No Lazy Days of Summer In Storage

The dog days of August are when the storage industry heats up, with two major events. Contributor Howard Marks will be speaking and joining the fun at Flash Memory Summit and VMworld.

Howard Marks

August 8, 2015

4 Min Read
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Up until just a few years ago, I would get a break from my usually hectic pace when summer rolled around. Event planners figured that with people taking their family road trips to WallyWorld, IT departments would be shorthanded, and therefore less likely to send their people to Vegas for EvilCorpWorld.

Then VMworld, held during the last week of August, became the biggest event on my conference calendar. The whole idea of a lazy summer went out the window. I'm keeping extra busy this summer speaking at The Flash Memory Summit and VMworld, along with the usual lab testing, validation reports and webinars.

Flash Memory Summit

I've been attending the Flash Memory Summit for a few years. It used to be very much an inside the flash industry event -- the kind of conference where a company that wanted to make SSDs could talk to flash and controller vendors, contract manufacturers and the people that build test equipment. These days, the audience has shifted to include enterprise storage vendors, and FMS is also making a real effort to be inclusive to end users.

As flash becomes the standard enterprise storage medium, it would be nice to have a significant event in the storage industry that isn't run by a vendor. Until then, FMS serves as a good gathering of the storage clans -- if not the more inclusive event it's trying to be and hopefully becoming.

My FMS schedule starts with a half day workshop Monday, August 10. In this Deploying Flash in the Data Center workshop, I show the enterprise users in the room the 1001, now 1002, ways flash can be deployed in today's data center. The workshop also works for SSD vendors, at least those that can handle my usual snarky commentary. They can learn what their customers, the storage vendors and hyperscale operators, are doing with products and what they'll want from SSDs in the near future.

I'll also be presenting the session Annual Update on Enterprise Flash Storage on Tuesday, August 11. Three of the most knowledgeable flash experts I know -- Jim Handy, Intel's Jim Pappas, and Micron's Michael Abraham -- will join me to talk about what they're good at.


Just three weeks after FMS comes the big one, VMworld. My week starts on Sunday at Tintri's Tintricity 2015. Then I'm going to be speaking on four (OMG what am I in for?) sessions at VMworld.

The first will feature the biggest, baddest, Greybeards on Storage podcast ever. Greyhairs on Storage: The Podcast Live on Stage (Monday at 2 pm) will be a live panel where my co-host Ray Lucchesi will grill Paula Long of DataGravity (the reason we've temporarily renamed the podcast to Greyhairs, because she can't grow a beard), Chuck Hollis of VMware, Chad Sakac of EMC, Andy Banta of SolidFire, and Justin Lauer from Tintri.

It's going to be the biggest, baddest, Greybeards on Storage podcast ever and the VMworld folks are even giving us the recording for our RSS/iTunes stream.

My second session, Putting vVols to Work – Best Practices for vSphere 6 and Beyond (Wednesday at 8am), is basically a buyer's guide to virtual volume technologies. In other words, it's vVols without the politics. I'll say straight out that some vVols implementations are falling short of their promise and how you can find the right solution. I've used some of the material in presentations I've done with VMware folks and their response is usually something like "I'm glad you said that 'cause I can't say that."

The third session, Storage Upstarts: More than a "Flash" in the Pan (Tuesday at 10am) is an all-star panel of storage industry luminaries with me asking indelicate questions. This session is essentially the 2015 version of last year's "New Kids on the Storage Block" session, featuring vendors like Data Gravity, SolidFire, and Tegile.

As if that weren't enough, I also volunteered for The vExpert Game Show (Wednesday at 2:30 pm), a Family Feud-style game show with Vaughn Stewart, Pure Storage's Chief Evangelist, taking on the Richard Dawson role. The other players are Dr. J. Metz, Rawlinson Rivera, Chris Wahl, and Eric Wright.

And on Tuesday afternoon I'll be hanging with my boys and girls at Tech Field Day Extra at VMworld. My fellow panelists and I will be seeing presentations by Primary Data, Reduxio, SanDisk, and a "secret company" coming out of stealth at VMworld.

As always, I'm looking forward to the social aspect of these gatherings of the infrastructure geek clans. If you want to meet at FMS or VMworld -- especially if you're buying adult refreshments -- drop me a line via email or the twitters @DeepStorageNet.

About the Author(s)

Howard Marks

Network Computing Blogger

Howard Marks</strong>&nbsp;is founder and chief scientist at Deepstorage LLC, a storage consultancy and independent test lab based in Santa Fe, N.M. and concentrating on storage and data center networking. In more than 25 years of consulting, Marks has designed and implemented storage systems, networks, management systems and Internet strategies at organizations including American Express, J.P. Morgan, Borden Foods, U.S. Tobacco, BBDO Worldwide, Foxwoods Resort Casino and the State University of New York at Purchase. The testing at DeepStorage Labs is informed by that real world experience.</p><p>He has been a frequent contributor to <em>Network Computing</em>&nbsp;and&nbsp;<em>InformationWeek</em>&nbsp;since 1999 and a speaker at industry conferences including Comnet, PC Expo, Interop and Microsoft's TechEd since 1990. He is the author of&nbsp;<em>Networking Windows</em>&nbsp;and co-author of&nbsp;<em>Windows NT Unleashed</em>&nbsp;(Sams).</p><p>He is co-host, with Ray Lucchesi of the monthly Greybeards on Storage podcast where the voices of experience discuss the latest issues in the storage world with industry leaders.&nbsp; You can find the podcast at:

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