As I sit in the Airport in Fabulous Las Vegas, I am reminiscent of the journey I took (albeit not all the way to my private cloud) over the last 5 days. One of the most compelling talks I heard was Capt. Jerry Linenger (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jerry_M._Linenger) telling about his experiences on the MIR space station and the three phases that his life has been divided into. Some of the key takeaways were that teamwork, dedication, and hard work are critical to the success of all of our space exploration, and these lessons can be applied to all of our lives in many situations. The goal in this situation was clearly to show how each of us TC’s could/should work together to drive success. I got the message loud and clear. Not only did that come across in a very powerful way, but his personal appeal to not let a day pass without telling those that you love and that you care about how important they are and how proud you are of them. Never have I been so touched by a story of personal struggle as Capt. Linenger’s and I hope to never forget those lessons I learned on Thursday evening.
The rest of the conference had a powerful effect on me as well and really showed me how EMC is dedicated to delivery world class products, with world class people. I am among a group of incredibly talented individuals that strive every day to do the right thing for our clients, prospects, partners, and vendors. I feel very lucky to be a part of this team, and in my many conversations with my direct peers in Texas, highlighted how glad I am to work with peers that challenge me to do my job better everyday.
Now onto the tech side of the conference. I learned a lot, saw a lot, asked a lot, and enjoyed a lot (too much some nights). EMC Networker 7.6.2 (Or 7.6 SP2) has brought support for all of the latest applications including VMware 4.1 and the VADP APIs and Microsoft’s latest iterations of Exchange and SQL. With the release of the Networker Module for Microsoft (NMM) 2.3, we are now able to push the boost technology all the way to the application server. This means deduplication AT the client with Networker and Data Domain, and allows the applications to stream their backups directly to the DD appliance without the need for a storage node. Impressive and compelling.
Avamar v6.0 with Gen 4 hardware has brought some fantastic new features including granular level recovery for both Exchange and SharePoint, integration with Data Domain appliances for the Microsoft and Oracle application stacks (not filesystem yet), and continued tight integration with Networker. On the VMware side, the already fantastic Change Block Tracking (CBT) for backups has now been improved to include functionality for CBT restores too. This means less traffic, faster restores, and better performance overall. Finally, the Data Domain line continues to be a swiss-army knife of purpose built backup and nearline archive storage. With all of these tools in my arsenal, I need only imagination to deploy an architecture that will meet nearly any need.
Some of the other highlights of the conference included the exclusive Social City blogger’s corner that you saw a lot of content on my live-blog come from. Helpful staff, engaging interviews, and comfy couches combined to create a great place to get away from the hustle and bustle of the conference. Throw in free cappuccino’s and granola bars and I was in heaven.
Despite my best intentions, I never made it over to visit with my friend the vTexan at the vLabs, but great feedback was heard all over the conference floors. I did make it into the BRS labs and got to brush up on Networker, Avamar, and Data Domain as well as walk through some of the new functionality and use it first hand. These folks delivered a great lab experience and even today, early in the morning, after a long night were there going strong helping us out.
I attended many breakouts, but the Networker sessions were the stars in my eyes. Mark does a great job of providing an overview of the product and the time he took to outline the migration strategy was a big winner with the audience. The very well attended DPA, VMware, and Avamar integration breakout also opened the eyes to a lot of our current customers to show just how tight we can integrate with VMware. The general sessions and keynotes were all blockbuster hits (keeping with the theme) and it is always exciting to hear our executives outline our strategies for succeeding in the coming year.
To prove how much I learned, I took advantage of the EMC Proven onsite Pearson lab. I managed to pass a couple of exams, and found out what I need to get up to speed on for the future.
Finally there was the fun, and it was not in short supply. Chad entertained us with a live Chad’s World and Happy Hour and demonstrated the ease and simplicity of our VPLEX and Isilon lines including geo-vMotion (Yes…vMotion across geographies!) He even expanded an Isilon array LIVE onstage and then started spinning up VMware workloads as we sipped Molsen Canadien. Of course the nightclub event at Pure sponsored by Brocade gave us a real view of the Vegas nightlife. I did hit the tables a few times, and after a lot of coaching, think I finally have craps down well enough to not look like a bonehead. I got to have dinner with partners, dinner with clients, and dinner with peers. I networked my booty off, and can’t wait to get back to the office and start leveraging all of my new resources.
Looking back, I’m pretty bummed this is all over, but I am excited about what is coming up next for me and EMC. For those that were there, hope you enjoyed it as much as I did. For those that couldn’t make it, I hope the live blogging gave you some insight into what was going on day to day. Can’t wait to do it all over again next year!