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Past Events

Next Generation Storage Networking

Wednesday, October 22, 2008
9:00 a.m.–1:00 p.m.

University of Maryland
CSS2324 - Computer and Space Sciences Building
College Park, MD 20742

Next Generation Storage Networking

Tuesday, October 21, 2008
1:30 p.m.–5:00 p.m.

Virginia Tech
Kent St
Owens Banquet Hall
Blacksburg, VA 24060

Next Generation Storage Networking

Thursday, October 16, 2008
12:30 p.m.–4:00 p.m.

University of North Carolina,
Chapel Hill
115 South Columbia Street
Hanes Art Center, Room 121
Chapel Hill, NC 27599

Next Generation Storage Networking

Wednesday, July 23, 2008
9:00 a.m.–1:00 p.m.

Google Headquarters
1501 Salado Drive
Mountain View, CA 94043

Latest Trends in Storage Virtualization and Data Protection

Thursday, June 19, 2008
9:00 a.m.–2:30 p.m.

University of Florida
McKnight Brain Institute Auditorium
100 S. Newell Drive
Bldg. 59, Room LG110A/B
Gainesville, FL 32611

Latest Trends in Storage Virtualization and Data Protection

Thursday, March 13, 2008
9:00 a.m.–3:00 p.m.

University of Utah
School of Medicine
26 South 2000 East
Salt Lake City, UT

Latest Trends in Storage Virtualization and Data Protection

Thursday, March 6, 2008
9:00 a.m.–3:00 p.m.

University of Missouri
J.C. Penney Conference Center
Room 126
One University Blvd.
St. Louis, MO

USENIX Education on the Road 2007

Helpful Links:


USENIX Education on the Road

USENIX is excited to announce a new program that will bring USENIX-quality tutorials for free to a city near you.

In 2007 USENIX began to partner with leading universities, research institutions, and corporations to bring some of our most popular technical tutorials to a city near you—for free! Our purpose is to give back to long-standing USENIX members, while exposing those who are not familiar with USENIX to the quality of our conferences and educational services. What better way to do that then to send out a free sample of cutting-edge tutorial programs?

This program is offered free-of-charge to qualified IT professionals, researchers, and students.

We began this new program by offering two of our most popular tutorial titles, "Disk-to-Disk Backup and Eliminating Backup System Bottlenecks" and "Next Generation Storage Networking." On occasion, we may offer a condensed version of these two tutorials that combines the topics or areas of most interest to attendees into one event. We can be flexible in terms of exact tutorial content and will prioritize based on the issues that are of most interest to your group. Storage and backup are hot fields, rife with both innovation and confusion, so we anticipate that these topics will be relevant to a wide audience. Similarly, at past conferences these topics have appealed to people within a broad spectrum of technical experience, ranging from those who manage storage and design backup systems for a living to those who simply have curiosity.

Class Descriptions

Next Generation Storage Networking


Duration: 3 hours, not including 30-minute break

Who should attend: System administrators running day-to-day operations and those who set or enforce budgets. This tutorial is technical in nature, but it does not address command-line syntax or the operation of specific products or technologies. Rather, the focus is on general architectures and various approaches to scaling in both performance and capacity. Since storage networking technologies tend to be costly, there is some discussion of the relative cost of different technologies and of strategies for managing cost and achieving results on a limited budget.

Overview: There has been tremendous innovation in the data storage industry over the past few years. Proprietary, monolithic SAN and NAS solutions are beginning to give way to open-system solutions and distributed architectures. Traditional storage interfaces such as parallel SCSI and Fibre Channel are being challenged by iSCSI (SCSI over TCP/IP), SATA (serial ATA), SAS (serial attached SCSI), and even Infiniband. New filesystem designs and alternatives to NFS and CIFS are enabling high-performance filesharing measured in gigabytes (yes, "bytes," not "bits") per second. New spindle management techniques are enabling higher-performance and lower-cost disk storage. Meanwhile, a whole new set of efficiency technologies are allowing storage protocols to flow over the WAN with unprecedented performance. This tutorial is a survey of the latest storage networking technologies, with commentary on where and when these technologies are most suitably deployed.

Topics include:

  • Fundamentals of storage virtualization: the storage I/O path
  • Shortcomings of conventional SAN and NAS architectures
  • In-band and out-of-band virtualization architectures
  • The latest storage interfaces: SATA (serial ATA), SAS (serial attached SCSI), 4Gb Fibre Channel, Infiniband, iSCSI
  • Content-Addressable Storage (CAS)
  • Information Life Cycle Management (ILM) and Hierarchical Storage Management (HSM)
  • The convergence of SAN and NAS
  • High-performance file sharing
  • Parallel file systems
  • SAN-enabled file systems
  • Wide-area file systems (WAFS)

Latest Trends in Storage Virtualization and Data Protection


Duration: 5 hours, not including a one-hour break

Who should attend: This tutorial is designed for a technical audience with at least some hands-on experience with storage devices, server hardware, backup systems, and networks. It is equally suitable for system administrators, IT directors, IT architects, and CIOs. The class focuses on architectures and core technologies, not on specific products. Because storage technologies tend to be expensive, the class makes an attempt to describe cost-saving approaches.

Overview: This tutorial is a fast-paced crash course in the latest technologies for storage virtualization and data protection. It draws from some of the most popular topics from the USENIX tutorials "Next Generation Storage Networking" and "Eliminating Backup System Bottlenecks." The basic premise is that there are many different ways to solve storage problems. There is no best way and there is no single manufacturer that offers it all. The purpose of this tutorial is to highlight the key differentiators between major approaches and to empower the end user to compare and contrast the choices available on the market today and those coming in the near future.

Topics taken from "Next Generation Storage Networking" include:

  • Virtualization and the storage I/O path
  • In-band vs. out-of-band virtualization
  • Information Lifecycle Management
  • CAS and archival storage
  • High-performance file sharing
  • File system virtualization
  • In-band Network File System appliances

Topics taken from "Eliminating Backup System Bottlenecks" include:

  • Overview of backup system bottlenecks
  • Conventional disk backup
  • Virtual tape libraries: advantages and disadvantages
  • Deduplication, commonality factoring, and Single Instance Storage
  • Block- and object-level incremental backups
  • Bare metal recovery
  • Minimizing and potentially eliminating tape drives

Disk-to-Disk Backup and Eliminating Backup System Bottlenecks

Duration: 3 hours, not including 30-minute break

Who should attend: System administrators involved in the design and management of backup systems and policymakers responsible for protecting their organization's data. A general familiarity with server and storage hardware is assumed. The class focuses on architectures and core technologies and is relevant regardless of what backup hardware and software you currently use.

Overview: The data protection industry is going through a mini-renaissance. In the past few years, the cost of disk media has dropped to the point where it is practical to use disk arrays in backup systems, thus minimizing and sometimes eliminating the need for tape. In the first incarnations of disk-to-disk backup—disk staging and virtual tape libraries—disk has been used as a direct replacement for tape media. While this compensates for the mechanical shortcomings of tape drives, it fails to address other critical bottlenecks in the backup system, and thus many disk-to-disk backup projects fall short of expectations. Meanwhile, many early adopters of disk-to-disk backup are discovering that the longterm costs of disk staging and virtual tape libraries are prohibitive.

The good news is that the next generation of disk-enabled data protection solutions has reached a level of maturity where they can assist—and sometimes even replace—conventional enterprise backup systems. These new D2D solutions leverage the random access properties of disk devices to use capacity much more efficiently and to obviate many of the hidden backup-system bottlenecks that are not addressed by first-generation solutions. The challenge to the backup system architect is to cut through the industry hype, sort out all of these new technologies, and figure out how to integrate them into an existing backup system.

This tutorial identifies the major bottlenecks in conventional backup systems and explains how to address them. The emphasis is placed on the various roles for inexpensive disk in your data protection strategy; however, attention is given to SAN-enabled backup, the current state and future of tape drives, and iSCSI.

Topics include:

  • Identifying and eliminating backup system bottlenecks
  • Conventional disk staging
  • Virtual tape libraries
  • Removable disk media
  • Incremental forever and synthetic full backup strategies
  • Block- and object-level incremental backups
  • Information lifecycle management and nearline archiving
  • Data replication
  • CDP (Continuous Data Protection)
  • Snapshots
  • Current and future tape drives
  • Capacity Optimization (Single-Instance File Systems)
  • Minimizing and even eliminating tape drives
  • iSCSI

About the lecturer: Jacob Farmer is a well-known figure in the data storage industry. He has authored numerous papers and articles and is a regular speaker at trade shows and conferences. In addition to his regular expert advice column in the "Reader I/O" section of InfoStor Magazine, the leading trade magazine of the data storage industry, Jacob also serves as one of the publication's senior technical advisors. Jacob has over 20 years of experience with storage technologies and is the CTO of Cambridge Computer Services, a national integrator of data storage and data protection solutions.

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Last changed: 23 Oct 2008 jp