I was absolutely stunned by the first presentation from Dr. Evangelos S Eleftheriou (IBM Fellow & Manager Storage Technologies, IBM Research) on the trends for storage. Although the intellectual level was extremely high (electrons density and such), the delivery was perfect and he made it accessible to all of us, regardless of our backgrounds.
The second presentation from Juergen Arnold (SNIA chair) on Green Storage was also very interesting, and to say the least, a wake-up call. Datacenters use a lot of energy, and there are ways to reduce that footprint by implementing best practices (lower cost) or implementing green technologies (higher cost). The SNIA features 117 best practice in their GSI (Green Storage Initiative), that any datacenter operator should read. We all have a role to play in making this a better place, and reducing the energy consumption in datacenters will have a dramatic impact, given the skyrocketing needs for storage and bandwidth (youtube, emails, file sharing, etc).
The rest of the day was a bit more casual, but I enjoyed the Madinat Jumeirah a lot (it was actually my first time there) and its seaview.