SNIA – should we care?

By | November 1, 2006

Personally Ive never really bothered with the SNIA.  They’ve just never interested me.  Don’t get me wrong, I love storage and get “excited” by new ideas and technologies and the like, but the SNIA has never had that effect.  Even when reading blogs that normally interest me I find myself skipping any posts that mention the SNIA. 

A year or so ago I took a SNIA exam that a friend had told me about.  He laughed so much about how easy and such a waste of time and energy it was that I decided I had to take it to see for myself.  He was right.  That was the last time I had anything directly to do with the SNIA.  What a waste of everybody’s time involved that was – even the nice lady at the reception desk of the testing centre that signed me in!  I formally apologise for wasting her time.  I remember thinking at the time if their exam and certification was such a joke it spoke volumes about the organisation as a whole. 

But Im seeing so much written about them these days, some good but most not (I suppose it depends which sites and blogs one reads), that Im starting wonder if I should take an interest?  For those of you who don’t know, Im just your average storage consultant (I use the word consultant very lightly) who designs, implements, troubleshoots, manages and plays with storage.  Im supposed to be a storage specialist yet I can honestly say that I haven’t visited the SNIA website in about 2 years (even when taking the exam) and dont have a clue what they are up to these days. 

What Id really and honestly like to know is the following (Ive given my current and honest opinions in brackets) –

  • Is club for the boys (the big boys)?  (don’t know)
  • Do the big boys, EMC, HDS, HP, NetApp, IBM… take the SNIA seriously or care about it? (No)
  • Is it possible for EMC, HDS, HP, NetApp, IBM….. to be part of a committee driving storage standards etc when each of them already have their own ways and ideas that they make a tidy profit from?  (No)
  • Does it affect how I do my job?  (Hmmm doubt it)
  • Should I consider what they say about things that Im supposedly an expert one?  (No)
  • Are the SNIA a waste of time space and energy  (Yes)

As always Im open to being wrong, like Ive said – I dont take an interest in what they are doing.  May be I should change and start taking an interest?  The thing is, my time is precious to me and I have so many things demanding it that I dont want to waste my time on a waste of time.

Mackem

10 thoughts on “SNIA – should we care?

  1. tim

    I think the reason you see no *value* in SNIA is because you’re coming from the storage side only view of things. IIRC, SNIA is what makes things *just work*. Do you want to be able to plug a QLogic HBA into a cisco switch and see your storage? It wouldn’t be happening without SNIA. Emulex into brocade? Wouldn’t happen either. You may not realize how useful to you they are, but you wouldn’t have a job without them. If my understand is completely off base feel free to correct me, but from everything I’ve ever read of SNIA, that’s exactly what their purpose is.

  2. snig

    I would have to agree with Tim just a little on his point, however I think you’re talking about the SNIA 5-6 years ago. The SNIA back then did play a role in getting things working in a little quicker fashion than the end users could have done it themselves. We have to remember what the SNIA is though, it’s an organization run by vendor companies that says they are here for the end user.

    The fact of the matter is that all of this cooperation and plug-fests would have happened without the SNIA eventually. In order for these companies to continue to do business, they have to bend to end user requirements and wants eventually.

    My opinion is that the SNIA was in the right place at the right time when the market really started to sour and vendors couldn’t charge what they had been charging leading up to Y2K. The vendors needed an outlet to say “see we really are listening to the end user needs” and the SNIA was a convenient outlet for them to do that. No one jumped into the SMI-S craze until EMC² announced WideSky and then everyone jumped on the bandwagon.

    The SNIA really needs to reinvent itself and become a more streamlined organization. Vendors should be made to conform to standards in the same manner, which means the organization writing the standards needs to use stronger language and not leave them up to interpretation.

    Why can’t we get detailed performance data from an open standard from any storage vendor? This data is some of the most critical data in a properly managed environment and yet the vendors aren’t letting this data loose in the current SMI-S standard. Frickin’ ridiculous in my opinion and it just goes back to the greedy industry that only wants your money and not what’s best for the user.

    As far me not having a job if it weren’t for the SNIA. There was always a need for storage before the SNIA and there will always be a need for storage after the SNIA. Users will end up winning the battle over licensing and exorbitantly high cost with or without the SNIA. We just have to come together and share the knowledge we have. Why should I pay a membership fee to do that?

  3. Nigel (mackem)

    Tim – thanks for the thoughts on SNIA.

    As I said in the blog Im open to being wrong as I dont take much of an interest in what they do. However, I have to disagree with some of what you’ve said –
    You say that without SNIA we couldn’t plug our QLogics into a Cisco switch or our Emulex HBA’s into a Brocade. If I couldnt plug an Emulex into a Brocade then it wouldnt be longbefore Emulex were out of business and the same for Brocade and QLogic – but may be not for Cisco 😉

    I do however, see the need for a standards committe/body. May be you’re right and we wouldnt be quite where we are today as far as standards go etc if we didnt have the SNIA?? Who knows?

    Snig – I take it you’re not a member then 😉

  4. snig

    I am, but only because I got it for free. 😉

    I used to attend the End User Council meetings a few years ago, but I quickly found that they weren't discussing anything real in those meetings so I lost interest and stopped attending.  The meetings were either discussing the upcoming SNW or whatever the vendor marketing message was at the time.  I did get a nice portfolio notebook from them, so that's not all bad. 😉

  5. tim

    oh how I loathe your blog. Everytime I make a first post, it tells me incorrect authentication code, and I *ALWAYS* forget to save the content of this box, which means I get to retype it all and you only get about 10% of my original thoughts. ANYWAYS 🙂

    I think Brocdata would be out of business if anyways, you’ve forgotten both QLogic and Emulex make switches 🙂 But here nor there.

    SNIA is still doing good things. For instance, VSANs have become an industry standard. While it may take some time for this to really catch on, I think it is an absolute boon for the industry.

    Also Trunking. Believe it or not, there is a trunking standard. Unfortunately, AFAIK to date the only one using it is QLogic. Imagine how nice life would be if you could run two cables between a Cisco and a Brocade switch and have trunking *just work*.

    I guess overall I agree with snig, that the real problem is companies aren’t willing to follow the open standards they agree on. There will come a point in time when the open standards catch up to the proprietary standards the big two/three are currently using, and customers will realize there’s no reason to be stuck in proprietary land (Either that or cisco will buy Q). If and when it does occur, everyone will benefit because prices will drop like a rock. I think we all know that’s a LONGGGG ways off though, nobody is jumping up and down to lose their 40%+profit margin.

    Again, I apologize, this isn’t worded quite how I wanted, or all of my thoughts, but there was no way I was going to retype all that and even attempt to be eloquent about it :>

  6. snig

    Thanks Tim. I haven’t had an issue with the authentication code not working. Has anyone else had this issue?

  7. c2olen

    Well, I had the post issue once. I addressed it to Snig. This was a one time issue though. Never had an issue since.
    I’ve been testing the WordPress blog at home, for some personal blog. Works like a charm. I’ve made it a habbit to do a copy-to-clipboard of all my posts. Just to be save. Had some bad experiences on posts gone bad in the past (not here!!)

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