By Calvin Zito, aka @HPStorageGuy
It's been a grueling month for me - traveling 3 of the last 4 weeks, and being gone about 4 days for each trip. I concluded my hectic travel schedule today when I returned home from Storage Networking World. But I'm not really complaining because I love events like this where my industry colleagues and customers come together - the "social" part of these events is probably more important to me than some of the content. That said, I'm going to give my high-level overview of the event - I'm afraid if I don't my management will start to think going to these events is just a party. (Ok, #storagebeers was really a party).
I attended an early session by John Webster from the Evaluator Group titled, "Writing RFP's in 2011". John's session was a basic but good overview of what has really changed in technology over the last several years that impact storage and that these changes require a new approach to RFP's. There was also a presentation by Todd Loeppke, Technical VP of Storage Architecture at Savvis, "Cloud Storage - What is it?" that I wanted to attend and I heard really good things about but I could only be in one place at a time.
From there, I attended four vendor-neutral presentations from HP employees:
- Geoff Hough, Director of Strategy in our Office of the CTO, had what was one of the best presentations I attended titled, "Learning from the Cloud". I got video of this session and I hope to edit it down to a sensible vlog that I'll share here soon.
- Michael Haag, Sr Strategic Alliance Manager, proved his deep understanding of Thin Provisioning in his session "Lean Times Call for Thin Provisioning".
- Sean Kinney, Director of HP StoreOnce gave a high energy presentation titled "Reduced complexity with next-generation deduplication innovation".
- My boss VP of Marketing Craig Nunes wrapped up Monday with his presentation titled, "The end of storage as you know it".
This was more of networking (as in social) day for me but I did attend one session that was interesting - Dennis Martin, President of Demartek had a session "I/O virtualization - the next virtualization frontier" that focused on the recently competed suite of specifications called I/O Virtualization (IOV).
The highlight for me was the storagebeers event that took place Tuesday night - this is where the storage community on Twitter (and there's a lot of them) get together for... well, adult beverages and conversation. It's a great time of meeting up with colleagues, competitors, and customers. For all those who decry how nasty the dialog can be among storage vendors, there were folks from every major industry player. The amazing thing was when the bill came (over $600) - half the people had already left. Everyone pulled out their wallets to throw in some coin to help pay the bill. A couple of people went above and beyond.
I started the day by attending a couple of session (sorry, neither of these presentations are on the SNW website):
- Michael Schrage, Research Fellow, MIT Sloan School's Center for Digital Business had a great presentation "From Cloud Computing to Climate Control: The Future(s) of Agile Infrastructure" that I now wish I had video taped. I didn't take notes but I remember Mr. Schrage challenged attendees to answer the question (with two or three word answers) "what have I done to innovate". He then went on to ask "what should I do to innovate" and ultimately asking us to answer are we innovating with what customers want/need in mind.
- My Senior VP and GM of HP StorageWorks David Scott was next with his presentation titled "The Impact of Cloud and Data-centric Computing on Tomorrow’s Storage Architectures". David talked about how IT is having to adapt and the impact that is having on storage. Most storage deployed today was architected 20 years ago but with the several trends, those architectures just don't cut it: virtualization, utility IT, converged infrastructure, unstructured data explosion and unpredictable workloads all demand that storage must catch up. I did get video of David's session and hope to have a summary vlog soon.
I spent the rest of Wednesday attending the hands-on lab. I thought what better way for me to get up close and personal with storage than to step into the shoes of a storage admin. I did two hands-on labs:
- Storage virtualization - this lab focused on provisioning HP 3PAR. This was exactly what I needed as it really helped me to better understand HP 3PAR. I hope to have vlog(s) in the near future showing this.
- Unified storage - IP storage - in this lab, i configured P4000 (HP LeftHand) iSCSI storage. While I've had a lot of exposure to our P4000, this was also a great learning experience for me. I also got video of this - I did a number of different things that will probably be multiple vlogs. This lab also included a competitors products but I didn't work with those products.
I skipped out on the final day's agenda at SNW so that I could return home. Several others have also written about their experience at SNW - here's a few of them:
- Erwin van Londen has summary posts for Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at SNW.
- Don Jennings (@djenningspr) has a post titled "Are we doing the storage industry a disservice?"
- W Curtis Preston (@wcpreston) - also known as Mr. Backup - who I've finally met for the first time, has a post with his reflections from SNW.
If you've seen other posts from SNW, leave a comment with the URL. And keep an eye on my blog for some of the videos I'll have in the near future.