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EMC World — Initial Impressions

by on May.18, 2009, under Storage

EMC World — Initial Impressions

EMC logo EMC World — Initial Impressions

Hi everyone — we’re all down at EMC World. Lots to talk about in terms of concepts and technology, but I thought I’d use this first post to focus more on less-quantifiable aspects of this gathering. Over many years, I’ve…

Hi everyone — we’re all down at EMC World.  Lots to talk about in terms of concepts and technology, but I thought I’d use this first post to focus more on less-quantifiable aspects of this gathering.

Over many years, I’ve developed a certain cynicism around industry events in general: they’re too big, or they’re too marketing-focused, or they’re just plain boring.

That doesn’t seem to be the case with EMC World.

The Energy Is Contagious

I arrived late Sunday evening, checked into the hotel, and walked across the street to register, check out the action and catch some of the Gin Blossoms concert.

As soon as I walked into the front door, I was continually meeting people I knew, or who knew me.  Dozens and dozens and dozens of people.  It got a bit overwhelming.

And that was just on the walk to the registration booth.

Everyone seemed happy to be there, happy to re-connect with a select group of IT professionals, happy to be in an environment with people like themselves.

And You Meet New People, Too …

The sponsored reception was done nicely.  Good food and good beer was being served, which resulted in substantial lines to wait for the goodies.

I took the opportunity to meet a few people in line.  One person said they’d been coming for the last 6 years, and every year the EMC event was significantly better than the last one. 

I thought to myself that if we can keep that sort of continual improvement going forward, we’ll be in good shape!

A few cusotmers I met didn’t get the final approval from their management to travel to EMC World until late last week.  Although that’s not an ideal situation, I do appreciate that these people kept working the issue until they got what they wanted.  That’s persistence!

I started asking people what they liked about the event.  Without exception, the answer from end users was “technical content”.  I’m glad this show hasn’t devolved into one big sales pitch.

And Despite The Tough Economy …

In a year where budgets are tight, I’m more than a little pleased that we decided to not back down from this investment in our stakeholder community. 

I know this is only the first day, but it’s already pretty obvious that this year’s event will be a winner, much like the other shows in our ecosystem (e.g. RSA, VMware) are also proving to be winners despite an unfavorable economic climate.

This Is A Technology Show, Not A Marketing Show!

Unlike many other industry events, EMC World is sponsored by technologists for technologists. 

Sure, there are lots of vendors and trade-show type activities around — the flashing LED beer glasses are my personal favorite — but almost all of the 500+ sessions are done by technical types: vendors, partners and customers.

As I was perusing the agenda last night, I noticed that in addition to the usual Introductory, Intermediate and Advanced categories, there was one called “Guru”. 

The blurb makes it clear — no “level setting” in these sessions!

As I write this, I now am waiting for my third deep-dive session of the day with a customer one-on-one.  We do them in the hotel lobby — our waiter brings plenty of napkins to doodle on, and lots of expresso. 

I’m exhausted.

This Is A Social Event

One of the things I really like about EMC World is that it’s turned into a very 2.0-ish event.  As just one example, my cohort Len Devanna has set up a Bloggers’ Lounge for anyone blogging at the show.  BTW, check out his post here that includes some great pics.

We also have a number of big monitors around the event showing the realtime twitterfeeds and photofeeds from the attendees (hashtag #emcworld). 

I’m also getting to meet many of my fellow bloggers — we’ve followed each other and conversed, but never really had a chance to meet face to face.  That’s great as well.

And it’s kind of strange when you’re talking to someone and all of the sudden they say “hey, you’re that blogger!”.  I’m not quite sure whether that’s a good thing or a not-so-good thing :-)

There’s A Certain Note Of Optimism

I think people are just plain tired of coping with a down economy.  More and more of the conversations I’m having are focused about planning for the future, rather than ratcheting down today’s expenses.

And, let’s face it, there’s so much new technology that’s now out there to build the IT infrastructure of the future.

Indeed, if you’ve been following my postings on “private cloud”, it was the dominant theme from Joe Tucci and Paul Maritz during the keynotes today.

No one I’ve met is moaning and groaning about how bad the economy might be.  That’s old news — let’s get busy building the future, shall we?

Will EMC Competitors Weigh In?

One of the things we’ve come to expect during EMC World is the inevitable attempt by our traditional competitors to rain on our parade in one aspect or another.

That’s not surprising — for most of this week, we’ll have the lion’s share of press coverage, blogger action, etc. 

While I can appreciate the rationale, most of the activities I’ve seen in the past appear to be relatively futile.  We’ll see what happens this year …

The Perennial Debate

One of the internal debates that we have every year is whether or not we should position the show as the de-facto event for the information infrastructure segment.

RSA has done that with their show.  VMware is in the process of doing that with their show. 

Is it time for EMC to do the same with EMC World?

I’d love to hear your comments …

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