14 industry events where storage professionals collaborate & grow

By Eric Carter | | Hedvig

The best musicians will tell you, collaboration can lead to fantastic results – especially if the collaboration blends two seemingly disparate talents. Think Aerosmith and Run-DMC in Walk This Way, or David Bowie and Queen in Under Pressure. When you put different skill sets together you can achieve fantastic results. Storage professionals benefit from the same collaboration with folks from other disciplines. It’s now easier than ever.

Thanks to the exponential growth in data, storage is a topic that can be found at most major tech conferences. Now is the time to meet new people, learn new skills, and collaborate on innovative solutions. We thought it would be helpful to breakdown a list of our favorite events. We’ve categorized them as “traditional storage” (storage is the primary event theme) and “emerging technologies” (storage is track session or sub theme). Below are 14 event picks in alphabetical order for folks looking to build relationships and expand their skill sets.

Traditional Storage

Traditional storage is not so traditional anymore! Hyperconverged, hyperscale… object… flash… software-defined… there are still plenty of innovations happening in the core discipline of storage technologies. Here are some of our favorite events where storage pros can learn more:

  • EMC WorldOne of the largest events in storage, EMC World is relevant to not only EMC customers, but to anyone who cares about storage and related technology (backup, disaster recovery, etc.). The wide variety of workshops and technical sessions guarantee you’ll pick up technical skills, as well as gain an understanding of where storage fits in the broader picture.
  • Flash Memory Summit: The FMS is a great place to meet people who are pushing innovation in flash and solid state storage. Attendees can also hear from experts on persistent memory, containers and SSD testing, as well as attend tutorials about development, applications and testing.
  • International Conference on Massive Storage Systems and Technology: If you need a place to learn about building massive, exascale-class storage systems, the latest in mass storage technologies, and how to utilize open source technologies like OpenStack, Mirantis, and Akanda, this conference provides a great educational setting to do so. The panels and research presentations delve into a wide-range of topics including non-volatile memory, software-defined storage and flash.
  • TechTarget Storage Decisions: If practical guidance on new storage technologies is your bag, this conference is a useful place to meet industry luminaries and hear about the latest developments in cloud, hyperconverged storage, all-flash arrays, and software-defined storage (to name just a few subjects). As with all TechTarget events, this one is free for qualified storage experts.
  • SNIA Duo: SNIA has two very useful conferences for storage professionals: the Storage Developer Conference and the Data Storage Innovation Conference.
    • Storage Developer Conference: SDC is a cost-effective way to acquire training and skills through a series of tutorials, keynotes and specialty sessions. As a bonus, the co-located Data Storage Security Summit provides a forum to learn how to best secure your data center and hear use cases of security breaches and privacy topics.
    • Data Storage Innovation Conference: For professionals that are expected to support storage innovation as actual production solutions, DSI tackles a range of supplementary storage topics like big data, cloud storage, management and distributed systems.
  • USENIX Conference on File and Storage Technologies: This event brings together storage researchers and practitioners to discuss new design, implementation and deployment of storage systems. You can learn about new researched papers, work-in-progress reports, poster sessions and tutorials at this event.

Emerging Technologies

The most interesting places to learn about storage are not at storage events at all! Storage is now a big subtheme at most cloud and modern infrastructure events. If it’s happening in and around the data center, then it impacts storage. Here are our six favorite events where storage pros can bust out of the storage silo and mix it up with peer disciplines:

  • DockerCon: Containers and microservices are quickly becoming pivotal for storage technology. We expect this event to draw more and more storage professionals as the need for stateful container storage becomes greater in the near future. There is also a popular DockerCon Europe event for those on the other side of the pond.
  • Gartner Data Center, Infrastructure & Operations Management Conference: Billed as “the premier destination for I&O leaders around the world,” the agenda for this event is attendee-driven and is designed for professionals in IT Ops, servers, storage & backup, cloud, virtualization and networking roles. It also provides unparalleled access to Gartner analysts.
  • Hadoop Summit: This event is one of the leading conferences for the Apache Hadoop community. Data analytics platforms like Hadoop and NoSQL often manage their own locally attached storage, increasing operational burden and making Hadoop one of the most important use cases in emerging storage architectures. Storage professionals can expect to find great discussions around the merits of co-locating versus disaggregating big data storage from Hadoop compute clusters.
  • Modern Infrastructure Summit: IT and storage professionals interested in the many new technologies that are modernizing today’s data center will find this event to be a great opportunity to discuss cloud storage topics, as well as hyperconverged and hyperscale infrastructure. Best of all, it’s free to register for qualified storage professionals.
  • OpenStack: Storage professionals, especially those interested in cloud storage orchestration, will find this conference useful and educational. This event features case studies from some of the biggest enterprise companies who have undertaken cloud projects with OpenStack and related technologies. We expect this show will continue to grow as more and more enterprises move toward architecting production clouds to streamline IT operations and application rollout.
  • Software-Defined Infrastructure Summit: This event is the only event completely focused on the fast-emerging market of software-defined infrastructure. Many of tomorrow’s data centers will rely on software for management, governance and storage. This summit is the place to find out about these software solutions first-hand.
  • VMworldWe debated which category to put this one — “traditional” or “emerging?” If you’ve been to VMworld lately you know the expo hall is a big storage showcase. The bottom line? VMworld is an invaluable place to hear about business-critical technology including the latest with hybrid clouds, containers, software-based storage, and virtualized applications. With over 400 sessions and labs to choose from, attendees can expect to gain new knowledge and skills.

While traditional tech still holds sway in many IT environments, new, cutting-edge developments in containers, microservices, cloud, and software-defined everything are becoming undeniably prominent. To keep up with the latest developments you can’t do it alone! Pick one – or a few – of these events and you’ll be able to collaborate with colleagues and hear firsthand from experts on new developments that will fundamentally alter your job tomorrow, next month, and next year.

This list is by no means exhaustive. Let us know if there are events you think should have made this list in the comments below.