Logic Storage Systems, MaXXan Systems, McDATA, Network Appliance, Nirvana, Nortel Networks, QLogic, Quantum, Storability Software, Sun, Texas Memory Systems, and XIOtech.
For more information about the Interoperability and Solutions Demo and about the conference, visit www.snwusa.com/interop_demo.html and www.snwusa.com.
Sheila Childs is the chair of the Storage Networking Industry Association (www.snia.org).