John M. Stephens, Jr.,
The Storage Performance Council (SPC) is a vendor-neutral standards body focused on the storage industry. It has created the first industry-standard performance benchmark targeted at the needs and concerns of the storage industry. From component-level evaluation to the measurement of complete distributed storage systems, SPC benchmarks will provide a rigorous, audited and reliable measure of performance. By joining the SPC you will not only benefit from the insight that the SPC results will provide to the storage industry, but you will have a hand in defining the workloads and benchmark specifications that produce those results, assuring they address not only the broad needs of the industry, but the particular concerns of your own organization.
Who are the SPC members today?
The SPC has thirty-five members (Full, Associate, and Academic) as of January 2008. The majority of the members are manufacturers of either storage systems or storage system components. In addition, membership is valuable for systems integrators, government agencies, academic researchers, an end-user organizations.
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What are the responsibilities of an SPC member?
The SPC is operated by and for its members. As a result, there are few responsibilities that associated with membership in the SPC, other than adhering to the group's policies and procedures. Your company can choose to be an active member contributing to the creation of the SPC benchmark standards, chairing one of the subcommittees or sending representatives to one of the 6 meetings held annually. Or your company can opt to only monitor the progress made by the SPC. The choice is yours, and the appropriate level of participation may change over time, depending on the resources and goals of your organization.
Which type of membership is right for me?
The SPC has defined three levels of membership: Full, Associate, and Academic membership. Any company or organization may apply to become a Full Member. Full Members enjoy formal voting rights and may join any of the SPC's technical subcommittees as well as serve on SPC standing committees.
Associate membership is also open to companies and organizations. Associate Members do not have formal voting rights and may not serve on SPC standing committees. Participation in and attendance at General Council or subcommittee meetings is by invitation only.
Academic membership is open to accredited academic institutions. Academic Members do not have formal voting rights and may not serve on SPC standing committees. Participation in and attendance at General Council or subcommittee meetings is by invitation only.
Both Associate and Academic Members receive all SPC mailings and have access to the Members-Only portion of the SPC website, which contains meeting minutes, draft and official benchmark specifications, and the detailed disclosure reports for benchmark results.
How will my company benefit from SPC membership?
Whether your firm is a storage systems manufacturer, a systems integrator or an end-user organization, the SPC can provide a significant and cost effective benefit. Membership provides measurable benefit on four major fronts: marketing leverage, competitive data, product improvement and benchmark design.
Participation in the SPC positions your company to effectively leverage the engineering investment you've already made in your product development cycle into an integrated marketing effort founded on industry-standard performance evaluation. The SPC will provide a rigorous and respected performance testing environment that will allow your products to compete head-to-head with all the major players in the storage industry.
The SPC membership includes all major players in the storage industry, and is growing all the time. By participating in the SPC your company will be meeting with the performance professionals in the storage industry. Members also get full access to the members-only web site, including the detailed benchmark disclosures which will provide valuable insight into the products and approaches that the rest of the Council is employing in their benchmarking efforts.
While industry-standard benchmarks are usually thought of as a means to demonstrate product improvement, they can often cause product improvement as well. The SPC is targeting its workloads at the most important segments of the computer storage industry, and is producing benchmarks that reflect the challenges and opportunities that will confront your products when there are deployed in the field. Engineering resources focused on SPC benchmarks will translate into product improvements that are noticed by your customers. In addition, the SPC's open, published benchmark standards will allow your engineering and performance staff to integrate SPC workloads into your existing development process, providing ongoing feedback and improvement throughout the development cycle, while positioning your company's products for an effective marketing introduction backed by industry-standard quantification.
Benchmark Design Influence
The SPC will provide powerful insight into computer storage system performance. By becoming a member of the SPC, your company will have a voice in the design and use of the SPC's benchmarking standards. There is no better way to assure that the criteria your customers will use to evaluate your products is fair and representative than to assist in its design. In addition to deciding the focus and design of SPC workloads, member companies will shape the guidelines for the proper use and dissemination of benchmark results. By understanding and shaping the basis for fair use and comparison of SPC benchmark data, your company is assured of the best possible return on your benchmarking investment.
Why should I become an Associate Member?
As an systems integrator/reseller or end-user organization, you are continually asked to find, evaluate and report upon new products and solutions in the storage industry. The access, information and insight available to SPC members will provide a valuable new tool in the critical product evaluations that you or your customers depend on. As an associate member of the SPC, you will enjoy early exposure to and influence on the Council's upcoming workloads, allowing you to anticipate and affect the direction of storage product evaluation.
Where can I get more information?
For more information on the SPC and to receive a membership application, please contact the SPC Administrator at:
Storage Performance Council
P.O. Box 3504
Redwood City, CA 94063
Tel: (650) 556-9384