Deduplication, Dancing Robot Steal Storage Show

Reporter's Notebook: Storage Networking World draws a large crowd and showcases three trends: deduplication, virtualization and iSCSI versus Fibre Channel-a battle that is heating up in the midtier market.

ORLANDO, Fla.—A wise-guy robot from Xiotech personally greeted many of the 1,200 visitors to the show floor at the Storage Networking World conference here this week.

"Hi there," the blue-eyed robot said to a reporter who walked up to take a closer look. "Hey, yourself," the reporter said. "Youve got some pretty big blue eyes there, partner."

"Thank you. Youre not so bad yourself," the robot replied, with a virtual electronic wink in his cartoonlike voice.

The robot wanted no lulls in the conversation.

"Hey, want to watch me dance?" he said, and then proceeded to shake, rattle and roll to Sir Mix-A-Lots "I Like Big Butts," which the robot played out of a couple of speakers located somewhere on itself.

Hello, Central Florida, hello.

This might have been the data storage industrys biggest and most impressive conference and exposition of the year. The five-day event at the JW Marriott Grande Lakes resort and Ritz Carlton Convention Center featured 170 speakers, 130 educational sessions, dozens of vendors and about 1,200 IT professionals who came from around the nation to get the latest scoops on storage technology.


"Were here to see whats out there, as far as new products and methodologies, so we can make some [major] upgrades in our system," said Peter Trudell, an IT administrator with the state of New York.

Improving efficiencies was another reason conference-goers came.

"We have a pretty old system thats got a little of everything in it, but most of its not coordinated and not very efficient," said Vera Gibbs, data center manager with the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, which operates the Hubble Space Telescope project.

"We want to keep up-to-date about how to do what we do—the data center and archiving—better," Gibbs said.

Clear Trends in the Conversation

Some clear messages emerged from the show during the last two days:

  • Deduplication, thanks to data infrastructure giant EMCs acquisition of Irvine, Calif.-based Avamar on Oct. 31, is now the hottest new technology at the moment.

/zimages/6/28571.gifClick here to read more about EMCs purchase of Avamar.

Data deduplication eliminates redundant data throughout the storage network and adds a high level of efficiency and cost-effectiveness within the network. It is also known as record linkage.

"Deduplication" refers to the task of finding entries that refer to the same entity in two or more files. Record linkage is an appropriate technique when joining data sets that do not have a unique database key in common.

"We already have 15 of the Fortune 50 companies as customers," Avamar founder and Chairman Jed Yueh told eWEEK, "but since the announcement, almost all the other Fortune 50 companies have called me wanting to know more about what we do."

EMC will help Yueh field all those calls now.

  • The battle heats up: iSCSI versus Fibre Channel gateways. Adoption rates are still on the slow side at this point, but many vendors are now solidly behind iSCSI, and midtier businesses are getting the message that this may be the future in data storage.

Smaller businesses are also finding out that spinning-disk-based storage is now generally cheaper than a year ago and that the capacities and feature sets have blossomed into attractive product packages at many major vendors.

  • Virtualization continues to filter into systems at all levels. Storage virtualization is a logical view and control of physical storage systems. Enterprise-class virtualization offers high levels of redundancy and advanced data management features, including snapshots and remote mirroring.

There were also plenty of new-product announcements at the conference, as always. In fact, there probably will be a period of new-product quiet for a while following the show.

eWEEK will follow up with a detailed roundup of announcements made at Storage Networking World.

/zimages/6/28571.gifCheck out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, reviews and analysis on enterprise and small business storage hardware and software.

Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor-in-Chief of eWEEK and responsible for all the publication's coverage. In his 13 years and more than 4,000 articles at eWEEK, he has distinguished himself in reporting...