There are some industry events where we go with a bit of apprehension and the fear of catching “keynote measles”. But then, there are also those events that we’re excited about, that start looking more like a tradition and family reunion than a technology event.
Storage Field Day, brought to you by the find folks at Gestalt IT, is one of those. And I’m immensely glad I’ll have the opportunity to attend Storage Field Day 18 (#SFD18, where 18 is the 18th instance and not the year) taking place in the Silicon Valley between 27-Feb-19 and 1-Mar-19. For the obligatory stats, this event will mark my 7th Storage Field Day participation, and my 15th overall event participation to a Tech Field Day, all genres considered.
If it means anything at all, it proves at least one thing: if I was able to make it, you can probably too!
By the way, if you wonder about the cover picture for this article, it was taken by Ben Gage (our delegate custodian / guardian angel) during a truly exceptional moment of relaxation at Storage Field Day 17.
An Intense Event
As my good friend and fellow SFD18 delegate Jon Klaus wrote on his blog, Storage Field Day 18 will be a full event. A full event means that we will have presentations with vendors during the entire duration of the event (three days), with a total of 7 companies.
If there is a proper word to describe the “full event” experience, it certainly has to be “intense”. Intense because there will be a lot of companies, hopefully all presenting great content. Intense because we need to stay focused on the content not only for our education, but to also understand the implications and outcomes of a given product / solution, why it may or may not be relevant, and what does it means for us – as professionals, but also as trusted advisors to our customers, and as independent voices in the industry.
As if ingesting a lot of information wasn’t enough, delegates are surrounded by their peers which are also carefully paying attention and asking, questioning, challenging, arguing, etc. Storage Field Day is proverbially known for welcoming some of the industry brightest minds when it comes to storage, which means focus (and trying to understand what’s going on) is essential. Focus is also essential if you have a question and want to put it through, as some of the fine folks in the room have their brains on steroids and ask questions as fast as I’m able to gobble up a pizza.
Then the next two aspects were very rightfully pointed out by Jon (and I don’t mean to plagiarize): for those of us travelling from Europe, there’s the jetlag and the fatigue of long hours of travel. This is sometimes counterbalanced by our excitement of being there, hearing new things and perhaps most importantly meeting again our old & new friends, our Tech Field Day family. The feeling of excitement is often also energized by the very vivid and intellectually stimulating discussions that we may have, when it’s not about crispy anecdotes from the trenches of working in IT.
All of this overexcitement and information overload can lead very quickly to tiredness, and therefore it’s important to keep properly hydrated – and to avoid certain types of food to maximize the chances of getting a bit of rest. Not that I want to make this post one about travel, but I bring around some melatonine in case things get really bad. And I’ve just signed up for a Calm subscription, in the hope that it will help me relax and fall asleep better (and thus be more focused for the content).
The outcome is that as the endorphine builds up, it’s almost time to go home, so there goes another flight across the Atlantic, recovering from the tiredness and having the usual episode of “post-SFD depression” (readjusting to normal boring life). It’s important to take notes of things that strike our minds during the event. Not all people will publish with the same intensity, some will actually get articles out within a couple weeks, others may take weeks or months before having found the right words or inspiration.
There is a comprehensive panel of presenting companies for this Storage Field Day:
- Western Digital
- And.. Secret Company
It’s been way too long since I covered Cohesity and I hope to listen interesting content. I’ve been meeting regularly with their fine folks and had the opportunity to appreciate their progress in terms of features, but never to the point that I would write a comprehensive post. My last coverage is fairly old and was mainly about Cohesity’s rise as a secondary storage leader, then their integration points with Pure Storage via Cohesity FlashProtect.
My last encounter with Datera was at SFD10 in May 2016. Unfortunately for me at the time, the Datera session happened during one of those “I’m jetlagged to death and I don’t understand what’s going around” moments. While I can remember some of the demo moments (with a very heavy focus on their APIs), I can hardly remember what was the intent and reason why customers should adopt Datera – perhaps also a sign of my lack of understanding at the time. It should also be said that we’ll be meeting them in February 2019, which is a positive sign of longevity. Looking at their website it also seems that the messaging is quite different now (compared to then), so very very much curious to hear about them.
I hope to be surprised positively by NetApp at SFD18 and am curious about what they will be presenting and/or if there are any new significant announcements since then. Since I attended TFD Extra at NetApp Insight in Las Vegas (Oct 2018), I was able to cover a bit the topics of NetApp Data Fabric, as well as MAX Data. I hope to get a (too) long due article on NetApp HCI out in the following week as well.
I’ve never heard about StorPool. They are offering a Software-Defined Storage solution that apparently supports VMware, Hyper-V and KVM, and where pricing is based on capacity. It will be interesting to understand the architecture of this solution as well as what are their target customers.
Now that’s one of the major interests of the event. Lately, my focus is gradually shifting away from virtualization and towards High Performance Computing, and Weka.io has been showing up on the radar more than once. The only solution I can think of that would eventually get close to Weka.io is E8 Storage, another Israeli storage startup that I covered at SFD14.
It’s been a long while since I last heard about Western Digital. To be exact, it was at SFD11 (October 2016) and at the time what was covered was an HGST Object Storage solution. Since then, Western Digital acquired Tegile. It’s hard to predict what they will cover. They could talk about their ActiveScale storage series, but also about their NVMe IntelliFlash (ex Tegile) storage array. Or come up with a new product.
Nothing much to say here, except I just hope to not be disappointed. What company could that be? No idea, but I would like it to be Nebulon, a company that does “Cloud-Defined Storage”. Sound pretty.. cloudy, right? But hey, there’s storage in the name. Let’s see what the surprise will be!
It’s been a while since I attend a “full event” Storage Field Day. I’m excited and at the same time I hope I will be able to cope with the load & the fatigue, as the event will surely be intense from a timing perspective. I went through the last Tech Field Day Extra at Cisco Live in a rather chaotic way. Not that I was screaming and giggling during the presentations, but I had to handle a cold, and some severe lack of sleep (bad mattresses / back pain) and at the end it cost me some attention (plus a full weekend to return to seemingly normal. I will be cautious until then and hope to survive it without any trauma.
Talking about intensity, I hope the presentations will be intense too, in the good sense of the word : great content, great speakers, great interactions. I may follow up on each presenting company in the coming days, until then stay tuned.
This post is a part of my Storage Field Day 18 post series. I am invited to the event by Gestalt IT. Gestalt IT will cover expenses related to the events travel, accommodation and food during the event duration. I will not receive any compensation for participation in this event, and I am also not obliged to blog or produce any kind of content. Any tweets, blog articles or any other form of content I may produce are the exclusive product of my interest in technology and my will to share information with my peers. I will commit to share only my own point of view and analysis of the products and technologies I will be seeing/listening about during this event.