Storage Expo 2007 preview

Organisations are facing unprecedented growth in data storage, with capacity requirements projected to increase by at least 50% a year in the medium term.

Organisations are facing unprecedented growth in data storage, with capacity requirements projected to increase by at least 50% a year in the medium term.

At this month's Storage Expo 2007 you can find out about all the technologies designed to help organisations cope with this data growth. The show features more than 100 storage suppliers and an extensive free education programme, with 62 experts speaking in the keynote conference and technical and business strategy seminars. The event enables organisations to compare products and services and assess how to incorporate the latest storage technology into their IT infrastructure.

At the keynote conference industry experts will look at the business advantages that sound application of storage strategy can deliver for an organisation.

Storage practice has traditionally been driven by the push of regulation, legislation, and business continuity rather than the pull of sound business practice. The impetus is changing from push to pull, with the emphasis increasingly on business efficiency, utilisation of intelligence, process management and productivity benefits. The keynotes at Storage Expo reflect this change in the data storage landscape.

Impact of Mifid on data storage

PJ Di Giammarino, chief executive at think-tank JWG-IT, and Phil Higgins, chief executive at networking provider Brookcourt, will participate in a keynote on how the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (Mifid) will affect data storage.

From 1 November, all UK financial firms will have to meet the requirements of the directive, in what is expected to be one of the largest compliance exercises the financial sector has seen in a decade. Mifid will govern all transactions from core investment businesses, as well as some activities of retail banks and other organisations that have financial transaction elements.

2007 is a significant year for compliance, and this session will explore the impact on companies of the latest swathe of regulations coming into force. Information to date indicates that many organisations are behind the adoption curve, with potentially catastrophic consequences for future trading operations. A survey by Storage Expo found that 70% of firms do not have the mechanisms in place to destroy regulatory-expired records.

According to Di Giammarino, Mifid introduces a fundamentally new requirement for record keeping, in which the financial institution is accountable for storing and retrieving both structured and unstructured data in the context in which it was created.

This moves the European Union towards a world where the financial institution is guilty until it can prove its innocence and the customer can, and will be encouraged to take the bank to task and prove that they are executing its business both effectively and efficiently across long periods, he said.

Life-cycle risk management

Bob Plumridge, director at the Storage Networking Industry Association, will tackle the issue of information lifecycle risk management at Storage Expo. His keynote will look at the cycle from creation to destruction of data, and the application and value of information as it moves through cycles of importance.

The changing nature of data equity comes with a corresponding risk profile, and data is especially vulnerable at certain phases in its lifecycle. This session will explore the nature and advantages of lifecycle management, and look at the vulnerability profiles and ways that information can be exploited and protected in the modern business.

Business continuity

Michael Faber, vice-chair at the Institute of Operational Risk, will chair a panel on business continuity data protection strategies. Long gone are the days when business continuity was synonymous with disaster recovery. Today's business continuity practitioners are using data storage and retrieval techniques that provide not just remedial cover, but solid state advantages for everyday data handling.

The implementation of business continuity practices can provide huge benefits for productivity, efficiency and governance - not just in the event of a disaster, but also in the day-to-day functioning of IT services. In this session, the techniques that can be employed to ensure that intellectual property is protected and available under all circumstances will be explored by a panel which includes Ian Wood, head of IT at the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust, Sagar Vadher, head of IT at Iwant­, and Najaab Ahmad, technical projects and support manager at Sunlight Service Group.

Business intelligence

John Abbott, chief analyst at The 451 Group, leads a panel that investigates how organisations can use storage to power business intelligence and process management.

Charles Curran, storage consultant at nuclear research lab Cern, and Jim Lewis from the Cambridge Astronomical Survey Unit will take part in this panel, which will debate whether business process management is about technology or people.

The greatest source of information for the efficient functioning of an organisation is organic - and by ensuring that data storage is effective, you can exploit this for business advantage. This session will explore the concepts of business intelligence and business process management, and look at the ways in which sound data storage can be used to ensure an organisation is utilising all of its data assets.

Governance and liability

Jon Collins, service director at analyst firm Freeform Dynamics, will discuss governance, liability and responsibility from the often overlooked perspective of getting rid of information.

Studies show that 66% of companies do not have processes in place to get rid of regulatory-expired information. The problem is that this data requires money to support, opens up potential for misuse and investigation, and without removal will continue to foul up storage facilities for an organisation.

The softest consequence of failure to control the archiving schedules for data is that it requires continued investment to support its existence the hardest consequence is that it demonstrates weak IT governance and lays an organisation open to prosecution or fines. Ensuring that data is stored, archived and destroyed in accordance with legislation and regulations is both a technological and a process-driven problem.

Jon Fell, partner at law firm Pinsent Masons, and Greg Gawthorpe, technical operations team leader at CMC Markets, will take part in this session to cast illumination on some of the techniques that can be employed, and the consequences of poor data death control.

Green IT

A survey of 335 companies by Storage Expo found that 95% of organisations are investing in IT infrastructure to reduce their carbon footprint. Green IT is an issue that everyone is discussing at the moment, with storage facilities and datacentres consuming vast amounts of power.

Computer Weekly editor Brian McKenna will pick the brains of experts from the largest data storage companies in the world for the keynote on why this trend is not sustainable, and how organisations are looking to reduce the footprint of their electronic activities.

Peta projects

Peta projects involve the global application and delivery of information. Scientific, financial, military, media and government organisations typically need to store vast amounts of data. Although the type and application of this data changes from organisation to organisation, handling huge amounts of data drives best practice - delivering efficiency, productivity and environmental returns.

James Hayes, editor of Information Professional Magazine, will reveal why these types of organisation provide an insight into storage on a grand scale and what practices can be employed by other organisations.

David Lipsey, IS infrastructure manager at Ordnance Survey, and Steve O'Donnell, global head of datacentres and customer experience management at BT, will pass on their experience of what is involved in working on peta projects that store data on a global scale, and discuss what issues have been overcome to ensure the effective control of this data.

Deal or No Deal

Deal or No Deal, the toughest challenge in data storage, returns to Storage Expo this year. It involves six companies - Acronis, Gresham Computing, Neverfail, Pillar Solutions, Promise, Quantum, Quest Software - being given three minutes each to pitch their product to a panel of experts, buyers and analysts, before facing a barrage of questions.

Intimidating, educational and interesting, this is the forum for companies that believe that their product is the best in the market. At the end of the keynote, the panel will give their judgment - and there will be only one company that emerges victorious.

VMware ESX

Dennis Zimmer's book on VMware ESX is a best seller in Germany, with a five-star rating on and more than 2,500 copies sold in six weeks. The book, now translated into English, describes how to manage and set up a VMware EXX Server environment. Visitors to Storage Expo can meet the author on stand 350 and pick up a free copy (worth £40) compliments of Pillar Data Systems.

Seminar programme

There is a packed seminar programme at Storage Expo presented by some of the leading lights in the storage industry. The programme is divided into two streams - technical and business strategy.

Seminars in the technical stream include:

● "From Server Virtualisation to a Simpler Storage Environment" by Dennis Zimmer, virtualisation consultant, Pillar Data Systems EMEA

● "Storage Efficiencies for Messaging and Collaboration tools in the Enterprise" by Paul Hargreaves, consulting engineer, Network Appliance

● "Back-up on Mount Everest" by film maker Ben Clowes and expedition organiser Tom Clowes

● "The Phases of File Virtualisation" by Darren Soothill, Rainfinity technology consultant, EMC

● "The Next Big Thing" by Hu Yoshida, vice-president and chief technology officer, Hitachi Data Systems.

Business strategy seminars include:

● "Increasing the Productivity and Reducing the Environmental Impact of your Datacentre" by Ian Bond, consulting systems architect, Cisco

● "Green Your Storage" by Thomas Langkjaar, EMEA manager Enterprise Storageworks, Hewlett-Packard

● "The Green Datacentre: BT's Learning in Reducing Carbon Footprint" by Steve O'Donnell, global head of datacentres and customer experience management, BT

● "Simplifying Storage for Business Continuity" by John Coulston, head of enterprise and solutions marketing, Dell UK & Ireland.

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