In a world first for the Storage Networking Industry Association, the Australia and New Zealand chapter has recently announced the launch of an individual membership category. The category is aimed at small to medium sized businesses who previously could not afford a full or associate membership. “We have taken cost out of the issue,” said Chairman Jacob Van der Eyk. “The level of value that it [the individual membership] brings for your $95 investment is many, many more times than what you are actually spending.” Traditionally SNIA members have been major vendors and the big systems integrators, but there are many small to medium businesses that have a handful of experts who could benefit from the association’s offerings. New individual members will be accorded the same level of access as an associate member, but at a much more accessible price. As a not-for-profit organisation SNIA ANZ wants to create a helpful industry community and act as a repository for industry knowledge and best practice. Individual members will benefit from being part of this extended storage and networking community, be eligible for discounts on training and educational courses, receive priority treatment and exposure to the conferences and academy programs, and be licensed to use the SNIA logo. SNIA ANZ has wanted to launch the category for the last year but have waited until now so as to be able to offer an appropriate infrastructure in terms of online tools and communities. “We wanted to make sure we had invested in a suitable framework and infrastructure to make sure we could deliver the content and environment. People expect web infrastructure so you’ve got to do it properly. We’re pleased to say we have put in a fairly state of the art environment,” said Van der Eyk. This web infrastructure means members are able to write blogs, broadcast podcasts and publish their own material, plus take part in a closed Australia / New Zealand networking community set up thorough LinkedIn. Van der Eyk expects the individual membership category to fast outstrip the associate category as the most popular and help to fulfil SNIA’s goal of reaching a much broader cross section of the industry. Visit www.snia.org.au for more information or to register.