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From the get-go, this year’s Next Generation Object Storage Summit (NGSS), held in Los Angeles, CA from March 4-5, 2014, demonstrated that object storage continues to be confusing for all stakeholders – users, vendors, industry analysts, and press.

Unlike last year, where it was more of a discussion around what is object storage; this year, it was less about what object storage was about, as opposed to what object storage would do for users.

Neuralytix, in its keynote presentation observed to the attendees that the industry is severely confused by object storage. For most users, object storage is just another storage system (JASS)! Neuralytix illustrated that object storage is in fact about enabling enterprises to generate relevance (read: value) from data they have already collected. Neuralytix also used a number of use cases to illustrate how disconnected data is in most organizations – from financial institutions to law enforcement agencies and retail companies.

During the event, there were other discussions, including one moderated IDC, where a small number of the sponsoring vendors debated about the variations in their object storage solutions. The problem with this, and other discussions, is that ultimately vendors and end-users don’t care so much about the “what” of object storage, but the “why”.

The messages from nearly all the presenting sponsors were similar – we have a solution that can provide user extensible metadata, and can go across multiple storage solutions. A number of end-user attendees commented that despite being presenters at an object storage conference, they too were still confused about what object storage would bring to their enterprises.

Toward the end of the conference, Seth Bobroff of Amplidata suggested that what we needed was an industry group that would help to promote the value of object storage. The 18 sponsoring vendors all agreed to join an industry group. The name Object Storage Alliance (OSA) was proposed without objection. The sponsoring vendors all accepted Neuralytix as the leader of this Alliance, given that Neuralytix has the longest history in object storage.

Over the next several months, the OSA, under the leadership and guidance of Neuralytix, will help the founding members to align messaging around the business

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value of object storage.

Update: As of March 13, 2014, a number of non-sponsoring vendors have also agreed to participate in the OSA. A list of the founding members will be published towards the middle of April.