About a month ago I was invited by Dell to make a quick trip down to Orlando to attend the Dell Storage Forum 2011 (e.g. twitter #dellsf11). Given that on Tuesday June 7th Minneapolis was having a heat wave with 100 degree (F) temperatures, it was actually cooler in Orlando.


Dell Storage Forum


Make no mistake however, there were plenty of technologies that were cool and being kept cool at the Hilton adjacent to Disney as Dell continues to expand their footprint into the hot data storage market. The event brought together three aspects of the Dell storage story which were the mergers of the recently acquired Compellent user group with the Dell Equallogic user group along with the rest of the Dell storage and data management lineup. While the limelight was focused on Compellent and Equalogic, the Dell disk Dudes (and Dudettes e.g. Gina Rosenthal aka twitter @gminks and Sheryl Koenigsberg aka twitter @storagediva ) have been involved with storage for many years in addition to the recent acquisitions.


During the event I was invited to tag along with Roger Lund (twitter @rogerlund) an IT customer of Dells and Ed Saipetch (twitter @edsai) an Dell partner to go talk with the Dell NAS dudes (aka Unified, clustered, grid, rain, big data, bulk, scale out NAS) team formerly known as Exanet. The team is mix of Dell, former Exanet and new members who have been relatively quietly enhancing their technology in addition to creating packaged solution bundles with other Dell products such as the FS7500 (coupled with EqualLogic). For those not familiar with Exanet, have a read here or hear and for those not familiar with scale out NAS (aka bulk, grid, clustered, big data, etc) have a read here.


There are lots of interesting things in the works or possible and the team that we spoke with are full of energy, ideas, support from management not to mention having some interesting technology tools to work with ranging from Ocarina (data footprint reduction aka DFR), Kace, Scalent, Powervault MD series, servers and micro servers, not to mention EqualLogic and Compellent among others including those from various partners.


NAS was not the only thing cool at the event, there was the Dell object storage solution (aka DX) based on Caringo CAS (Content Addressable Storage) OEM software technology that has been the Rx (prescription) for healthcare, medical and other archives. Keep in mind that Dell also earlier this year acquired Insight one that just happens to be involved with healthcare and medical data or information management.


Speaking of archives and objects there was also some activity this past week with Dell and Rainstor making an announcement of their joint solutions in addition. Speaking of making sure that data on Dell storage remains available, accessible and protected, preserved and served, there were also backup/restore as well as many other pieces of technology, services and solutions. There was also a good presence by Dell partners at the event including Brocade, Commvault, Quantum and Symantec among others.


Greg Schulz on the Cube at Dell Storage Forum 2011


Here is a link to a video from when I was a guest with hosts Cali Lewis and John McArthur on the Wikibon/Silicon Angle The Cube show while at the Dell Event. During the discussion we had some fun as well as discussed not to be scared of clouds and virtualization, however look before you leap, doing your homework to be prepared along with other themes in my new book Cloud and Virtual Data Storage Networking (CRC Press).


Speaking of Dell, I had a nice conversation with Michael Dell during the storage beers tweet up. Did we talk about SMB or SOHO NAS, SSD, tape, HHDD, Brocade, block vs. file vs. object, data footprint reduction, big backup vs. big data, clouds, 3PAR, Equallogic vs. Compellent, HP vs. EMC?


Nope, we talked about the Dallas Mavericks (who went on to win the NBA title for 2011), social media and other items. If you have never meet Michael Dell, he is one of the most relaxed, confident and approachable CEOs of any big or large company I have meet.


In addition to visiting with Michael Dell, I also had the pleasure of meeting many other great people from Dell, their partners and others face to face including many twitter tweeps. All in all it was a great day and a half trip down to the Dell event, look forward to seeing and hearing more from Dell in the future.


Oh, and for disclosure purposes, Dell covered my RT coach class airfare while I picked up my own hotel, airport transfers, parking and incidentals.

Thanks again to Gina Rosenthal for making it all happen!


Ok, nuff said for now.

Cheers gs