At SNW there is a chance to see what vendors want to inform the world about – from their product perspective. There are also presentations that are focused on education and general information for users of storage. This presents a contrast between the two and represents the fact that many times the adoption rate of new technologies in data centers may be at a different pace than delivery of new technology.
The vendor offerings are interesting to look at from a quantitative perspective: what is popular as a focus area? This year, there were two distinct areas of popularity (quantitatively): solid state storage devices (SSDs) and anything to do with “cloud” whose definition is being liberally attributed to many different products and operational environments. This does not mean there were not storage systems and management software solutions presented; it is just about the number of the promoted offerings.
These products represent the popular ones at the event and certainly many of the offerings were new. The “Next” from vendors were some novel offerings that may become the popular products or solutions of the future. More of the new technologies seem to be unveiled at the Fall SNW rather than the spring. Fitting into the new category but not really representing particularly new products were offerings (solutions) of integrated or coordinated solutions that were meant to give IT an answer to administering and managing multiple point products. This is recognition that there is another level of opportunity beyond delivering a new or novel product: integrating solutions into the operational workflow in an IT environment.
The educational information presented in the sessions reflects more about problems facing IT and the approaches to address them. There were some sessions about using or exploiting the popular products or technologies and overall, the sessions for IT professionals were highly valuable.
The information about storage related products and their usage in IT and the education sessions aimed at providing valuable insights are a gauge of the benefit of attending the event. Both need to be substantial in order to attract attendees who must justify the expense and the time.
Note: Please see the Free Resources to download Randy Kern’s presentation on “Sibling Rivalries: Tiering, Data Protection and Archiving” or John Webster’s on “RFPs in 2011” or “Big Data Analytics and Storage”