Let’s face it, there are a lot of things competing for the time that you allocate to keeping up with the storage industry (assuming you’ve got the time to allocate in the first place). Staying caught up on press releases, researching future trends, taking web-based training, and reading blog posts is time-consuming enough. Conferences and classes are a beast all their own. Travel time and expenses add up, and you need to make wise choices about the kind of technical events that are important to you and your business. So, what distinguishes a worthwhile event from one that maybe isn’t worth your time?
One aspect of a good technical conference is the ability to consolidate a lot of the activities above with the chance to talk directly to SMEs, content creators, and other folks who are in similar roles and industries. It’s a great opportunity to learn from their unique experiences and backgrounds. Fundamental to that learning experience is finding a conference that offers up a good breadth and depth of breakout sessions.
NetApp Insight 2017 was the 4th Insight conference I’ve attended. I was lucky enough to attend the first Insight that was opened to customers in 2013, and I have made sure to go every year since. Like most organizations, our IT infrastructure is in a state of constant change. Our customers are always bringing us new challenges, which means we spend a lot of time on updates to our environment. Insight 2017 was quite timely for me in that we were undertaking two major new projects: Hadoop and Oracle on VMware/ONTAP. I was able to get that “whole package” experience at Insight by not only finding sessions that were relevant to our projects, but also getting to follow up with the architects one-on-one later in the conference to really hammer out some details.
There were, of course, a few outstanding sessions that I attended. We had recently purchased new AFF A700 arrays, and Skip Shapiro’s optimization session on that very topic was invaluable. I was able to take his recommendations back and put them directly into practice in our environment. As part of our Hadoop environment, we were really trying to get a handle on whether something like NVMe would need to be brought to bear in that area. Jeff Baxter’s presentation on NVMe and Storage-Class Memory gave me the background I needed to make those decisions.
Although the final NetApp Insight 2018 session list hasn’t been released yet, I was lucky enough to have a “sneak peek” at some of the potential offerings via the voting process. From what I saw, it looks like there is a strong lineup again this year. Anyone looking at their next (or first) step into cloud integration will have many options along with any attendee who is really looking to get more value out of the data they manage. The Session and Technology Track information is already published here.
Don’t wait to start planning your trip to NetApp Insight 2018!