Last week I attended Interop in Las Vegas. Interop hass traditionally been a networking show. For Dell, our Networking group organized our participation at the show.
But this year, there was a definite storage presence (there was even a storage track). Some of the presentations were what you would expect from storage people….I was a little disappointed that the “What’s next in storage” seemed to focus on the speeds and feeds aspects of arrays. Why do we always go there as an industry? Yeah its cool that we have SSDs, cool we can make such big LUNs, but is that really our answer to what’s next in storage? And even if we are able to leap ahead and make the most amazing, fastest, most IOPS capable disk ever imagined, if we don’t have apps that can write the 1′s and 0′s to it efficiently who cares? Y’all (panel members) know I love you to death, but we have to start talking like storage is a part of the infrastructure ecosystem, not the center of the universe.
There were a couple of sessions on just that – converged infrastructure. Interestingly the best one I went to was in the networking track. The moderator asked the audience some great questions. He asked the audience what they thought the biggest impediment to getting to converged in their environments, the technology not being ready or organizational resistance. Pretty much every single hand went up for organizational resistance – another reason it is so important that we stop talking about speeds and feeds and start educating our stakeholders. The panel was also asked to talk to what sort of roles and skill sets are needed for a converged environment. The answers were interesting and all over the place. One panelist said people with virtualization experience are best suited, another said that we will still need specialists, and one finally talked about understanding applications. My guess is as technology keeps improving, we’ll continue to talk about convergence and its impact on IT environments and workers.
The other big thing at Interop was cloud. I was able to attend the Enterprise Cloud Summit. Day one was an overview of cloud platforms, hosted by Alistair Croll. Here are the presentations that I really liked:
- James Duncan gave a great presentation about why Moore’s Law hasn’t helped datacenters shrink (increased efficiency = increased usage). He explained how programming languages like node.js are better for today’s developers since it helps them do more with less.
- Daniel Retzer made me a little stabby with a presentation called “From devops to no-ops”. Even if every single company goes “to the cloud”, y’all better hope there are some kickass ops people running that equipment you are relying on. Making hardware and software and bandwidth “just be there” whenever you ask for it takes lots of coordination and skill. Don’t hate on ops people!
- Dave Roberts had a great presentation about making sure that people in your organization get to the right IT resources at the right time at the right cost. This access to info is a competitive advantage. Then he compared the way IT works now to bread lines in Soviet Russia. It was brilliant and I hope he shares the slides soon!
- There was a real use case of cloud to mobilize first responders after the Joplin MO tornadoes. I don’t know about everyone else, but that’s why I got into IT, and definitely why I’ve slid into a social media role. Using IT to do good things for the world.
Day two of the Enterprise Cloud Summit was about big data, and it was hosted by Jeremy Edberg. My take-aways from day 2:
- Every single presenter had a different definition of big data. Crazy sauce.
- Dave Cahill had a great presentation on the technical and business disconnect with regards to big data. He said it doesn’t matter how fast it can go, performance without efficiency isn’t sustainable. He said the adoption barriers to big data solutions are performance, capacity/IOPS imbalance, noisy neighor problem, scalability, time to market, capex, and opex.
- Margaret Dawson had a great presentation about distributed & decentralized models. Basically she reminded everyone that there are still servers, networks, and storage behind this mystical thing we call “the cloud”. She reminded us that we are living in a world of chaotic IT. She also has a wrap-up of what happened at Interop.
- Jeremy Edberg gave the most concise technical presentation about existing big data technologies that I have ever seen. And hopefully he is posting it on slideshare soon.
- MGM Resort’s Becky Wanta presented on the importance of data discovery to the hospitality and gaming industry. It is amazing how much information the resorts pick up based on your digital breadcrumbs – she even said its like having a conversation with you (anticipating your needs, wants, etc). Cool but sorta creepy.
- Dave McCrory presented on his data gravity theory. Basically his theory is that data has mass. Density = how active the data is (r/w’s). Mass = volume of data. Very interesting stuff, check out his blog for the details.
Those are the technical highlights for me. Interop is always a great show for talking to the leaders in our industry, so there was much socialization and I probably need to chew on some of those conversations before I share them. Looking for the next time we all can get together!