Back To School with the Network Storage University


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With network storage technologies constantly improving and developing, businesses are always seeking new ways to educate themselves on the best ways to manage ever growing amounts of data. This education comes in many forms and from many sources, but one organization that is generating a great deal of interest is the Network Storage University (NSU).

Developed in 1999 to aid professionals in keeping up with the ever-changing storage arena, NSU is the brainchild of Quantum, supplier of DLT tape automation systems. Today, along with other industry partners including Cisco, Network Appliance and QLogic, they have created a free education forum specifically tailored to educating people on network storage topics.

According to Natalie Amick, Quantum's business alliance programs manager, the vision behind NSU was to bring the network storage message to the public in a forum where they would be able to create working solutions from the knowledge gained at 1-day, free-of-charge, workshops/seminars. "We wanted to bring together leading-edge companies in the technology industry to provide end users with the opportunity to learn about the latest technologies and where network storage fits into the overall scheme," she said. "We designed the workshops to use real-world, working solutions as examples and show infrastructures, architectures, and planning processes involved in these systems," she continued.

NSU has offered 24 courses since its inception and according to Amick has budgeted 12 seminars/workshops per quarter or 48 seminars per year. The courses are offered in various cities throughout the United States and include presenters from each end of the storage arena.

The next course being offered is IP Storage: Extending the Enterprise. According to Jon William Toigo, a well-known authority on both storage network technology and its business applications, as well the keynote speaker for the seminar, the course is designed to explain IP Storage and how it will affect the current storage landscape.

According to leading analysts, iSCSI, a protocol almost synonymous with IP storage, is coming and with it comes benefits such as extension of current SCSI environments, storage consolidation, and connectivity for disparate SAN islands. "iSCSI promises all this while leveraging the ever-popular IP infrastructure, thus making data sharing easier, more efficient, and less expensive," says Toigo.

In addition to delivering the keynote speech, Toigo will moderate a roundtable discussion among the vendors. "There's a lot of hype behind IP Sans and the 'marketecture' surrounding IP storage," says Toigo. "I am hoping to cut through all of that hype and help the end user understand this emerging technology because as far as I am concerned none of this IP storage is really ready for prime time yet," he continued. "Because there are so many unanswered questions surrounding IP storage, my goal is to help the end user get a grasp of what's really ready for prime time and what isn't," he says. "Besides, he concluded, the seminars are always offered at really nice hotels, the food is great, and the parking, and the seminar are free."

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