September 19, 2017. Technical Data Centre Author: Ruairi McBride

My Top Session Picks for NetApp Insight 2017 in Las Vegas

Time, it's on your side...

We all seem short on time these days. We have conference calls and video chats to save us travel time when we can. We use TLAs (three letter acronyms) whenever possible.

We are forever on the hunt for the next "life hack" or "time saver".

NetApp Insight is getting closer, and if you're planning on attending hopefully you've already started mapping out your schedule. But if you haven't, then fear not.

As an IT professional your time is extremely valuable. Time is precious to myself and to my employer and you both want to get the most out of a day, but with Insight 2017 stacked with so many great sessions this year, how can you choose?

Whilst everyone's interests are different, I thought I'd give my pick for the sessions that I'm looking forward to at Insight Las Vegas.

Whether you're a first timer or an old guard Insight veteran, I hope this will help you be smart with your time or as the Stones put it, "time is on your side."

 

My Top Picks

13145-1 - Data Privacy: Addressing the New Challenges Facing Businesses in GDPR, Data Privacy and Sovereignty Sheila FitzPatrick.

GDPR is a critical challenge that affects companies all over the world, not just in Europe. I have heard Sheila FitzPatrick speak on this topic several times, and every time I leave with some really useful info about how to help customers move towards legal compliance with the imminent deadline looming (May 25, 2018). This session will help you elevate the conversation around GDPR with details about how to help your business avoid those hefty fines.

16594-2 - Accelerate Unstructured Data with FlexGroups: The Next Evolution of Scale-Out NAS – Justin Parisi.

For those of you who haven't heard the Tech ONTAP podcast (what a shame!), this is a session presented by one of its hosts and will give you an idea of the great content it puts out. During the session Justin Parisi looks at why FlexGroups are winning in the unstructured data space and how it improves upon the FlexVol. Just don't ask him about SAN…

12708-2 - How NVMe and Storage-Class Memory Are Reshaping the Storage Industry – Jeff Baxter and Quinn Summers.

These are two very knowledgeable presenters who deliver information rich content and I'm happy to see them giving a session together. This session looks at NVMe, in which NetApp is currently leading the field in capacity delivered to its customers and Storage-Class memory, and how these technologies will affect data centre design and application deployments in the near future. For those wanting to keep at the forefront of technology advancements and were unable to get to the Flash Memory Summit, this is the session for you.

16700-2 - FabricPool in the Real World: Configurations and Best Practices – John Lantz.

FabricPool was one of the key features of the 9.2 payload and when it announced at last year's insight general session was a mic drop moment. Now with the availability of the required ONTAP version, this is an excellent way to hear how best to put that into practice and who better than John delve into the core part of this technology, design considerations and walk you through how to deploy one of the more fascinating parts of the data fabric.

18342-1 - BOF: Ask the A-Team – Next Generation Data Centre – Mark Carlton.

I would be remiss if I didn't call this out as a session of note (and yes, centre IS spelt with an R-E). This is a "birds of a feather" session which means it's more of an open conversation or Q&A rather than a lecture. Hosted by Mark Carlton with several members of the A-Team on hand to provide honest opinions, feedback and tales from the field with the Next Generation Data Centre, you should leave this session with a greater understanding of how to make the move to NGDC.

18442-2 - Simplify Sizing, Deployment and Management of End-User Computing with NetApp HCIChris Gebhardt.

Another session covering this year's H O T topic. In this breakout Chris will go in to what you need to know to have a successful deployment of NetApp's First-generation Enterprise HCI offering. This is likely to be a popular session so make sure you book early.

17349-2 - Converged Systems Advisor: Simplify Operations with Cloud-Based Lifecycle Management for FlexPod- Wyatt Bennett and Keith Barto.

Emerging from a recent acquisition by NetApp is this superb piece of software that allows you to graphically explore the configuration of a Flexpod against a CVD and make sure that you are correctly configured. If you have anything to do with Flexpod this is probably one of the more interesting developments in that area of the portfolio this year and at this session you can hear from 2 of the people who have been building this product for several years and gain a better understanding as to how it can benefit your deployments.

18509-2 - VMware Plugins Unify NetApp Plugins into a Single Appliance – Steven Cortez.

With the recent update of the plugin for vSphere, here is your one stop for a good look at what has changed with Steven Cortez. Backup can seem like a beast of burden, but it needn't be when you look at this offering and see what this new plugin can provide, whether that be over the old VSC dashboard, improvements to VASA integration and SRA functionality or even VVol support. In this session Steven will cover the more popular workflows within the unified plugin.

17930-3 - Virtual Volumes Deep Dive with NetApp SolidFireAndy Banta

Andy will be telling you why you want to flip the switch and move from traditional datastores to VVols and all the benefits and loveliness that comes with implementation a next generation VM deployment. Some of the conference attendees may feel they know ONTAP like the back of their hands but maybe this is the year to give SolidFire some serious focus and this is one session that will show you why.

 

 

It's also worth noting that whilst the sessions are the real meat on the bone for the conference (and you do get access to the content after the event), there's lots more to do!

The general sessions are always enlightening and I look forward to what George Kurian will have to say. Then there's the ability to give honest feedback directly to the PMs.

Get your certs up-to-date (these have all been refreshed since Insight Berlin 2016) or spend some time in the hands-on labs. The Dev Ops café was also a hit last year. The list goes on and on...

 

My Advice for Getting the Best out of Insight

The best advice I can give for attending is to do your homework and plan what you want to get out of the conference.

Plan for lunch. Plan for some downtime during the day. Plan for a "working from home" day after the conference to get caught up, as you will no doubt be shattered. Maybe even plan to have a go at tumbling dice whilst in a casino.

Plan for new friends and new faces, and most of all, plan to have a good time - because before you know it you'll be singing "It's all over now."

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