Just thought I'd post a little about my experiences at EMC World 2013 being held in Las Vegas, Nevada this week at the Venetian Hotel. Today was day 1 of the conference and the halls were crowded with technology leaders and users from all over the world. I do not know the actual numbers but I heard that as many as 15,000 participants are here to learn and network and visit the Expo to see and touch the latest computer technology in the world.
I am here as a member of the Brocade contingent attending and supporting this conference. I was invited to attend as a subject matter expert (SME) in mainframes and FICON and, in particular, to meet and work with that specialty area of our customer set. Of course, I am available to any customer that I can assist, but I really do like working with our mainframe customers.
As a value-add to this conference, Brocade is hosting meetings between customers and Brocade management and leading Brocade technologists. It is a very well-orchestrated effort and all of the main participants are running around with a report that tells them what customer they will be meeting with and what the purpose of the meeting is all about. It is all about getting the right people in front of a customer to discuss their needs and requirements and begin a process that will lead to a mutually beneficial outcome.
I participated in one of those meetings today and it concerned a customer who had some specific interest to discuss with us. This was a large, well known customer who is being driven by some time constraints to make some technology decisions. Our management participant, Tom Ellery and our principal technologist for this meeting, AJ Casamento, provided this customer with very focused information and guidance pertinent to their issue. These meetings are short (30 minutes), clear and concise and I think really help make a difference for those customers taking advantage of these opportunities. This particular customer took a number of notes and there will be some follow-up as a result. Since the EMC theme of this conference is “Lead Your Transformation”, our meetings with this customer (and I am pretty sure all of the customers participating in these meetings) are right on target and in the spirit of the conference theme.
I attended three of the one hour training sessions that were held at the conference today. One was on SAN and two were fibre channel switching equipment. Each room held about 300 people. The SAN presentation by Eric Smith of EMC was standing room only. He is a good speaker and the subject matter covered was very factual although aimed, I thought, at a more entry level participant than I think that he had in the room. The other two presentations, on fibre channel switching devices, were well attended and probably had about 200 participants each.
I met a gentleman at the last of those FC switching presentations who was also attending the presentation to obtain technical information. We got to talking and he has to make some technology decisions very soon about how to develop some solutions for his customers and what technologies would serve those solutions the best. We talked for a few minutes and I suggested that we walk down to the Brocade meeting rooms and get him into a formal meeting with our best technologists to help him begin the process of making those decisions. It took only moments to get a meeting scheduled for him and he was very happy and looking forward to that meeting. So, for me, the moral of that story is that even though most of us Brocadians are here for specific purposes, opportunities like this will come out of the blue where we can help customers and prospects in ways that we never imagined that can become mutually beneficial for all concerned. It felt good.
The Solutions Pavilion is immense. I will be working the Brocade booth tomorrow for a shift and then Wednesday for a shift. When I visited the booth tonight there was a host of people milling about at each of our stations, being shown our products, watching our demonstrations and talking to our technology experts. It was impressive. Brocade probably had a dozen or so employees there to help any conference attendee that wanted to know more about Brocade. The organization and effort that has gone into Brocade’s participation at this conference is paying huge dividends as attendees are drawn to our booth to hear our story and participate directly with us.
There are more than 80 vendors that are spread all over the place and it will take quite a while for anyone to visit most of them. Tonight EMC (or one of the sponsors – I do not know which) had a buffet and deserts out. Wine and beer and cold drinks were available everywhere and as huge as the pavilion was it was still crowded.
It was a great day for me both technically and personally and I am looking forward to what tomorrow brings.