Trip Report: German Expert Workshop – Ehningen March 8+9, 2016

There was the 5th German Spectrum Scale Expert Workshop in Ehningen at the IBM Germany headquarter on March 9+10, 2016. The Expert Workshop is an IBM organized event, though agenda and format are similar to the Spectrum Scale UK User Group Meeting which is upcoming in May. This year we had 200+ attendees, two-thirds of them were customers and partners. One specialty of the German Expert Workshop is that all sessions are in German. However, most charts are in English and available in the presentation section of this site.

All sessions have been aligned with tree major themes. In my report about the Meet the Devs in Oxford I have explained that Spectrum Scale provides integrated support for various access protocols for remote access in addition to local file system access on servers where a Spectrum Scale file system is mounted. This allows to access data stored in Spectrum Scale via various access protocols without copying data. At the Expert Workshop in Ehningen we had several deep dives covering SMB, NFS, object, object on file and Hadoop HDFS integration.

Second, we had sessions about solutions which integrate Spectrum Scale. We covered best practices based on customer engagements including backing up data stored in Spectrum Scale using Spectrum Protect to improve backup and restore time and using Spectrum Protect as storage pool for one or more Spectrum Protect server for simplified infrastructure management. In addition there have been reports of recent and running proof-of-concepts including Spectrum Scale as high-performance and scalable file storage to process videos and other file data for the development of autonomous driving cars, transparent tiering of cold data from Spectrum Scale to object storage in the cloud and integration of Spectrum Scale with OpenStack SwiftHLM to migrate cold data to tape.

The third major theme covered recent and upcoming improvement in core Spectrum Scale. There was a deep dive on major recent enhancements such as compression, HAWK and Quality-of-Service. In addition several developers and researchers spoke about focus areas for 2016 such as simplified configuration and improved monitoring and problem determination and items which are further down the road. See my posting about the Meet the Devs in Oxford for more details on our 2016 priorities.

Last but not least the agenda provided longer breaks than last year to allow more time for discussions and personal networking. One of my personal highlights was the introduction of all attending Spectrum Scale developers before the Get-Together in the evening of the first day. There have been about 20 people on stage which was pretty crowded. Even I was surprised. We all had stickers labelled with our area of expertise which helped to start some interesting discussions with customers and partners.