“Faster than a SCSI command, more robust than a RAID array”. That’s the claim made for SAN Man, the superhero mascot of the Association for Storage Networking Professionals, a new group that aims to stand up for the rights of the geeks (their word) who manage storage in organisations.

But does the storage world need another hero? IT magazine eWeek lists another three storage user groups that launched this year alone: the Storage Networking Industry Association's Customer Council, the Data Management Institute set up by industry analyst Jon Toigo and SANSecurity.com, set up by consultancy Network System Architects.

The group presents itself as the one which will clear away the hype and get real information for users: “They're still feeling very powerless when it comes to separating the hype from what's real," said chairman Daniel Delshad, a storage industry veteran who also owns a trade show, the Storage World Conference.

Despite the links with Storage World, ASNP will not tolerate vendors or other show exhibitors attempting to influence the group’s agenda, said Delshad. The group plans to root out any vendors that try to join by disguising themselves as users.

ASNP plans to create white papers, run a certification programme and host online forums, as well as job adverts and a second-hand market for storage kit.

Delshad has got funding to keep the group going for three years at least, with the first 1000 members joining free. If membership goes higher than that, subsequent members will pay $199, he said. ASNP has several chapters in the US, as well as one for the whole of Europe, run by Anil Bhatia of Orange. We agree that storage is a growing area where there is lots of hype to be cleared up. SAN Man may be a bit puerile, but storage needs a bit of jollity, and we like a bit of irreverence

What we are not clear about is whether redundancy in user groups is as useful as it is in disk arrays.