Storage Networking World – My Thoughts

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After spending last week at SNW to present on 6Gbps SAS and virtualization, I left with a lot on mind. First, it was a great show and SNIA and Computerworld are to thank for that. Their professionalism in running an event are second to none.

Everyone has asked me two things. First, I get asked, “How was attendance?” Frankly, it was light. However, it seemed that there was a significant presence of smaller organizations from the region attending. It was refreshing to discuss their strategies as we often get consumed by thoughts of mega data centers and can easily forget about issues that impact smaller organizations.

For instance, one small IT shop was trying to develop a disaster recovery program for their one and only server farm. While we might envision a world in which that DR site would be hundred, if not thousands, of miles away, they simply wanted to replicate their server environment four miles away. Why? Because someone might steal their servers and walk away with the company’s entire database! Talk about needing some insight on the best buy to replicate data! SNW provided that type of information and made this end-user's time at the event purposeful.

The second question I get is “What was everyone talking about?” It seemed that the usual hot topics received the most attention: SSDs, virtualization, dedup, tiering and green. A few thoughts on each…

SSDs – the Lamborghini of storage. My colleague at Microsoft, Chris Lionetti, offered up this nugget…”if you’re not already short stroking your drives, why would you use SSDs to improve your performance?” Good point on performance. However, I would offer that many are concerned with power savings, but at the current price points that may require a long payback period.

Virtualization – the catch-all phrase for everything cool in high-tech. Many end users are confused by the term "virtualization." Why? Because every supplier in the world is using the term in different ways. For environments in which you've deployed typical virtual OS (VMware, Hyper-V or Zen), I recommend that you choose storage solutions that allow you to aggregate your storage into a common pool, is built upon a Unified Fabric of Ethernet and is highly optimized. Might I suggest EqualLogic? Sorry, couldn't help myself.

Dedup – a classic duh. Who wouldn’t want to dedup data whenever possible? Backup data is a great place to start.

Tiering – a great architecture allowing you to deliver high-performance SAS drives for applications and lower-cost, lower-performance SATA drives for less frequently accessed data.

Green – we’re all getting greener…more efficient power supplies, lower power SSD drives, deduping data, tiering to put less used data on lower power drives, virtualized environments that more fully utilize the hardware we deploy, energy efficient Ethernet. This is not only great for the environment, but it also reduces your power expenses, which aligns your goals more completely with your organization’s needs even if you don’t directly own the budget for that expense.

With President Obama’s cap-and-trade proposals it may have material impact to your organization’s bottom line in the years to come.

Next up…Interop. Hope to see you there!

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