Storage is hot. In fact, Fortune Magazine's March 19, 2001, issue includes storage in a list of the ten top trends for this year. And apparently, IT professionals have gotten the message. They've started to take events, such as Storage Networking World , very seriously. Say goodbye to vendors speaking to vendors, and say hello to vendors speaking to IT professionals.
To be held April 9 to 11 in Palm Desert, California, Storage Networking World will have the usual array of vendors, EMC, StorageNetworks, IBM, Veritas, and BMC. Let's not forget newcomers, such as TrelliSoft, willing to spend from $20,000 to $50,000 to have a presence as a sponsor - gold, silver, whatever hue they pay for.
This show has several quirks. First of all, it's owned by Computerworld, which publishes a weekly IT book; and the Storage Networking Industry Associate, a trade group to promote storage interoperability standards. Second, each Storage Networking World event silently solicits a call for presentations via a Web link under Conference program. Heed the call.
Few are chosen unless you happen to be a customer of a vendor sponsor - gold, silver, etc. At this event in October, HighGround's customer, Credit Suisse, spoke about how he got control over dozens of servers that desperately needed spring-cleaning. Meanwhile, Tricord sponsored an IT professional from The Hill School, a private school in Pennsylvania. This dude devoted half of his talk to why IT professionals need to do more volunteer work. He's on the venue at the Palm Desert event. Pray he doesn't pass the plate this time! Can't this event find some fresh IT talent?
Don't look for Mike Ruettgers, CEO of EMC, as the keynote at this April event. You'll have to settle for Dan Warmenhoven, CEO for Network Appliance. As it turns out, Gary Bloom, Veritas' new CEO and the former number three man at Oracle, isn't ready for the storage speaking circuit. He's still learning the storage business and getting this company pumped to stake its claim as the largest software company in the world. Thank heavens, his former boss, Larry Ellison doesn't do storage, but is concentrating on how to move 80,000 tons of dirt to build his Woodside, California, version of Katsura Place in Kyoto.
Hot topics for the upcoming event include stuff close to the hearts of each vendor that's presenting. Cisco is pushing I-SCSI, while BMC has lots of storage resource management to uncover (SRM). Astrum Software has its point solutions cloaked around SRM. Don't forget the hot newcomers. BakBone Software has made backup software exciting. When it comes to network attached storage devices, think BlueArc, not Network Appliance.
The question is whether or not a high-level executive say from a company such as AT&T Solutions can share "the real-world challenges companies and IT managers are experiencing first hand." First-hand stuff has to come from you the IT professionals. So, submit your presentations, find a nice vendor to sponsor itself and then you, and perhaps you'll receive a free trip, and 15-minutes of storage fame.
A Venue That Wants Your Bode
Now, if you really want to kick some vendors' tires hard, then opt for Storage Area Networks 2001 Conference (www.santechexange.com), from June 5 to 7 at Crown Plaza Hotel's Parkside Hall in San Jose, California. Like Storage Network World, SAN 2001 has a glut of vendors on the agenda. But these folks have to do more than sing for their supper. They have to submit a paper that gets reviewed, and if accepted, will get published in a book of proceedings. Sounds academic? You bet. But the call for papers isn't just limited to vendors.
In fact, to encourage more IT professionals to participate, SAN 2001 will provide IT professionals with free admission provided they can prove they're a real, working professional IT professional. (Please don't be from The Hill School.) Contact email@example.com if you're interested. Tell Lance I sent you.
Elizabeth M. Ferrarini is a freelance author based in Arlington, Mass. Your Invited to reach this opinionated writer at firstname.lastname@example.org