Tom Petrocelli's take on technology. Tom is the author of the book "Data Protection and Information Lifecycle Management" and a natural technology curmudgeon. This blog represents only my own views and not those of my employer, Enterprise Strategy Group. Frankly, mine are more amusing.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

SNW, a Lovely Time of Year

It is that time of year again. Geese are flying south, the leaves are turning colors, and herds of "storage people" have gone to Storage Networking World. This year's show was not like other SNWs for me. For the first time, I was there as a vendor (someone trying to sell something to someone else) but also as a consumer. Since the company I work for (the wonderful buys data center equipment including storage, I had a different mindset. Boy, did that change the way I looked at the show.

On a positive note, the show appeared well attended. My talk was on the last day at 8:30am, the trade show equivalent of the grave yard shift. In the past, that severely limited my audience size to say the least. Not this year! Instead, I had a full, practically overflowing, room. That's great because it tells me that people are attending the show for the right reasons. It's no longer a junket. It's a real learning experience. This puts pressure on speakers. If people are serious about the sessions, you can't throw together a talk at the last minute. That's an excellent turn of events. Nothing vendors like better than attendees that are there for serious reasons and not just trick-or-treating at the expo booths.

In terms of what was being offered from a product perspective, there was little earth shattering. There was a bunch of noise about Fibre Channel over Ethernet, which I don't really get. I don't mean I don't get it technically. I just don't get why anyone would care. People who want to install Ethernet SANs are happy with iSCSI. Those who need more than iSCSI can deliver are willing to go with real Fibre Channel. FCoE looks a like someone is trying to slice the baloney too thin and find a middle path between the two. Okay. I still don't get it.

There was a lot of marketing around XAM. It didn't appear like a lot of people cared too much about that either. I'm guessing that it is more important to other vendors than IT people. What that boils down to is that the people actually attending the show (IT people) won't care much about it past the cute buttons being handed out. the XAM marketing looks like navel gazing to me.

Other than that, there was still too many array vendors, ILM has all but disappeared, and there were a lot of storage management vendors selling tools that should be bundled in the first place. In other words, not much has changed since last year.

In an interesting aside, while at the ARMA conference the week before SNW I noticed something strange. ARMA is all about records management and there was a lot said about ILM, especially mapping ILM to records management processes and terminology. It struck me as unusual that the records management folks still seem to care about ILM and the storage folks (who started the ILM train rolling) don't. Odd!

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