After eight years of making the semi-annual pilgrimage to Storage Networking World (SNW), the trip tends to become about routine. Make sure you register and reserve a hotel room in time. Book as many vendor and analyst meetings as possible and try to be at the right place at the right time so as not to throw your schedule into a tailspin. Oh yeah, try to cover all of the news.
Sometimes I need to tie a string around my finger to remember to eat.
There are a lot of trade-offs at trade shows. Face-time with storage vendors and analysts often usurps time that could be spent talking to end users.
I did manage to have a few interesting conversations with some of the SNW attendees in-between running to the press room and vendor briefings. When asked about new technologies like solid-state disks (SSDs) and Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE), 100% of those kind enough to indulge my curiosity responded in the same way: “I can see their benefits, but talk to me when they can help me with the problems I have now.”
So what are those problems? Backup windows, playing catch-up with unexpected capacity growth, grappling with ILM strategies and, the big one, figuring out how to support virtual servers as they multiply like rabbits.
The breakout sessions and tutorials at SNW are informative and covered all of the above issues to a degree, but they tend to be general their scope. The users seemed to need much more information and advice specific to their challenges.
I drop a business card on users once I’m done picking their brains and invite them to e-mail or call me any time they can’t get straight answers to their questions in the hopes that I can help. Given the frequency with which the InfoStor team talks to storage vendors, it only makes sense to ask these companies real-world questions from real-world users.
Consider this a virtual business card and an invitation to do the same. If a vendor tap dances around your questions, feel free to shoot them off to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll ask them for you and post the questions and responses in this blog.
The better the questions, the better the coverage. This way there are no trade-offs and I might even remember to eat breakfast.
posted by: Kevin Komiega