As SNW Approaches, time to reflect...
Next week marks the annual pilgrimage for many to the SNW Fall conference. The agenda is full. The press and analyst list is even fuller still. Early rumblings are that it will again stir up the passions that many of us live each and every day in the storage industry.
"Where's the best place to dedupe data?" "Tape is dead, long live disk." "FCoE is here, really it is, we're not kidding." "Cloud is coming, is here, is in use for storage." "Lower your TCO." "Increase your ROI." "Shrink your backup windows." "Utilize more disk." "Become more efficient."
And that's just the tip of the iceberg.
Much has been written over the past few years about SNW's relevancy, including here on our own blog. SNW has been lauded for the testing and interoperability work done by SNIA and others, for its focus on the customer and as a launch pad for many of the industry's more interesting developments (FCoE, Aperi, Best Practices in Storage Awards, among others). On the flip side, many pundits claim few customers actually attend and even fewer in the reseller community that serve the storage end user. It has even spawned a counter movement earlier in this year with the first annual Business Development Networking Event in Boston where some billed it as the "Anti-SNW." The coordinators are now heading west, with an appearance in Palo Alto in late January, 2010.
Regardless of what happens and who has what to say about SNW, it got me to thinking, in a reflective sort of way. What has come and gone over the past few years that may make you flip through your SNW yearbook and think, I wonder what's up with that now?
-Byte and Switch: For years, the number one place to turn to the "ins" and the "outs" of the storage industry. Recently relaunched under the Network Computing umbrella. Mike Fratto and team are working hard to make the new site as relevant to the storage industry as possible. However, gone are the hilarious headlines and lengthy discussion threads. And, gone are the prose of Mary Jander, Dave Raffo, James Rogers, Jo Maitland and Todd Spangler to name a few.
-TechTarget Industry Quizzes: Okay, maybe not gone as you can still access the library, but nothing new since 2008. I personally miss those email newsletters with the latest "test your knowledge" on the storage industry. If for no other reason than to send to colleagues and say, "care to wager?"
-The annual Haiku Contest: Each year, Mike Karp, then of EMA and writer of the Storage in the Enterprise Newsletter for NetworkWorld, would issue his annual Haiku contest. Readers were asked for their best storage related haiku. And, he'd get enough submissions to create two topics. Some of the runners up were as good, if not better than the winners. Imagine if Twitter were around then!
-Breaking news: Nothing beats a beat. And, for many years, those of us working in storage had the reporter personalities to match the beats they were assigned. I fondly recall talking to one beat reporter when he came on board at eWEEK years ago and he was "limited" to cover a few companies. He said, tell me why the company you work with (by the way, which had been doing nothing but selling storage products and services for 30 years to the tune of $2BN+ in revenue for a number of years) merited as much attention as the latest CDP startup or better yet Cisco or Microsoft which were launching storage initiatives. While many of these same personalities have taken different roles in the industry (Deni Connor formerly solely at NetworkWorld now principal at SSG-Now; James Rogers formerly at Byte and Switch now at TheStreet.com, Tim Stammers formerly at Computerwire now at Ovum, etc.), the breaking news story doesn't have the same feel to it. Thankfully, Dave Raffo, Beth Pariseau at TechTarget/SearchStorage, Chris Mellor at The Register, Lucas Mearian at Computerworld, Chris Preimesberger at eWEEK and Joe Kovar at CRN still carry the baton.
So as the build up continues to next week's SNW, it will be interesting to see how the conversations within the industry evolve and how the channels open to conversations do as well. Who knows, maybe Dave Vellante and the folks at the Wikibon were ahead of their time with the Tweet Suite!