Some Thoughts Following Cloud Field Day 14

Cloud Field Day 14 had some great presentations around controlling cloud storage, data, and networks. I made some predictions on what was going to be presented in my previous blog and for the most part they were all touched upon, granted some more than others. The standard was high, and I would encourage people to check out the presentations. Before I discuss some of my key takeaways from the event below, I would like to offer a huge thanks to Stephen Foskett, his team, fellow delegates along with the presenters, for taking the time to not only present, but answer delegate questions. Its always a fun event and that takes effort!

Has storage recently become software?

No, the concept of Software Defined Storage (SDS) has been around for over a decade now. We have been able to provision and define storage for quite some time, using software policies and commands to abstract what’s happening at the hardware layer. Historically this was as simple as defining a RAID group using multiple drives to present a LUN. Complexity and performance grew when we added tiering slow drives with faster ones leading to the obvious additional tier of solid state.

These tiers were provisioned independently or combined into a pool with vendors building in some smarts around data placement depending on activity. Storage vendors differentiated themselves on how well they were able to perform this function. Variance was decided on performance, scalability, features, and price. Storage vendors made relationships with hardware vendors to provide their own individual edge using faster CPUs, more RAM, better connectivity, and reliability. The value add was the appliance package and the software and interface to control the hardware within.

So, What if Anything Has Changed?

Nothing, apart from the whole cloud adoption thing. You cannot buy an array from your preferred storage vendor and ship it to a hyper scaler, even if you could, why would you want to? It goes against the cloud operating model from a financial perspective aside from the logistical impossibilities. This created a divide between how you did storage on prem vs the public cloud. Change has recently come, in how historical storage companies have pivoted to become cloud companies. Extending their stack and feature sets into the public cloud. Hybrid multi-cloud is now a possibility potentially working with the same vendors you use for your on prem stack, albeit in the public clouds.

This is a big deal.

Why is this a big deal?

Enterprises move slow and are either carrying significant technical debt and/or engineering familiarity with their preferred vendor. Cloud native approaches have brought about new ways of doing things, many enterprises invested in the people and technologies required to do this effectively, but not all are as far along. Trusted vendors offering customers, help with the complexities around managing a hybrid cloud will be very attractive options. For example, Amazon FSx for NetApp ONTAP lets you use the technologies you have been using for years to manage data better in AWS, and soon Azure and Google.

Furthermore, NetApp are giving customers Cloud Manager to help alleviate and consolidate issues with managing aspects of the hybrid multi-cloud. One thing evident is the fact that companies want alternatives to native cloud storage.

What About Cloud Native Options?

Well, we saw a few good options there too, Weka and Lightbits presented some amazing options to scale performance massively in multiple clouds using relatively hardware agnostic options. This is a similar shift from traditional storage vendors moving away from selling hardware and software to realise business outcomes.  Whilst all storage companies have the ability to provide both on prem and cloud based storage they are coming at it from different angles. If you want a polished product to present file or object based storage, Weka offers a cloud file system offering NFS, SMB and S3 compatible. Lightbits have taken a different approach offering block NVMe over TCP delivering more of a storage engine to do block very well at scale within the public clouds or on prem. Both companies leverage hardware provided by a 3rd party and play well with various Intel accelerators.

What about Cloud Management?

We saw great presentations from Zerto, Morpheus, Alkira and Komprise all offering different ways of effectively managing clouds. Abstracting multiple clouds was a recurring theme however they all had their own specific areas of focus and can add value to many enterprises. Abstraction is a common theme for companies right now increasing the control and visibility of elements under a given solutions scope. As the ever-increasing number of layers of abstraction continues to grow, aggregation tools add value centralising operations in developer friendly ways leveraging the plethora of API’s available often trying to wrap them up under one.

What’s the takeaway?

Vendors are providing ever increasing ways to control your hybrid cloud infrastructures. Alkira offered something I have not seen before covering the network layer, something I imagine we will see more of in future. Visibility and control are the drivers leveraging existing relationships with legacy storage providers and/or public clouds but the overall theme was heavily centralised on getting multiple clouds working better together, no bad thing.

As well as reviewing social media using the #CFD14 hashtag you can watch Cloud Field Day 14 content here:

-Craig Rodgers

An Introduction to Cloud Field Day 14 #CFD14

I have arrived in Silicon Valley again for another Cloud Field Day event and I’m looking forward to several presentations, as well as getting to actually physically meet people again. In this post, I share some thoughts on the upcoming presenters and to make a few educated guesses as to what they will be presenting, simply for the fun of it.

What is Cloud Field Day?

In case you are not aware or are new to Tech Field Day (TFD) events, Cloud Field Day (CFD) is an event where companies present their latest and greatest, via live streams, on the Tech Field Day website and LinkedIn.  Streams are also recorded and added to the Tech Field Day YouTube channel for later viewing.

Isn’t that just a webinar?

Nope, these events are interactive as the companies presenting are doing so to a number of industry experts who ask the questions you are thinking about when watching, allowing greater insight and benefits to watching the streams.  I am one of a number of delegates who will be attending both in person and virtually to comment on or challenge companies on their content, to help viewers make decisions on vendor offerings and solutions. Delegates are not afraid to ask difficult questions, one of my personal favourite aspects of the events and why I watched so many prior to being involved.

Great, who is presenting at CFD14?

The following companies are presenting, in chronological order.


Zerto, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company – Zerto provides a continuous software experience for DR, backup and data mobility.

Zerto will be presenting their latest updates around ransomware recovery, AWS, Zerto for Kubernetes and more. Zerto have been in the replication and ransomware protection game for a while now and even offer some backup services. I expect this presentation to focus on new features in Zerto 9.5 such as additional RBAC and MFA along with Zerto Kubernetes Manager and other new features for security and ransomware protection.


NetApp are an enterprise storage leader with a current focus on data and the cloud.

Whilst I do not know what NetApp are going to present, if I had to guess, I would bet, it will be around their recent certification with VMware to offer Storage as a Service (STaaS) as a supplemental NFS storage repository to VMware cloud services running on AWS, Azure and Google. NetApp are the first storage vendor to be approved for this type of offering, a logical progression given their on-premise enterprise storage reach and the adoption of hybrid cloud.

Morpheus Data

Morpheus Data – Modernising apps and managing hybrid clouds for enterprise

I looked into Morpheus Data last year whilst architecting a multi-tenant cloud platform, and they have an interesting backstory that led to where they are today.  Essentially, they exist from the need to control and abstract silos of resources to facilitate a hybrid cloud management layer, integrating with most virtualisation and cloud stacks.  Will be interesting to see what they present at #CFD14 and if I had to guess here, I would assume something around VMware automation given their recent announcements, let’s see.


Weka – Next generation data platform for challenging AI and high-performance workloads

Weka aim to be a cloud filesystem providing tiered file services with variable block dedupe, compression and most recently, joined the ranks of the few that offer fingerprinting to reduce data  capacity requirements through data similarity.  I’m fairly sure this presentation will be aimed at their recent updates in V4 to move from being AWS native to supporting multiple clouds in AWS, Azure, Google and Oracle.


Alkira – Reinvented networking for the cloud era connecting and integrating network services across clouds

Alkira will be presenting a solution to help demystify the complexities involved in effectively managing a multi cloud network. Cloud Area Networking is often difficult to manage and even harder when factoring in DR, so it will be interesting to see how challenges can be alleviated and addressed. I would guess an abstraction layer for automation in these regards will be presented.

Lightbits Labs

Lightbits Labs – scale out disaggregated storage platform that performs like local flash for the cloud native DC

Lightbits Labs have recently won a BIG Innovation Award 2022 for the industry’s first solution to provide NVMe over TCP and have built a close relationship with Intel to leverage various Intel workload accelerators, to reduce latencies and increase performance at every step. I expect to see a massively scalable solution here for a Cloud Data Platform, should be interesting given some of their recent announcements and something that would slot nicely into the hyper scalers given the advertised scaling capabilities.


Komprise – Intelligent data mobility solution for unstructured data providing visibility, mobility and value

Komprise have focused on providing intelligent data tiering to minimise cloud costs such as egress charges.  Keeping hot data and constantly pulling it out of a cloud costs a lot of money. Komprise will be showing Smart Data Workflows to identify where data should reside. Insight to unstructured data is important long term and leans into FinOps to govern Cloud Spending.  I expect to see benefits around another layer for ransomware protection given recent announcements, the more layers protecting, the better I feel.

How do I watch?

You can watch #CFD14 from the main Tech Field Day event page and confirm the presentation schedules here:

You can also follow Twitter and LinkedIn using #CFD14 for live streams. Enjoy!