Brenda H. Christensen

 

Company Represented While Actively Involved with the SNIA:

VP of Marketing at both Brocade Communications and Troika Networks

Current Company:

Board and Advisory Board Member, Cloverleaf Communications and InMage Systems

Years with the SNIA:

Forever it seemed at the time!

Fondest Memories of the SNIA:

Working directly with the real steadfast pioneers of the industry who maintained momentum in spite of technical assaults and distractions by companies who sabotaged efforts to cooperate and interoperate. I believe our core groups operated by flying under the radar of our own company executives, often without their practical support. We worked tirelessly and built the industry that many top executives would later claim was the result of their efforts. From the broad range of companies in the industry there were so few active Marketing and Biz Dev executives who provided leadership to the industry that it was a hard pull for those of us who had the industry jobs and our company's jobs. Many of us were from small or start-up companies. Fortunately the guys who originated the technology and core products worked very well with the few of us who made the case for market involvement.

Proudest Moments while Active with the SNIA:

There were several exceptional moments but the first one was the first public SNW in Seattle. The industry operated as a tight team probably because there were few products and executive and company sales politics hadn't burdened the industry. I sent out requests around the world to SNIA member companies to submit User Profiles. We only received them from an SGI rep in Europe, and we even had several IT executives from Europe come to SNW to get the response to their needs from the "Panel of Experts." We were stuck with what to do with this SNW program and so I called in all my chips with the guys who established they could make everything out of nothing and we sat down and literally made up "this could happen" case studies that proved very useful in providing direction to future product deployments. Those who got together for these case studies at SNW (I'll regret if I missed someone) were Kumar, Brad, Clod, Paul M, Dave T, Jonathan, Wayne, Paul R, and John T.

The next proudest moments came when we had real case studies presented by real end users following SNW. Hitachi came through with financial industry customers and that changed the entire tenor of the industry because suddenly storage networks were going to happen and customers found this credible because end users spoke to their experience with the products, companies, and industry as a whole. But I was also proud when we had top company executives participate in the first several SNWs. I don't think the executives ever appreciated that the end user attendees who saw them at SNW talking with other industry executives impacted the customers' perception that the industry could work together. After all, the storage industry itself was very proprietary. Each major company implemented even the "standards" differently. Many were holding out for Cisco's involvement in the network part of storage networking to make it credible. The industry was born out of such technical bits and bites promotions (Fibre Channel vs. GigE and others) but consumers just wanted practical working products and cooperating companies, which is what saw that in the early years of SNW.

Unfortunately once we had multiple product lines from multiple companies all the executives squirreled away to their corporate hotel suites never to see competing or cooperating company execs again unless it was at some financial conference. And not to be missed was the launching of storage networking conferences and early SNIA development in India with Kumar Malavalli that was instrumental in accelerating early adoption of advanced storage networking products in India.

SNIA's Greatest Achievements:

 

  1. The early SNW events because it brought the end users into the industry and kept the company representatives from just talking with each other
  2. The SNIA dictionary because it was the first time we had common definitions for end users and engineers internationally
  3. The SMI program because it was the first time we really worked on a software standard up front in a holistic manner
  4. The SNIA sponsored CIM conferences because it reluctantly brought Microsoft into industry standardization practices
  5. Interoperability demonstrations at SNW because for those of us who tried for over a decade to get interoperability as a foundation of our industry, there were too many companies who couldn't break their schemes to make and promote products based on false "standards" even when end users loudly protested that they were tired of those proprietary schemes.