The Storage Network Industry Association (SNIA) of Australia and New Zealand has set about adapting its relations with end users and the wider ICT community as part of its plan to "make storage sexy".
SNIA ANZ Chair Jacob Van der Eyk Credit: SNIA
Jacob Van der Eyk, SNIA ANZ chairman, said the association would be targeting three specific areas this year aimed at getting storage to become a priority for all users from enterprise to consumer and individual levels: green storage, renewed engagement with end users and a comprehensive education platform.
A number of SNIA representatives expressed their reservations about the lack of training available for university and technical college IT graduates in storage, with SNIA ANZ director Craig Scroggie saying the specialisation is learnt "almost entirely on the job".
SNIA has already begun working with a number of educational institutions such as the University of New South Wales to campaign for storage to become a greater part of the curriculum for computing students. According to Scroggie, the record-keeping expectations of university IT departments make them a natural place for students to begin to have a greater understanding of storage.
"Green is going to be the other big issue for us this year," said Van der Eyk. "So much so that we've put an end user on the board specifically to target green initiatives."
In addition to a specific member to target the green storage area, the SNIA board has also been bolstered by the addition of "non-industry" seats occupied by three other end users as part of its aim to engage with the ICT community at large.
"We want to be the voice in the industry for storage, there's people out there who live and breathe this stuff, we want to get a bit closer to them," he said.
Scroggie described the organisation's recent initiatives as a measure to raise the profile of the area and make it a "sexier" option for students, graduates and existing professionals to take an interest in.
"2007 was really a planning year for us," said Van der Eyk. "2008 is really going to be the execution year."
The association has also newly commandeered the services of Paul Talbut, former chair of SNIA Europe to run the association's business operations.
"The issues are almost identical wherever you go," said Talbut. "The amount of information organisations are required to store is growing exponentially, and users need to work out how to manage, protect and index that information."
Talbut said the similarities between the Australian and European markets are extensive, and both regions are subject to an increasing level of recognition of storage, partly due to its vulnerability. He cited the recent spate of data loss incidents in the UK as proof that "storage matters".
Talbut added that the issue will only become more serious in Australia as time goes on and more organisations are expected to keep more detailed records over longer periods of time to meet the possible needs of national security authorities.