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What's happening in the world of SNIA these days?

The Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA) spans the global storage market, promoting acceptance, deployment, and confidence in storage-related architectures, systems, services, and technologies across IT and business communities. In 2009, the SNIA is focused on today's leading technology issues.  Read on to learn more about SNIA activities with IT professionals (SNIA End User Council) and in the areas of cloud storage, data management, Ethernet storage, green storage, solid state storage, storage security, and storage management standards.   For more information, visit SNIA Europe at and SNIA at


Date: 1 Jul 2009

SNIA End User Council

The SNIA End User Council has launched a new website, StorTOC (Storage Technology Online Community). The goals of the site are to: provide high quality educational opportunities that are valuable to the end user community; provide valuable storage end user perspectives and requirements in support of the work by the SNIA and vendors; provide web based capabilities for effective global end user collaboration and education; and establish and maintain alliances with the SNIA and other related end user industry organizations.

This site combines many of the same features as other peer networking sites, but what sets it apart from other end user sites is its hallmark exclusive end user discussion forums.   Our long established relationship with the SNIA provides a unique opportunity for end user collaboration with industry, to help find solutions to challenges in our daily work life.  Access to the site is free, and end users can register at

One of the features in development on StorTOC is an Industry Resource area where all members of the storage industry will have an opportunity to participate. If you are not an end user and would like to know more, send an email to

Cloud Storage

SNIA and its Technical Council announced the creation of the Cloud Storage Technical Work Group (TWG) aimed at developing SNIA Architectures and best practices related to cloud storage technology. The SNIA Cloud Storage TWG will be the primary technical entity for the Association to identify, develop and coordinate system standards and interfaces for cloud storage. The initial TWG charter includes the focus to produce a comprehensive set of specifications and to drive the consistency of interface standards across the various cloud storage related efforts.

The Cloud Storage TWG will assist and collaborate with other SNIA TWGs and plans to do the same with external industry associations and standards bodies to help with their efforts surrounding Cloud computing initiatives. The SNIA has a strong track record with gaining industry consensus around creating standard Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) for storage and storage management, and then taking these standards to ANSI and ISO for accreditation.

For more information on SNIA's Cloud Storage activities, please visit or get involved in the conversation at or

Data Management

The SNIA Data Management Forum (DMF) operates a number of initiatives focused on the following technology areas:

  • The Data Protection Initiative (DPI) defines new approaches and best practices for data protection and recovery including Data Deduplication.
  • The Information Lifecycle Management Initiative (ILMI) promotes a unifying vision of what ILM will become and its impact on the data center.
  • The Long Term Archive and Compliance Storage Initiative (LTACSI) focuses on the challenges of long-term digital information retention and preservation.

The DPI recently released of the Fifth Edition of the DPI Members Buyer's Guide featuring the Continuous Data Protection (CDP), Data Deduplication, and Virtual Tape Library (VTL) products of DMF member companies.   This guide is available for download at and provides an overview of each technology area and an easy-to-read product comparison matrix.

Within the DPI, a Special Interest Group (SIG) dedicated to Data Deduplication and Space Reduction (DDSR) technologies was launched last year. This SIG has already accomplished much including published whitepapers and articles, developing and presenting SNIA Tutorials and defining new terminology for inclusion in the SNIA Dictionary.  The DDSR SIG held its first webinar in late 2008, titled ‘Data Deduplication in the Backup World' (a recording is available at  More webinars are in the planning stages.  The goal of this series of webinars is to provide regular educational presentations to give IT professionals the opportunity to submit questions to the DMF experts in real-time.

Information Lifecycle Management (ILM) frequently discussed over the last five years. While some dismissed the concept as little more than vendor marketing, many others embraced the idea of matching IT resources to the information management needs of organizations.  This group of dedicated industry experts and IT professionals have gone above the marketing hype and recently completed the "ILM Maturity Model." The ILM Maturity Model provides both a self-assessment methodology and the baseline for a roadmap.  It outlines the steps organizations have taken, or need to take, to achieve a self-regulating, optimized, policy-based information management practice.  This self-assessment tool is available for download at

Ethernet Storage

The SNIA Ethernet Storage Forum (ESF) is a marketing organization within the Storage Networking Industry Association created to drive the broad adoption of Ethernet-connected storage networking technologies and solutions. The ESF is composed of leading computer hardware, software, data storage and data management vendors dedicated to providing the global IT community with vendor-neutral information, education and exposure to Ethernet storage solutions.

The ESF accomplishes its mission through IT outreach, delivered through industry events and SNIA events around the globe:

  • Providing an industry focus on Ethernet-connected storage networking technologies and solutions
  • Creating vendor neutral education material for IT professionals
  • Driving market awareness and positioning of the various Ethernet storage technologies
  • Providing industry experts and thought leadership on Ethernet-connected storage networking technologies
  • Leveraging SNIA and industry events, activities and end-user outreach programs around the globe

Currently the ESF consists of two Special Interest Groups, focused on iSCSI and NFS-based solutions:

  • The iSCSI SIG is focused on continuing the successful IP Storage Forum agenda to create marketing and educational materials explaining the features, benefits and best practices related to iSCSI solutions in a variety of IT environments:  windows, virtual server, heterogeneous host, high performance, SMB.  The goal is to drive the continued rapid market growth and broad adoption of the technology.
  • The NFS SIG is focused on creating a portfolio of marketing and educational materials explaining the features, benefits, use cases and best practices related to NFS-based NAS solutions.  Particular focus will be on applications and benefits of emerging new capabilities, such as pNFS.  The goal is to drive the continued market growth and broad adoption of NFS, and a rapid market uptake as vendors bring their pNFS implementations to market.

For more information about the SNIA's Ethernet Storage Forum, visit

Green Storage

The SNIA's Green Storage Initiative (GSI) was formed in 2007 as a collaborative group of Storage Networking Industry resources dedicated to advancing energy efficiency and conservation in all networked storage technologies in an effort to minimize the environmental impact of data storage operations.

The Initiative's work spans all shared storage technologies including disk and tape systems, server connectivity, storage appliances, fabrics and other storage network infrastructure, file services, and storage applications.  The GSI also acts as the SNIA liaison to other allied organizations such as The Green Grid and the EPA to collaborate on the development of more environmentally friendly data center solutions.

The GSI has two working bodies: the Green Storage Technical Working Group (TWG) and the Green Storage Initiative (GSI), which focuses on education, marketing, and industry alliances.  The Green Technical Working Group (TWG) will focus on delivering:

  • Green Storage Metrics—Identification and development of metrics by which energy consumption and efficiency can be measured for the purposes of supporting development of energy-efficient products, end-user customer evaluation, and regulatory standards development.
  • Green Storage Standards Development—Once a set of metrics are developed and socialized, the development of benchmarks for storage technologies can be identified and advanced
  • Instrumentation & runtime management – Standards (e.g. SMI-S) to allow for real time monitoring of Storage Energy utilization, as well as a method for managing various power states storage devices may offer.
  • Providing technical recommendations to standards-setting organizations, governmental agencies, and other stakeholders regarding the technical benchmarks for analyzing the impact of storage on the environment

There are many agencies, which are either already in existence and are extending their focus to encompass Green and Energy related issues, or that were formed specifically with a focus of Energy and Green issues.  As an industry representative for Storage and Networking, SNIA feels it is important for the industry to work together as Green and Energy related concepts are applied to Storage and Networking. As an example of this, SNIA Europe has been contributing to the EU Code of Conduct on Data Centres Energy Efficiency driven by the European Commission to facilitate the promotion of greener storage.  SNIA is in active conversations with EPA/DoE around their Energy Star program by responding to the EPA Energy Star Draft Server Specification with considerations appropriate to Storage.  Further, SNIA GSI and TWG are committed to working with the EPA in developing and providing to the EPA a cross industry viewpoint around Energy Efficient Storage.

To learn more about SNIA's Green Storage activities, visit

Solid State Storage

The Solid State Storage Initiative (SSSI) was formed in response to the fast-growing use of persistent memory for a broad range of systems and solutions. There are approximately 35 member companies that have joined the initiative with the objective to be the recognized authority on solid state storage in the industry. The mission of the SSSI is to foster the growth and success of the market for solid state storage in both consumer and enterprise environments.

The SSSI deliverables include:

  • Creation and distribution of educational materials like white papers and tutorials
  • Webinars, presentations, and demonstrations at storage-related conferences
  • Development of standards through SNIA's Solid State Storage Technical Work Group (SSS TWG) to enable the full use of solid state storage
  • Collaboration with other standards and trade associations to prevent duplicate work in the various organizations
  • A source of vendor-neutral information.

At the Spring SNW in Orlando, Florida, the SSSI delivered six tutorials, a half-day Solid State Storage Summit; three demonstrations were shown, and our two white papers were distributed. All of the tutorials can be found at The white papers and descriptions of the demonstrations (along with much more info) are on the SNIA website at

Storage Security

With the recent focus on data privacy, integrity, availability, and liability, protecting "data at rest" continues to be of interest to IT professionals in the data centre.  The SNIA Storage Security Industry Forum (SSIF) ( has been working on a variety of activities to provide guidance into some of the factors to be considered when evaluating storage security technology and solutions.

Today, traditional "perimeter" security measures are no longer adequate to protect sensitive information.  Enterprises must integrate the concepts of "information risk management" and incorporate a number of time tested techniques and principles to prepare for electronic warfare.  The SSIF "Information Risk Management" webinar, available for viewing via, presents the newest techniques that help address evolving computer security threats, including a discussion of encryption, key management, and Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standards (DSS) strategies.

The SSIF Solutions Guide to Data-At-Rest, newly revised and available online at, provides an educational overview on solutions to mitigate the threat of loss of physical control of storage media.  The Guide describes the various threats to networked storage systems, and describes how to evaluate current processes and security controls in place. It reviews the various methods for mitigating these threats, including both the scope of available solutions and implementation choices.   A capabilities comparison matrix compares and contrasts the available solutions accompanied by a vendor-supplied summary of each of the SSIF member's solutions to assist in product decisions. 

Data centre professionals are also increasingly involved in corporate compliance activities.  The SSIF is developing materials that assist administrators in security audits.  A SNIA Tutorial on "Preparing for a Security Audit" is available at  The tutorial outlines best practices for data collection, and describes capabilities and solutions to produce the materials required by an audit.   SSIF members will also be preparing a Solutions Guide to Audit for release at Storage Networking World USA and Europe in October 2009.

Storage Management - SMI-S Version 1.3 and Beyond

The Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA) has made Storage Management Initiative Specification (SMI-S) version 1.3 available for public review last fall. Since then, several vendors have tested implementations with update conformance tests (CTP). SMI-S version 1.3 provides new support for storage virtualization, adding support for virtual tape libraries and NAS file servers, management of Storage Area Network (SAN) security and support for Redundant Array of Independent Disk (RAID) controller cards.  First introduced in version 1.2 of SMI-S, view class support has been extended to include Fibre Channel switches in version 1.3 to further enhance SMI-S solutions by speeding up discovery and monitoring larger device configurations.
In conjunction with release of version 1.3 of SMI-S, SNIA has also launched supporting conformance tests to ensure the specification is adopted in products with a high degree of interoperability and robustness.  Conforming products will be published on the SNIA CTP webpage (
After SMI-S 1.3, several activities are being introduced to help end-users install and evaluate products supporting SMI-S.  First, the CTP results are being enhanced to report specific types of functionality supported by devices.  For example, in addition to reporting that an array is conformant to the Block Services profile, CTP will also report on the array's support for pool and LUN creation.  The Storage Management Initiative (SMI) is working with vendors to simplify the installation and configuration of SMI-S components.  This will involve additions to SMI-S, best practices documentation for developers, and plugfest activities.


This article is the combined efforts of Denise Ridolfo, SNIA Europe Governing Board Director, NetApp, Diana Eastty, SNIA DMF Marketing, Eastty Marketing, and Marty Foltyn, SNIA SSIF Program Director, BitSprings Systems.


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