In a sense, we are all spoiled in the technology world. Our environment is one of constant progress and change, and you can always say “if last year was great, next year will be even better!”, or “if you don’t like today’s hardware/software/solutions, wait until tomorrow”. It’s easy to become jaded at how quickly our technology is evolving, and to downplay any specific milestones as just being part of the overall advancement of technology. However, there are always “hidden gems” in the technology news that portent greater changes in the future. An important example of this is the creation by the Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA) of the Computational Storage Technical Working Group (TWG), which Scott Shadley (the VP of Marketing at NGD Systems) will be co-chairing.
Standards work is one of those areas in technology that is often overlooked, but which is critically essential. Without industry groups defining standards, products would not be interoperable, and vendor lock-in would be rampant. You only have to look at the success of the industry groups for the Universal Serial Bus (USB), Ethernet, PCI Express (PCIe), or other similar groups to see their importance. Today you don’t worry about plugging a USB peripheral into your computer or connecting a server onto an Ethernet network – it just works. SNIA’s focus is specifically on standards for storage and storage networking software and functionality, including management, security, and interoperability, and these are specifically the areas that the SNIA Computational Storage TWG will focus on.
By creating a TWG for Computational Storage, SNIA has done three things for computational storage users and vendors. The TWG provides a forum to enable and promote interoperability between computational storage devices. It also ensures that products meeting the SNIA standards will interoperate with products meeting other SNIA initiatives such as system-level storage management and security. Finally, by recognizing the growing need for (and importance of) computational storage, the SNIA TWG will help to promote investment in this area by both venture capitalists and by existing companies, either in these new companies or into product development within their own companies that relates to computational storage. If this is an area that you are interested in and your company is part of SNIA, I highly recommend that you get involved in the SNIA TWG – you will be providing future value to both end-users and the overall storage/storage networking ecosystem. Have a great holiday season!