Got an opportunity to attend SNIA-DSI conference at Santa Clara, California. Like always, this time too, SNIA maintained its reputation of being a one-stop shop for vendor-neutral education for storage specialists, solutions from industry leaders.

The power packed agenda with separate simultaneous tracks on solid state storage, disaster recovery, storage management, networking and security promised interesting insights and the speakers made sure that the conference lived up to its promise of becoming a venue for demonstration of storage innovations, and storage networking.

One of the sessions which definitely deserves a mention is the one by Andrea Nelson from Intel. The session saw a packed hall and the speaker did not disappoint the attendees. It was very informative and extremely engaging. With Intel’s latest focus on helping vendors and partners provide more effective storage offerings, it was interesting to hear it from Andrea about new innovations from Intel to accelerate the move to software-defined storage. This was one of the ‘less-technical’ sessions at SNIA-DSI but offered a good insight into how the industry is moving towards SDS and how Intel is facilitating it through their hardware.

Cloud Storage seemed like the hot discussion items this year – quite a few sessions touched upon the topics like Hybrid Cloud, Private Storage Cloud and Cloud for Enterprise Storage Management. David Christel, in his informative session, described Federal’s journey of deploying private Storage Cloud. For anyone planning to implement Private Cloud, this session surely provided good insights. Apart from this one, the other sessions in the Cloud track did not impress me much.

As expected, Big Data was also one of the hot topics. John Webster presented an informative session on solving big data problems with optimal storage solutions. He touched upon JBOD and DAS Architecture, Disk-based alternatives and the solid-state and in-memory alternatives. With some real world examples, the session provided valuable information on this burning topic.  Rob Whitely’s session focused on elastic Software-Defined-Storage (SDS). He presented several capabilities of SDS – specifically for big data.

Jose Barreto, the Principal Program Manager at Microsoft presented what’s shipping with the storage components of Windows software defined storage solutions. It looks like Microsoft is leveraging its learning from Azure cloud deployments and getting those implemented in Windows Server software.

The Innovation Spotlight was a new introduction to the conference this year which offered an opportunity to storage innovators to present a brief overview of their innovation on main stage at DSI. It was good to see some really innovative services being demonstrated there.

In between such amazing sessions and visiting the exhibitor booths, I did catch up with old friends and made some new ones too. Overall, a very focused and well-organized conference.