Storage users unite to push standards

Australia's Storage Networking User Group's (SNUG) inaugural meeting will be held on Wednesday and vendors can expect to be given a hard time over integration woes and pricing strategies.Naveen Sharma, associate director of information services at Griffith University in Queensland, hopes such meetings will help pressure vendors into lowering prices and persuade vendor body the Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA) to speed up the development of industry standards.

Australia's Storage Networking User Group's (SNUG) inaugural meeting will be held on Wednesday and vendors can expect to be given a hard time over integration woes and pricing strategies.

Naveen Sharma, associate director of information services at Griffith University in Queensland, hopes such meetings will help pressure vendors into lowering prices and persuade vendor body the Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA) to speed up the development of industry standards.

"One thing [we're about] is the need for integration between suppliers... It's about putting pressure on the SNIA to get standards in place," Sharma told ZDNet Australia. 

Naveen Sharma

The SNUG movement was started in the University of California three years ago and has since spread across 20 cities in the United States. More recently, user groups have been established in other countries including Canada, the United Kingdom, Colombia and India.

Even though the meeting is being sponsored by the SNIA, Sharma warned that users would not hold back when discussing important subjects -- such as integration issues due to a lack of industry standards and the licensing structure of storage software.

"The meetings will start off with a fairly friendly atmosphere but if there's no support from suppliers, we'll get more vocal... we will be talking pretty openly," he said.

Sharma claims that vendors need to reorganise their software licensing to reflect falling hardware costs: "While storage levels are going up, [vendors] are not changing the price structure... It's criminal.

"Users have to rise up and bring out their voice, because everybody is suffering," added Sharma, who will be presenting on the development of a storage strategy.

Vendors already registered for Wednesday's meeting, which will be held at Griffith University's South Bank Campus in Brisbane, include Hitachi, EMC, Dell, Volante, Infinity I/O, Alphawest and Pipe Networks.

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