Software-Defined Storage in the Spotlight at VMworld 2013

This post was originally published to the Virtual Storage Guy Blog by Vaughn Stewart, Director of Technical Marketing, NetApp


With VMworld 2013 a week away, the NetApp team is putting the finishing touches on what we expect will be another fantastic IT industry conference. While there will be a slew of new and innovative technologies to discuss, I anticipate the bulk of the conversations will fall into three primary categories:


  • Enabling hybrid cloud architectures
  • Advancing end-user computing
  • The emergence of software-defined datacenters (SDDCs)


I am preparing for the majority of my conversations to revolve around SDDC, or more specifically, I am preparing to discuss the advancement and potential of Software-Defined Storage (SDS) in support of an SDDC initiative. While some may view SDS as merely a marketing campaign and others as a set of technical advancements, I find the term SDS works rather well in categorizing a data management and data services delivery model strategy that NetApp, VMware, and other IT vendors embarked on years ago.


It should be noted that Software-Defined Storage lacks a standardized industry definition and set of technical specs. Surely VMworld will be the stage where VMware shares their SDS vision and product offerings. I imagine the VMware portfolio will include vSphere Replication, Storage DRS, Storage IO Control, Profile-Driven Storage, Virtual Flash, Distributed Storage, and their future Virtual Volumes architecture. Does this collection of technologies and products wholly define SDS?


There seem to be two dominant and conflicting schools of thought on the matter: Will the market view SDS as an architecture, designed to deliver IT agility through hardware abstraction, resource pooling and service polices that are consumed via APIs? Or will SDS be reduced to a set of technologies, enabling x86 servers to provide storage services comprised of a distributed set of local disks (or DAS)? Vendors like NetApp and EMC are engaging the former strategy, while a significant number of emerging storage start-ups believe more strongly in the latter.


Sufficed to say, the future of SDS is a contentious topic, and if you are attending VMworld 2013, I strongly encourage you to participate in the Software-Defined Storage conversation. Below is a list of just a few of the sessions that will cover SDS at the conference:

STO5638 – Best Practices with Software Defined Storage Wednesday, Aug 28, 4:00 (This is the update of the #1 and #2 rated sessions from VMworld 2011 & 2013)

Vaughn Stewart – Director of Technical Marketing, NetApp

Chad Sakac – EVP Cloud Computing, EMC


STO5339 – Implementing Software Defined Storage with SDDC to Deliver IT Agility to Apps & End-Users Wednesday, Aug 28, 11:30

Vaughn Stewart – Director of Technical Marketing, NetApp


STO5559 – The Future of Storage : A Panel Discussion (two sessions) Tuesday, Aug 27, 12:30 PM

Chuck Hollis – Moderator

Vaughn Stewart – Director of Technical Marketing, NetApp

Daniel Goodman – Chief Architect, Storage Integration, IBM

Varun Mehta – Founder and VP of Engineering, Nimble Storage

David Black – Distinguished Engineer, EMC

Som Sikdar – CTO, Violin Memory, Inc.


Thursday, Aug 29, 12:00 PM

Chuck Hollis – Moderator

Vaughn Stewart – Director of Technical Marketing, NetApp

Siamak Nazari – HP Fellow, HP

Eric Schott – Executive Director, Engineering Program Management, Dell

David Black – Distinguished Engineer, EMC

Dave Wright – CEO, SolidFire, Inc.


VSVC4569 – Ask the Expert vBloggers Tuesday, Aug 27, 11:00 AM

Duncan Epping – Principal Architect, VMware

William Lam – Staff Product Integration Architect, VMware R&D, VMware

Vaughn Stewart – Director of Technical Marketing, NetApp

Scott Lowe – Engineering Architect, VMware

Rick Scherer – Principal SE, EMC