Howard Marks

Network Computing Blogger

Upcoming Events

Where the Cloud Touches Down: Simplifying Data Center Infrastructure Management

Thursday, July 25, 2013
10:00 AM PT/1:00 PM ET

In most data centers, DCIM rests on a shaky foundation of manual record keeping and scattered documentation. OpManager replaces data center documentation with a single repository for data, QRCodes for asset tracking, accurate 3D mapping of asset locations, and a configuration management database (CMDB). In this webcast, sponsored by ManageEngine, you will see how a real-world datacenter mapping stored in racktables gets imported into OpManager, which then provides a 3D visualization of where assets actually are. You'll also see how the QR Code generator helps you make the link between real assets and the monitoring world, and how the layered CMDB provides a single point of view for all your configuration data.

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A Network Computing Webinar:
SDN First Steps

Thursday, August 8, 2013
11:00 AM PT / 2:00 PM ET

This webinar will help attendees understand the overall concept of SDN and its benefits, describe the different conceptual approaches to SDN, and examine the various technologies, both proprietary and open source, that are emerging. It will also help users decide whether SDN makes sense in their environment, and outline the first steps IT can take for testing SDN technologies.

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It’s A Solid-State Symposium

Next week I’m off to sunny San Jose for the first Solid State Symposium and Storage Field Day. While Storage Field Day follows the general blogger’s tech-day format, the Solid State Symposium is a public event on Wednesday, when we’ll try to wrangle the future of solid state storage out of the sponsoring vendors and industry luminaries.

The symposium will start off with pointed 15-minute presentations from the sponsoring vendors. Some may use their time to make a quick pitch for their product, but I’m hoping more than one chooses to talk about the promise and future of data centers built around solid-state storage. After the vendor propaganda parade, StorageMojo’s Robin Harris will deliver the morning keynote, looking at his view of what storage systems will look like in 10 years.

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In the afternoon Chris Evans, who blogs at, will lead a panel that will argue the benefits of using flash as cache versus as a tier of storage. Nigel Poulton, of Technical Deep Dive and Infosmack fame, will moderate a panel on Solid State Storage Array Architectures.

During the day's closing session I’ll ask the vendors indelicate questions on The Future of Solid State Storage. Should vendors junk SAS or SATA SSDs and build their own flash modules, as Robin suggested in a recent blog post? Will shrinking flash geometries make flash unreliable for enterprise storage? We’ll put the vendors in the hot seat and find out.

The sponsoring vendors include folks that make just about all the variants of solid-state storage from SATA and PCIe SSDs to all solid-state arrays and hybrid systems. The symposium is free, but you have to register to get your tickets. We’re expecting a crowd of about 100 storage geeks and are hoping you’ll join us. For more information or to register, visit the symposium’s Web page.

Thursday and Friday the doors close and it’s Storage Field Day, when a group of noted industry bloggers gather to hear storage vendors pitch their latest and greatest technology while we hold their feet to the fire and make them actually explain why anyone in their right mind would invest their hard-earned IT budget on the creations they’re pitching. Now that Stephen Foskett and the folks at Gestalt IT have been running field days for a couple of years, the vendors come prepared with demos and engineers knowing we’ll chew up and spit out marketing people who come bearing lame PowerPoint decks.

These events are always a blast, if a bit exhausting, since the day for delegates runs 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. and I’m hoping to learn a few things about solid state storage. As usual, the delegate list is made up of an international who’s who of the independent storage blogosphere.

While the doors at storage field day are closed to the public, both the symposium and vendor presentations at Storage Field Day will be live-streamed at the site, so you can see the show even if you can’t make it to San Jose.

Disclaimer: I’m speaking at the Solid State Symposium and attending Storage Field Day. My expenses will be covered by Gestalt IT, which in turn will be paid by the sponsoring vendors (none of whom I’ve mentioned by name here, even though at least one is a client of I am not being paid to attend either event, although I’m sure I’ll have a bit of vendor swag to add to my collection.

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