Tech Field Day events bring together innovative IT product vendors and independent thought leaders to share information and opinions in a presentation and discussion format. Independent bloggers, freelance writers, and podcasters have a public presence that has immense influence on the ways that products and companies are perceived and by the general public.
The various editions of Tech Field Day have focused in the past on some specific issues, such as Storage, Networking and Wireless, by mixing independent bloggers and innovative companies, and the result has been a growing popularity for this format.
It was therefore a great pleasure come to know a few weeks ago, I was invited among the delegates who will attend the next Storage Field Day, scheduled for 24 to 26 April in Denver, Colorado. This list of guests and other delegates is really rich, so it envisages a very interesting trip.
You can read at this address the complete list of delegates, as well as companies . A couple of these are still in “stealth mode”, and will be announced at the event. How cool is that? I am not a storage expert, but I intend to take with me my experience as a Virtualization Architect and operator for a Cloud Service Provider, to see how the technologies that will be presented can be used in the fields where I work.
I wanted to spend a few words here about the various companies that will present at the event, sharing with you some of the information I collected about them.
CleverSafe Offer object storage solutions based on their Dispersed Storage technology. The solution seems very interesting for Cloud Service Providers and all those businesses that require large distributed storage.
Marvell We will see in particular the DragonFly division of Marvell, a manufacturer of PCIe flash cards. I have worked several times with Fusion-IO cards in particular, organizing a Hands On Day through the Italian VMUG, so I’m interested in understanding the value proposition of DragonFly, how do they differ from competitors (there are also Stec and Micron among the best-known names) and what features they offer with their products. I’m fascinated in particular by the fact that they mixed on the same board Flash memory and RAM , and I’m curious to discover the benefits that entails, and how they use this mix.
NetApp Well, what we need to say about NetApp? It’s one of the major “classic” storage vendors and years ago they revolutionized the market by integrating NAS features in their systems. The world is advancing, and NetApp (and other competitors) is attacked by new technologies made of Flash SAN, PCIe and new No-SAN paradigms. Few days ago they announced their new EF product entirely based on Flash, we’ll see if this product will be the focus of the meeting, or if there will be further news.
NexGen Produces a storage array that uses a mix of Flash Memory on PCIe bus and mechanical disks, with with automated tiering between the two levels. I’ve always been fascinated by the whole internal battle between new storage systems among those completely flash-based, and those that are also tiering using mechanical disks. Each of them of course promotes its technology, so I’m are curious to hear what they will tell. Ah, their storage is iSCSI only, and I like it, being it my favorite storage protocol.
PernixData Pernix guys exited from stealth mode less than a month ago, and have already made headlines, because their team is made up of former well known VMware engineers like Satyam Vaghani, one of the creators of the VMFS filesystem, and Poojan Kumar, one of the founders of Exadata. Their technology has already been renamed “Cache Area Network” because it promises to take valuable disk space by various ESXi servers (SSD and flash cards), and offer it to the same server as a cache, and replicate data across all servers in the network on which their product is installed. Duncan Epping has made an excellent presentation which you can read here.
SanDisk SanDisk brings to the event its FlashSoft product, a software solution that takes advantage of the SSD storage to reduce the latency of Windows, Linux and vSphere servers. I used this video to learn something about it, and it’s interesting the concept of software that you install directly on vSphere and is transparent to the system. I guess it does some data tiering, partly as Pernix does. I’ll try to find out more at the event, in particular how cache is managed during activities such as vMotion or HA Failover.
StarBoard Produces a hybrid storage, based on a mix of SSD and mechanical disks, and also offers NAS functionalities. As for NexGen, I’m interested to hear their value proposition.