SNIA Education Committee focuses on end users

By Barbara Craig

White papers, success stories, the SNIA Dictionary, and educational courseware serve the educational needs of storage networking IT professionals.

When the Storage Networking Industry Association's Education Committee meets quarterly at SNIA Symposia, its membership discusses its mission of accelerating the adoption of storage networking by increasing the level of knowledge among end users. Activities center on serving the educational needs of IT professionals worldwide.

Veritas Software's Paul Massiglia, author of Storage Area Network Essentials: A Complete Guide to Understanding and Implementing SANs, is head of the Education Committee, which maintains a Website (www.snia.org) to serve as a repository of resources and materials, including white papers, success stories, the SNIA Dictionary, and educational courseware.

The SNIA Dictionary (www.snia.org/dictionary) is one of the most widely used referenced tools. This collection of storage networking terms and definitions is continually updated to reflect today's storage vernacular. Numerous IT organizations, member companies, individuals, and publications have been given permission by SNIA to re-use this material.

The Education Committee, in cooperation with SNIA member companies, publishes Storage Networking Success Stories. These stories provide business-based solutions for common storage networking problems. IT storage managers can find these valuable in providing direction and reinforcement for their networked storage strategies. The end-user case studies show how IT organizations are successfully implementing networked storage solutions that provide a solid return on investment by lowering the total cost of ownership.

The committee also delivers a suite of technical tutorials in support of current storage networking business issues. Tutorials to date include the following: Assessing and Designing Storage Network Infrastructures; Backup and Recovery of Storage Networks; Business Continuity, IP Storage Primer; Networks for Storage Professionals; SAN Security; Storage for Networking Professionals; Storage Management and Security; and Storage Virtualization. Each tutorial is created by a SNIA working group, reviewed by the SNIA Technical Council, and then offered to the entire SNIA organization for review. The tutorials are delivered at Storage Networking World conferences and other SNIA-endorsed events. SNIA members are encouraged to download these presentations and use them within their organizations. In the future, the committee is planning to take these tutorials "on the road" to reach end users and resellers.

Taking the tutorials a step further, a working group led by Stan Worth, of Crossroads Systems, provided tutorials for the Backup and Restore Workshop at the SNIA Technology Center in Colorado Springs in February to educate end users in a hands-on workshop about the benefits of using networked storage to solve backup-and-restore issues. Other workshops based on end-user requirements and member input are in the development stages. Watch the SNIA Website for updates.

The Education Committee has also established the SNIA Storage Networking Certification Program (SNCP), a vendor-independent certification program for storage networking. The program was developed in response to demand from end users to provide standards for measuring the storage networking expertise of IT professionals. SNCP provides a level of assurance that storage professionals have the requisite skills to support the deployment of storage networks.

FC-SAN Certification, developed by Infinity I/O, a training company and SNIA member, is the first module of the SNIA SNCP and includes certification exams testing candidates' knowledge of Fibre Channel storage area networks (SANs). The SNIA FC-SAN Certification program has four levels of certification:

  • Level 1: Fibre Channel Storage Networking Professional;
  • Level 2: Fibre Channel Storage Networking Practitioner;
  • Level 3: Fibre Channel Storage Networking Specialist; and
  • Level 4: Fibre Channel Storage Networking Expert.

More than 500 people have taken the Level 1 and 2 exams to date. The Level 3 exam is expected to launch this fall.

In preparation for the certification testing, the SNIA Education Committee provides a list of books and a directory of training courses offered by SNIA member companies. Future modules of the SNIA SNCP will cover such topics as network-attached storage (NAS), IP storage, backup and restore, and capacity planning.

As the SNIA Education Committee moves forward to deliver additional educational content, we urge you to sign up for technical tutorials, seminars, classes, workshops, publications, and certification programs. For more information on SNIA, call (719) 884-8903 or visit the Website at www.snia.org.

Barbara Craig is a member of the SNIA Education Committee. She is also senior product marketing manager at QLogic.

Upcoming SNIA events

The Storage Networking Industry Association, EMC, and Network Appliance will host the CIFS 2002 Conference and Plugfest at the Network Meeting Center in Santa Clara, CA, August 19-23. CIFS is one of the most commonly used protocols in network-attached storage (NAS) devices today. The event represents a collaborative effort among industry vendors to produce a more comprehensive understanding of the CIFS protocol as used in existing implementations. www.cifs2002.org.

Another developer-focused event is the SNIA Security Summit, to be held at the SNIA Technology Center, September 24-26. This event on storage security will feature tutorials, presentations by end users about their storage security requirements, and product demonstrations by industry vendors. The summit is a venue for vendors, channel partners, and integrators to meet and discuss how to enhance the security of storage networks. www.snia.org.

For end users, SNIA and the Information Storage Industry Center (ISIC) at the University of California-San Diego are presenting two one-day SNIA Storage Networking Seminars on the East and West Coasts this August and September. The seminars will be held August 28 in Irvine, CA, and September 25 in Newton, MA. SNIA subject matter experts will present tutorials on topics such as IP storage, backup and recovery, and virtualization. The $75 fee for each seminar includes breakfast and lunch. To register, visit www.snia.org or isic.ucsd.edu.

This article was originally published on July 01, 2002