Well, EMC World 2011 has come and gone and contrary to several of my co-workers expectations – I survived! Why the doubts you may ask? To start, I had never been to Las Vegas, and those who know me personally thought I probably wouldn’t come back – in all honesty I had doubts myself. There was speculation that I had been thrown in the trunk of the car by mid-week (Thank you Jason Nash! http://jasonnash.wordpress.com/ ) as well as the “he’s going to run off with a pair of exotic dancers for a month” rumors (my personal favorite!). Well – sorry guys – I beat the odds and came back home in one piece, albeit $300 light in the wallet due to the Black Jack tables but not too bad overall.
So enough about wine, women and gambling – on to the event! I arrived Sunday afternoon thanks to a 7:30AM flight (yeah, not doing that again) and I’m envisioning a desert environment – hot and sunny when I arrive…… WRONG! More like 40 mph winds and 55 degrees with rain on and off. If it weren’t for the 50+ slot machines in the terminal I would have sworn the pilot smoked some crack and hung a right for Michigan somewhere along the route (it was Delta after all). I finally got checked in and made my way over to the convention hall to get registered. First impression – this place is huge!
The focus this year was “Cloud Meets Big Data”. To tell you something most of you already know – data is growing faster than ever and is only going to get worse on and exponential scale. Of this data growth around 90% is unstructured (file) data. So what are you going to do to manage all that filesystem growth? EMC is hoping you buy some of their stuff of course!
Overall the event was very well organized and executed. To give you a rough idea of the scale of the event there were:
– Over 6000 EMC customers present
– Over 1000 EMC Partners
– Participants came in from 103 Countries
– 500+ sessions
Sessions were done on a first come first sever basis which worked really well compared to the last VMworld event I attended where you had to pre-register then stand in line for every session. Due to the size of the venue and the session rooms only 1 of the many sessions I attended was even close to out of space. As much as I’d love to go into detail about the sessions there were over 500 of them so I won’t even try. Let just say there was something for everyone regardless of your area of interest. With all the new products that EMC has launched in the past few months the VNX line of mid-range storage is arguably the biggest. Many of the sessions I attended were centered on this new line of arrays. Other sessions of interest for me were around Avamar/DataDomain and the new Isilon product line.
When we weren’t getting our EMC learn on it was dinner with customers, vendor after parties and losing my posterior at the Black Jack tables. The highlight of the week would have to be the Chad’s World (Chad Sakac) presentation/party on Wednesday night followed by a live performance by The Fray later that night. The Chad’s World presentation in the main hall was a full on production full of live “Face Melting Demo’s”, customer testimonials, FREE BEER and drinking games (no lie)! I wish I could tell you about the performance of The Fray but I didn’t get a chance to make it due to other engagements. From what I heard it was a killer concert though.
Outside of the sessions, the vendor/sponsor hall was awesome. I’m not sure how many total booths there were but it took hours to go through them all. Anything and everything pertaining to technology was present. Whether it be security, virtualization, backup, storage….. whatever your area of interest – there was something there for you. Not to mention it was a great place for food, drinks, prizes and give-aways. EMC even hired a world champion trick shot (pool) guy for one of their booths that was incredible to watch.
This having been my first EMC World and first trip to Vegas I give the entire experience a score of 9 out of 10. It would have been a 9.5 or 10 if I hadn’t lost $300 gambling. From a reseller standpoint some of the information in the sessions was review just due to the amount of internal education we get directly from EMC as a partner. Looking at it from a customer standpoint though, it is an incredible way to really find out about what EMC has to offer and how to better utilize EMC products you may already have.
As a follow-up to this I’ll be posting some various links as I get them so you can get more information on the event and the products.