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ASNP Aims for Independence

The Association of Storage Networking Professionals (ASNP) signed up over 400 new members during its first annual "summit" meeting at the Storage World Conference in Long Beach, Calif., last week. But sources warn the group's at a crucial juncture, and the direction it picks now could make or break it.

ASNP was founded in September 2003 by Daniel Delshad, who also organized Storage World three years ago (see Storage User Groups Proliferate). From the start, it aimed to be different than other user forums, such as those under the umbrella -- some would say under the thumb -- of the Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA).

"Part of the it was that users didn't feel they had a place to go," says ASNP VP Max Shu. "Some felt SNIA didn't have enough end user activities."

SNIA now charges vendors up to $35,000 annually to join the group as voting members. Some say that's enabled suppliers to gain a foothold in the organization that drowns out user voices and promotes commercial interests.

To avoid vendor dominance, ASNP has kept vendor participation to a minimum. Vendors now pay an undisclosed but "nominal" fee to have their information listed on the group's Web site and promotional materials. And they must be preapproved in order to do so: "The ASNP is unique in that it was started by users for users and is not dependent on vendor or sponsor funding," the group's annual report states. "In order for the organization to remain 'vendor-neutral,' vendors can only participate in activities by invitation."

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