Thoughts on Spring SNW 2012 in Dallas

Viking Technology NAND/DIMM SSD 32TB/1U demo box
Viking Technology NAND/DIMM SSD 32TB/1U demo box

[Updated photo] Well the big news today was the tornado activity in the Dallas area. When the tornado warnings were announced customers were stuck on the exhibit floor and couldn’t leave (which made all the vendors very happy). Meetings with vendors still went on but were held in windowless rooms and took some ingenuity to get to. I offered to meet in the basement but was told I couldn’t go down there.

As for technology at the show, I was pretty impressed with the Viking booth. They had a 512GB MLC NAND flash card placed in spare DIMM slots with MLC or SLC NAND flash storage in them which takes power from the DIMM slot and uses a separate SATA cabling to cable the SSD storage together. It could easily be connected to a MegaRAID card and RAIDed together. The cards are mainly sold to OEMs but they are looking to gain some channel partners willing to sell them directly to end users.

In addition to the MLC NAND/DIMM card, they had a demo box with just a whole bunch of DIMM slots, where they modified the DIMM connections to also support SATA interface through their mother board. They had on display 1U storage box with 32TB of MLC NAND/DIMM cards and a single power supply supporting 6 lanes of SAS connectivity to the storage. Wasn’t clear what they were trying to do with this other than stimulate thought and interest from OEMs. It was a very interesting demo

There a few major vendors including Fujitsu, HDS, HP, and Oracle exhibiting at the show with a slew of minor ones as well. But noticeable by their absence was Dell, EMC, IBM, and NetApp not to mention Brocade, Cisco and Emulex.

Someone noticed that a lot of the smaller SSD startups weren’t here as well, e.g., no PureStorage, NexGen, SolidFire, Whiptail etc. Even FusionIO with their bank of video streams was missing from the show. In times past, smaller startups would use SNWto get vendor and end-user customer attention. I suppose nowadays, they do this at VMworld, Oracle Openworld, Sapphire or other vertical specific conferences.

Marc Farley of StorSimple discussing cloud storage

In the SSD space there was Nimbus Data, TMS, Micron and OCZ where here showing off their latest technology. Also, there were a few standard bearers like FalconStor, Veeam, Sepaton, Ultrium and Qlogic were exhibiting as well. A couple of pure cloud players as well like RackSpace, StorSimple and a new player Symform.

Didn’t get to attend any technical sessions today but made the keynote last night which was pretty good. That talk was all about how the CIO has to start playing offense and getting ahead of where the business is heading rather than playing defense playing catchup to where the business needed to be before.

More on SNWusa tomorrow.