Interop Las Vegas 2014 – Highlights, Lowlights, Footlights

I’m back from a week in Las Vegas for the annual Interop convention. Had some great conversations with vendors and technologists, got punched by Mark Twain, and graduated to the next level of mLife. I’ll have more to talk about in the next weeks, but I wanted to share some summary thoughts for those of you who are curious.

Disclosure: I attended Interop on a media/blogger pass, which was provided at no cost to myself, under the auspices of Tech Field Day. However, travel and incidentals were out of my own pocket, and aside from some trinkets that were offered to everyone in the expo, I have received no valuable consideration from any of the companies mentioned in this post. If this changes, I will advise in future articles.

My other coverage: “A Context For Cloud” covering my interpretations of Adrian Cockcroft’s Cloud Connect Summit opening keynote.

Good Stuff, Maynard

I’ve written before about how obnoxious the badge scanners can be at trade shows. This year’s Interop brought (I believe) a new feature that almost makes the scanners worthwhile — a trip report summarizing my event contacts and sessions. As I was leaving Las Vegas, I got an email that pointed me to a listing of my Interop sessions, surveys for the ones I hadn’t filled out, and the exhibitors who scanned my badge (or at least most of them… the list seems short, but some of the vendors were polite about not scanning–especially the ones I already communicate with weekly). I hope that other conventions like Cisco Live and VMworld add this functionality as well.

2014-04-01 11.37.07The Media Lounge was well-appointed, fiercely guarded by the incredible UBM PR team, populated with coffee, very edible breakfast and lunch at appropriate times, electricity and network connectivity, and except for the UNLV marching band incident, relatively quiet. It even featured a Bay Networks-branded Netgear dual-speed hub.

The best swag of the event (for me) is probably a tie between the Backupify Travel Hoodie Pillow and the 15% Off coupon for the new Linksys WRT1900AC.

The best physical technology I saw at the event would be the 16GB DDR3 SODIMM from Memphis Electronic, the Linksys WRT1900AC (luckily the big one isn’t the one that’s shipping next week), and the new Shuttle DS81 (Haswell compact system with dual 4k) video.

The best soft topics I saw included Circle Technology’s Circle Host/Circle Viewer private network screen share technology and Synology’s DSM 5.0 Central Management System.

And unrelated to Interop, I got notification on April 1 (seriously) that I was selected again as a VMware vExpert for 2014-2015. I continue to feel humbled and honored by this designation, and I hope to continue to provide useful contributions to the POHO community around virtualization technology.

Not So Good Stuff, Maynard

I’ll admit the first shock I got was the “Airline Chicken” in the media room at lunch. Several of the other folks in the room and I were concerned about an association between food and airplanes, having eaten on airplanes before. However, Meredith Corley from UBM Tech PR helped us get over that concern by looking up the worrisome product. It wasn’t so worrisome after all.

We did see a couple of “unclear on the concept” moments during the Expo, especially around “sponsorship” of refreshments. I believe Verisign “sponsored” the welcome reception on Tuesday, which made it possible for us to have cans of soda for only $4.25 each. Spiceworks apparently “sponsored” the coffee stand at the entrance, again with the $5 beverages. In the future, I’d suggest finding a different term, or perhaps making it clear how to take advantage of the sponsorship. Even the hotel only wanted $3.25 for a 20oz bottle of soda, and that’s not even sponsored.

And unrelated to Interop itself, I will restate that I hate hotel pillows.

One suggestion I will throw out there… if it would be possible to have lockers for media/bloggers (if not for everyone), so that we can leave laptops securely stowed during Expo and evening events without going all the way back to the hotel, that would be a welcome enhancement. I do think next year I will probably stay in the Mandalay Bay hotel, to optimize mLife points and minimize commute.

All things considered, not much to complain about.

Things to watch for

I had good conversations with a couple of vendors during the event.

Check out the links in this graf for each company’s Tech Field Day presentations.

I also had a charming conversation about security and network compliance and Doctor Who with Andy Williams, Nicola Whiting, and Ian Whiting of Titania. They have a compelling product line for auditing network device configurations, and weren’t too shocked that Rowan Atkinson was my Doctor.

So where do we go from here?

Well, for me, I’m catching up on a week’s email and then headed back to Las Vegas on Friday to work on some work stuff (seriously). No rest for the wicked, and PTO never seems to reduce the backlog of work.

Coming up in about 2 weeks is Storage Field Day 5 featuring Diablo Technologies, EMC, PernixData, Sandisk, Solidfire, Veeam, and X-Io. I’ve threatened to blog more from this event, although I’ll also be providing realtime feedback and twitter analysis as usual.

If you think I left out a highlight of Interop, or if you’d like to share your feedback, the comments are open. Hope to hear from you down there.

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One thought on “Interop Las Vegas 2014 – Highlights, Lowlights, Footlights

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