I am officially invited to attend Storage Field Day 10!
Having been invited at Tech Field Day Extra was already a unique experience, but having this opportunity to fly to the USA, meet again the TFD organizers, see old and new faces, and attend presentations with nine storage contenders is, at least to me, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for which I’m extremely grateful. It’s a quadruple first for me: first transatlantic flight, first trip on the American continent and US soil, first trip to San Francisco, first visit to the famed Silicon Valley.
The event will take place in the Silicon Valley from May 24th to May 27th. We will have the opportunity to hear the following companies present their solution(s):
Cloudian offers a solution that allows to extend your storage in the cloud. I first met them at Tech.Unplugged London in 2015 and they presented how their solution integrates with Amazon S3. Since I operate mainly in large legacy enterprise environments, S3 has been as close to me as Alpha Centauri but hey, I’m trying to catch up. It seems that they also now have a storage appliance called HyperStore. Unable to say if their offering is appliance-only, software-only or a mix.
Datera present themselves as « Storage for the Cloud Era » and their solution is fully covered by RESTful APIs, promising to deliver policy-based, AWS-like storage capabilities that fully integrate in modern environments driven by automation. Multi-tenancy and Storage QoS capabilities seem to be a plus. This will likely be an interesting discovery. Datera’s offering seems to be software-only, but I may be wrong (they mention that customers can use commodity hardware of their choice).
Exablox, besides spelling « on-premises » properly on their front page, has an interesting approach to scaling storage and I look forward to learn more. They have a cloud-based management system, I’m curious to hear about this and how they eventually tackle (or plan to tackle) stringent ISEC policies in place at larger organizations or in highly regulated environments. Exablox offers an appliance-based solution.
There’s a lot of interest around Hedvig. And I can understand why. They offer a software-defined storage solution that leverages commodity hardware and allows to scale storage and compute either independently, or together as in an hyper-converged solution. Hedvig also integrates DR Replication and Backup capabilities. Finally, it supports multiple platforms, not only the regular Hyper-V, VMware and KVM trio but also Amazon S3…and ARM servers, which is, as far as I know, unique as of today. Data distribution and auto-balancing is also interesting. This promises to be an exciting session!
Kaminario is a competitor in the AFA space. They offer an hardware appliance called a « K-Block » which comprises of two active-controllers. I am not familiar with Kamlinario’s architecture so I hope to learn more while preparing for SFD10.
Nimble Storage is a known player in the storage field and you may have hear Enrico Signoretti speak multiple times about this company. Nimble has an outstanding data analytics component (Infosight) integrated in their solution. They also, in a u-turn, launched their first AFA (All Flash Array) a couple months ago, after being a long-time advocate of hybrid storage. You may also have seen a video of their AFA launch where TFD mastermind Stephen Foskett is interviewed during the launch. Nimble sell storage appliances.
Primary Data’s objective is to abstract your existing storage environment by, from my understanding, mapping existing storage silos to given SLO (Service Level Objectives) that can be related to performance, data type, cold or hot data. You don’t need to worry anymore about the protocol used or whether the data is stored on a VNX, on another competitor’s array or on direct-attached flash. Data is no longer placed on silos because of « that’s the way we did it » but because of the actual relevancy. The concept is interesting and I look forward to learn more about it.
Pure Storage is a competitor in the AFA space. Their latest innovation unveiled less than two months ago is the FlashBlade system, a full flash scalable object-based storage array where, surprisingly enough, blades of flash storage (MLC NAND) can be added to increase capacity up to « tenths of petabytes ». Or at least 1.6PB of usable capacity within a 4U form factor. Besides the hard, tech facts, their cool-looking appliance is a reminder of what the illegitimate child of BB-8 and KITT forbidden love could look like.
Tintri have been around for a few years already and they were one of the first (if not the first) to come up with the concept of VM-aware storage. The abstraction of LUNs and volumes has always intrigued me but I never had the opportunity to dig into the Tintri solution.
I am looking forward to meet again the TFD team (Stephen and Tom) as well as the SFD delegates. Some are friends I’ve already met on various occasions, others are new and I am excited not only by the sessions, but also by the very specific format of the Tech Field Day events. I am certain there will be not only great technical debates, but also lots of fun! And it will be yet another unique occasion to listen, learn, educate myself and hopefully improve. The interactions between delegates are excellent for intellectual stimulation, and we’ll have at least two storage industry heavyweights, Chris Evans and Enrico Signoretti.
Finally, on a sentimental touch, getting to the Silicon Valley is a sort of distant kid dream come true. The Silicon Valley certainly touches nowadays to companies like VMware, Google, Facebook, Tesla and the likes -at least for the public- with self-driving cars and all the folklore about perks and employees extravaganza.
To me, as a kid who grew up in the 90’s, the Silicon Valley reminds me of the times when Intel waged war with AMD and Motorola/IBM, times when there was a great product called NeXTStep/3.3 (come on, who knows this?) while we poor mortals were happy to finally upgrade from 3.11 to 95 (and moving from an old 80286/20 with 2 MB RAM, 40 MB drive to the luxury that was a 486SX40 with 8 MB RAM, 850 MB drive and a video card with 1 MB ram (and the mandatory Sound Blaster Pro) – and at what prices. Apple was in there with their PowerPC chips, nobody knew which architecture would win. Remember your phone (or brick)? My MicroTAC 5200 weighed a ton. But hey, it could send SMS (nobody knew the point either). And then there was the PDA revolution… so many memories! We would get NCSA Mosaic without having a clue what it’s good for and lo… to me it’s like yesterday, but it’s well 20 years now and look at the industry we have, and a world of opportunities.
This said, I’m very happy and I’ll look forward to be there. So stay tuned, and be ready to follow the #SFD10 hashtag on Twitter.