After four days of talks on virtualization, Green Storage, iSCSI, SRM, XAM and many other secret code acronyms, thousands of blood shot eyed and haggard looking storage professionals are going home.  What will they retain from this event?  Well virtualization is “tough”…..iSCSI is happening… clustered storage is popular in quite a few verticals….and storage management virtual or real remains complex.  The end-users at SNW (do not snicker….there are some) are complaining about interoperability and that theme has remains constant throughout the years….there is a huge opportunity here and the concept of storage virtualization is often tied to interop but the industry is not there yet.
For end users looking for a versatile hardware platform to use for either NAS or Unified Storage, Intel has introduced the Intel Storage Server SSR212MC2 with support for Windows Storage Server 2003 R2 and Windows Unified Storage Server.  This 2U unit with support for dual and quad core Xeon processors can offer 9TB of native storage capacity and it is also expandable.  It is a solid platform that is a perfect complement to Windows based storage products.  This very cost-effective platform will bring great flexibility to end-users as the same hardware can be deployed as an iSCSI target, a NAS appliance, of a Unified Storage device….talk about minimizing your learning curve or minimizing interoperability issues!
For the smaller business users, Iomega introduced this week the Iomega StorCenter Pro NAS 450r running Windows Storage Server 2003 R2.  This new 1U rack-mount network attached storage device offers easy-to-use high performance storage to protect, manage and share critical information for remote offices, small businesses and workgroups.  Iomega bundles backup software from CA and EMC with this device removing all “excuses” to not do backup….this is something that many businesses still don’t do well or at all today.
All in all it has been an interesting event with a multitude of opinions, discussions, good advices…some golf, lots of standing up (killer for the feet) and very little fine dining.  San Diego is surprisingly light in fine dining establishments….a good thing that many storage professionals are not known as gourmand but more as “brainiacs”.  I heard a by-stander in the hotel calling the human mass moving around the hotel facilities as the “geek fleet”…The feet has gone home and the work on solving key problems highlighted at the event continues.  Smart storage vendors should capitalize on these pain points.
Claude Lorenson