CSI-Pune’s ILM Seminar – A Report

CSI-Pune conducted a half-day workshop on Information Life-cycle management. T.M. Ravi, founder and CEO of Mimosa Systems gave the keynote presentation. There were product/project pitches from IBM, Zmanda, Coriolis. A talk on storage trends by Abhinav Jawadekar. Finally a panel discussion with representation from Symantec (V. Ganesh), BMC (Bladelogic; Monish Darda), Zmanda (K K George), IBM, Symphony (Surya Narayanan), and nFactorial (Hemant Joshi).

Here are my cryptic notes from the conference:

  • T.M. Ravi, CEO of Mimosa, gave talk on what he sees as challenges in storage/ILM. New requirements coming from the customers – Huge amounts of user-generated unstructured data in enterprises. Must manage it properly for legal, security and business reasons. Interesting new trends coming from the technology side – new/cheap disks. De-duplication. Storage intensive apps (eg. video). Flash storage. Green storage (i.e. energy conscious storage). SaaS and storage in the cloud (e.g. Amazon S3). Based on this, storage software should focus on these things: 1. Increase Information content of data 2. Improve security. 3. Reduce legal risk. Now he segues into a pitch for Mimosa’s products. i.e. You must have an enterprise-wide archive: 1. continuous capture (i.e. store all versions of the data). 2. Full text indexing of all the content and allow users to search by keyword. 3. Single instance storage (SIS) aka De-duplication, to reduce the storage requirements. 4. Retention policies. Mimosa is an archiving appliance that can be used for 1. ediscovery, 2. recovery, 3. end-user searches, 4. storage cost reduction.
  • Then there was a presentation from IBM on General Parallel File System (GPFS). Parallel, highly available distributed file system. I did not really understand how this is significantly different from all the other such products already out there. Also, I am not sure what part of this work is being done in Pune. Caching of files over WAN in GPFS (to improve performance when it is being accessed from a remote location) is being developed here (Ujjwal Lanjewar).
  • There was also a presentation on the SAN simulator tool. This is something that allows you to simulate a storage area network, including switches and disk arrays. It has been open-sourced and can be downloaded here. A lot of the work for this tool happens in Pune (Pallavi Galgali).
  • KKG from Zmanda demonstrating recovery manager for MySQL. This whole product has been architected and developed in Pune
  • Bernali from Coriolis demonstrated CoLaMa – a virtual machine lifecycle manager a virtual machine lifecycle manager. This is essentially CVS for virtual machine images. A version management software to keep track of all your VM images. Check out image. Work on it. Check it in. A new version gets stored in the repository. And it only stores the differences between the image – so space savings. It auto-extracts info like OS info, patchlevel etc.
  • Coriolis’ was the only live demo. The others were flash demos which looked lame (and had audio problems). Suggestion to all – if you are going to give a flash demo, at least turn off the audio and do the talking yourself. This would involve the audience much better.
  • Abhinav Jawadekar gave nice introductory talk on the various interesting technologies and trends in storage. It would have been very useful and helpful for someone new to the field. However, in this case, I think it was wasted on audience most of who’ve been doing this for 5+ years. The only new stuff was in the last few slides that were about energy aware storage (aka green storage). (For example, he pointed out that data-center class storage in Pune is very expensive due to the high storage costs – due to power, cooling, UPS, genset, the operating costs of a 42U rack are $800 to $900 per month.)
  • The panel discussion touched upon a number of topics, not all of them interesting. I did not really capture notes of that.

Overall, it was an interesting evening. With about 50 people attending, the turnout was a little lower than I expected. I’m not sure what needs to be done in Pune to get people to attend. If you have suggestions, let me know. If you are interested in getting in touch with any of the people mentioned above, let me know, and I can connect you.