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Bill Roth, Ulitzer Editor-at-Large

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Impressions from OpenStorage Summit 2011

Most readers of this blog already know that last week’s OSS11 was a tremendous success.  Here’s a couple of things that jumped out at me at OSS11:

1.  Be careful what you wish for. A late spike in registrations made us pretty nervous.  100 more people registered than we officially had room for.  The rooms were crowded but not unsafe.  Many of us spent the show in meetings and on the small show floor instead of in the sessions which helped make room for other attendees.

2.  Distance isn’t dead. I love IT and the internet and free communications.  We rely on it heavily.  However, these shows / summits thrive because there is nothing as efficient as getting hundreds of people you ‘d like to chat with in one place.  Nexenta team work in particular seemed to thrive at the show.  With that in mind, we’re going to pull all Nexentians that do not need a visa into one place in January; those that are grounded thanks to visa complexities, I’m going to go visit.

3.  The world isn’t flat. The world’s a lot smaller than it was, sure.  However, our vision is to be globally local.  That’s part of our secret sauce.  There are real challenges, though, to being global:  first, we have to recognize that we’re different. Americans are a minority of our employees and of our customers.  Secondly, we have to be able to shift quickly for example from chatting with another American to discussing partnerships with our most important virtualization partner in Japan (they attended OSS11); at least for me, that shift is a lot of fun but also intensely challenging.  Third, we have to understand that we are missing as much as we are receiving when we partner with customers and resellers around the world; humility does not come easily for many US start-ups or just many Americans for that matter, and yet IMHO being humble is a fundamental success factor to growing globally.  And fourth, we have to hire locally; language skills are not enough, we require team members that can automatically pick up the high bandwidth signals that even Americans with lots of experience outside of the United States will miss.

4.  Legacy storage cannot keep up. The legacy storage providers are, by all accounts, well run, high performing companies.  So how is it that we’re able to out innovate them?  I think it is as simple as the weight of their business models.  By focusing only on software we’re able to sprint ahead into new, related use cases.  We’ve just announced a new companion product, called NexentaVDI, that none of the legacy vendors could deliver in part because it is a software-only solution; it runs on ESX to enable massively faster and better optimized VDI desktop deployments.  We’ll be sharing more news about this product soon, in the meantime you can see the announcement here.   In addition to better addressing use cases with new software, we’re also sprinting ahead with support for tomorrow’s hardware.  And tomorrow’s storage hardware will revolutionize the storage business.  At OSS11 I made the prediction that next year we’ll see a Nexenta partner selling a solution pulling 1,000,000 IOPS and that we will see Nexenta partners selling 2PB racks of storage.  I’ll bet anyone $1,000 that the 2PB rack will be a reality; you can buy a fully certified 1PB rack from Aberdeen today (please do: click here :)).  And we have systems in the labs now that are capable of pulling 1 million IOPS.  Please note that customers that buy NexentaStor will be able to upgrade their hardware to be able to achieve that performance simply by moving over their existing licenses.

What did I miss?  What did you like best about OSS11?  What didn’t work as well as you’d like (other than the bane of all conferences, hotel wi-fi)?

Anyone want to bet me $1,000?  I’d be happy to pay it just to get some good comments to this blog!

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More Stories By Bill Roth

Bill Roth is a Silicon Valley veteran with over 20 years in the industry. He has played numerous product marketing, product management and engineering roles at companies like BEA, Sun, Morgan Stanley, and EBay Enterprise. He was recently named one of the World's 30 Most Influential Cloud Bloggers.