There was some foreshadowing of things to come as my departure to Lost Wages was delayed an hour and a half. Then, the line to get a taxi was about two football fields long. Hmm, waiting, many people, queuing in long lines.
Come Monday morning, I headed down to register and low and behold, the taxi stand line had followed me over to the hotel and every one of them (and their friends and neighbors) were standing in front of me in a long line that seemed to go on forever. Indeed, EMC calls this "EMC World" because the world decided to come this year. However, unlike the taxi line, this one moved along at a steady pace and in good order I had my badge, obligatory back pack and was off for some breakfast. Yeap, you guessed it. There was another large crowd moving that way, but we all managed to get fed and out to the breakout sessions in good time.
At the keynote session with Joe Tucci and Pat Gelsinger, the line to get into the auditorium was massive. Here's me with 13,000 plus of my closest friends.
Now, the theme for this year is Transformation, and the mascot (you can just see in the background sign in the above picture) is this somewhat sinister character whose head has a cloud emerging on one side and a Medusa like nest of RJ-45 cable snakes emerging from the other. In fact, during Joe's talk, he took an impromptu poll for how many thought the mascot was "disturbing" and hands of half the room went up. Transformation can be unsettling, and I guess this unsettling mascot reinforces that message.
Of course, there are a lot of breakouts about Big Data and how EMC is providing the tools you need to collect, analyze and maintain it. One example Pat reviewed was a retail shopping experince based on Jeremy Burton, VP of Marketing, being a really connected customer. It was at that point I realized my ID badge had the word "grey" at the bottom, driving home the point the EMC knows far too much about me already ;-)
The breakout sessions I attended so far have provided a good update on EMC products: VMAX, VNX, VPLEX, Isilon. And there have been some good sessions on FC, FCoE and iSCSI provided by David Black and Erik Smith. The comment by David that I want to echo went something like this, "Remember that the first two letters of FCoE are FC and that means it's just another flavor of Fiber Channel that happens to run over Ethernet." Yes, that's exactly right. And as Erik commented, you can use FCoE where you want, but you don't have to think "rip and replace" your Fibre Channel. Yes, that's correct as well. But, neither of them answered my number 1 question, "What is it that you need to do that Fibre Channel can't do, but FCoE can?" That's the one that should provide guidance about when its time to deploy your first FCoE project.
I found Kaushik Ghosh's presentation on the differences between scale-up (VMAX) vs. scale-out (Isilon) very informative and very logical. I recommend this presentation if you are trying to understand which provides the best value. As always, it depends on the application's requirements, but Kaushik's tools for understanding how to make the decision were very well thought out.
Monday evening was the catered eats and drinks in the exhibit hall. Once again, I bumped into quite a few folks I've worked with over the years who are now working for other companies as well as customers I've chatted with over the years. Despite the 13,000 plus attendees, isn't it funny how you are able to bump into folks you know?
One very interesting exhibit on display is The King Center Imaging Project which is funded by JPMorgan Chase & Co. Its a digital archive of images of over one million Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr artifacts. One in particular caught my eye, which was his transcript from seminary school at A. B. Morehouse College from 1948. What jumped out were his grades in public speaking. He got "C"s. Yet, he is credited as being one of the most eloquent orators of the 20th century. Somehow, seeing an image of this transcript was very compelling. And, this project really puts a human face on the intrinsic value of Big Data while underscoring why preserving digital images of the past are an important investment.