LISA Data Storage Day

The Large Installation System Administration (LISA) Conference is the meeting place of choice for system and network administrators and engineers; it is the crossroads of Web operations, DevOps, enterprise computing, educational computing, and research computing. The conference serves as a venue for a lively, diverse, and rich mix of technologists of all specialties and levels of expertise.

LISA Data Storage Day is a traveling full-day event, offering three lectures derived from the Data Storage Day program at the most recent LISA Conference, which was held December 2012 in San Diego, CA. The program is offered for free for IT end users. There is a nominal fee for those who do not work as an end user of information technology.

Why is it free? What's the catch?

The LISA Conference is put on by the USENIX Association in cooperation with LOPSA. Our hope is that you will be impressed with the quality of the course content and consider participating in future activities and events.

LISA Data Storage Day: Latest Trends in Storage
Washington Marriott Wardman Park
Wednesday, November 6, 2013, Washington, D.C. 

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Who is the intended audience and will it be worth your time?

The lecture materials are intended for a hands-on technical audience: system admins, storage admins, disaster recovery planners, data center managers, etc. We expect that you have a working knowledge of storage, backup system principles, networks, and servers. The course content is particularly useful to those who are responsible for system architecture and for general IT strategy.

Do you have to take a full day out of the office or can you catch just a portion?

The program runs from 9:00AM to roughly 2:00PM, but it is broken down into 3 separate lectures with a lunch break in the middle and a Q&A session at the end. Feel free to leave early or arrive late. You will still get a lot out of your time investment. See below for the full program.


8:30 a.m.—9:00 a.m.

Registration and Breakfast

9:00 a.m.—10:30 a.m.

Storage Virtualization and the Evolution of Storage Networking

This session looks at evolution of storage networking from its origins as humble disk drives and file servers up through elaborate virtualized storage solutions. We explore how new storage functionality comes to market by inserting itself into the appropriate layers in a stack-like architecture called the Storage I/O Path, which originates with an application and ends on a piece of storage media.

The Storage I/O Path has been evolving quite rapidly in the last few years. New layers are popping up in the forms of inline network devices, hypervisors, and object-based storage models. Meanwhile, traditional layers like logical volume managers and RAID arrays are collapsing into all-in-one file systems. This lecture sets the stage for the remaining 3 talks at LISA Data Storage Day. It provides the foundation for understanding the various ways to integrate solid state storage, tiering and life cycle management, and data protection into one's existing storage environment.

Topics include:

  • The Storage I/O Path
  • Storage virtualization
  • The evolution of SAN and NAS solutions
  • Virtual I/O
  • LAN-based storage virtualization and virtual file systems
  • Logical volume management
  • Principles of object-based storage

10:30 a.m.—11:45 a.m.

Application and File System Acceleration with Solid State Storage

The data storage industry is experiencing a mini renaissance as a flurry of new solid state storage devices come to market. SSDs are now available in a broad spectrum of price, form factor, and performance. It is hard enough for a storage architect to sort out the myriad of choices, but that is nothing compared to the challenge of figuring out how to deploy SSD technology in an affordable and effective way.

This lecture focuses on practical approaches for integrating SSD technology into your existing storage infrastructure. We explore different insertion points in the storage I/O path, and reveal a variety of methods for accelerating databases, email systems, virtualization platforms, content repositories, local file systems and network file systems (NAS).

Topics include:

  • Types of flash media: SLC, MLC, eMLC, DRAM
  • Packaging options for solid state storage
  • Differentiating random from sequential disk I/O patterns
  • SQL database acceleration
  • MS Exchange acceleration
  • File system tiering and acceleration
  • Dynamic tiered storage in SAN arrays
  • 3rd party caching appliances
  • Solid state storage paired with deduplication

11:45 a.m.—12:30 p.m.


12:30 p.m.—2:00 p.m.

A Crash Course on Object-based Storage: Massive Scalability, Cloud Stores, Deduplication, and Even Tape

The hype surrounding cloud computing has spilled over into the storage industry, inspiring tremendous innovation in the fields of object storage and large scale file management. Conventional storage technologies (enterprise SAN and NAS systems) cannot scale limitlessly, not to mention that they are too rigid to expand and contract with the ebb and flow of the cloud. The cloud demands a whole new class of file systems and storage management approaches. As luck would have it, the problems being tackled in the name of cloud storage are applicable to large scale storage management in private facilities. In other words, so-called "cloud technologies" are relevant regardless of whether one ever plans to store data in a third party cloud.

Object-based storage does not describe any one technology or type of solution. Rather, is a generic term that describes an approach to addressing and manipulating discrete units of storage. Object-based storage is essential for deduplication, self-healing, massive scalability, geographic distribution, caching, tiering, etc. This session explains the key principles of object-based storage and provides examples and technologies based on those principles.

Topics include:

  • The limitations of RAID and conventional file systems
  • Object addressing versus file and block addressing
  • Content-based addressing
  • Hashing and hash collisions
  • Fundamentals of deduplication: hashing, chunking, indexing
  • New implementations of dedupe: primary storage, virtual desktops, rich media
  • Tape-enabled file systems and "active archiving"
  • Object-level data redundancy
  • Erasure-coded data protection

For any general inquiries, please contact Amina Altaf,