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SNW Summary

What were the key themes of the Spring 2010 Storage Networking World? Well there are two sides of SNW. There is my side, where I spend all day in briefings with suppliers of the technology, and there is the user side where other individuals spend their time in sessions and hands on labs.

Honestly, because I don't have time to attend them as much as I would have liked, I am hesitant to talk about the labs and the sessions. I can sneak into a few here and there, but mostly I'm wrapped up in the other side of SNW and have to wait until I get back to my own lab to try things out. What I can tell from the sessions I stepped into is that they were very well-attended. The two themes that I saw capturing the most end-user interest were deduplication sessions and labs that focused on FCoE. I heard the SSD sessions were well-attended, but ironically, I never made it to those.

From the other side, the 'what is coming soon' area is what many of the suppliers were talking about, although some were only reinforcing their current messaging. For a briefing-by-briefing summary of the show please see our SNW briefing notes blog. In general, there was a lot of cloud talk. The space is getting more mature. Suppliers and providers are getting better at communicating the message. Honestly, the term cloud still really depends on what type of solution the supplier is providing, but in general, leveraging the cloud for content distribution or as an archive repository is becoming an accepted use case.

The other angle is the use of cloud for primary storage, where local storage, whether file or block data, is only a cache for a large backend of storage. For us legacy storage guys, this seems like too big of a leap. I no longer think so, especially in the small-to-medium data center. I predict that within the next five years, the overwhelming majority of these data centers will be using cloud not only for backup/archive, but also cloud will have a major role in primary storage strategies.

Deduplication was one of the other topic discussion points. As I wrote in my last entry, this technology has evolved and it's going to force the legacy suppliers in this space to raise their game a notch. What's amazing is how quickly deduplication has moved out of the backup space and into everything else, primary storage, WAN optimization, archive etc. The other interesting thing is how easily new suppliers are able to integrate the technology into their offerings, and how difficult a time legacy vendors are having retrofitting it. I'm sure it's easier to work from a clean slate, but clearly there is an opportunity for someone to provide an OEM-able dedupe component that can be easily integrated into an existing storage vendor's software stack.

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