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A Walk Through Cloud Expo

Navigating the terrain of booths and break-out sessions

Last Wednesday I had the distinct honor of being part of one of Jeremy Geelan's Panel of Expert segments at the 7th International Cloud Expo in Santa Clara. To be honest, when I got the email, despite the pleasure of being considered to present my trade, I was not too excited about visiting another series of booths and presentations that was more of the same.

It's been two years since my last visit to a technology trade show, I know... I know...what was I thinking ?!

Imagine my loss from not participating in the deluge of suave marketing and sales pitches that comes around several times a year,with the "we have the answers to all your technology needs" chorus by devout technology vendors, I must have practically faced a tidal wave of withdrawal from this self imposed exile....

Arriving late, I braced myself for mass confusion and perhaps harried and annoyed staff. This stemming from experiences at other technology events. On arriving however and much to my surprise, I found the event well organised, with staff that were extremely courteous and knowledgeable.

There were also some world-class researchers, technologists and presenters in the lineup and one member of staff even walked me to a venue without hesitance, when she noticed me staring down the breakout map in consternation.

Suffice it to say as I move into my new role at a Big Four firm, my calender will be blocked for the 2011 series of Sys-Con Cloud Expos, at least for the breakout sessions.

Whilst I did not visit all sessions that were offered, some constrained by time others by choice, sessions that stood out were those by GoGrid, Unisys, Rackspace, Amazon & SAP. Of course as a technologist I expected more from Amazon; however SAP true to its reputation had a renowned researcher-its Chief Security Advisor/ Head of Security Strategy present an extremely engaging technical discussion on Cloud Security.

As a researcher of client solutions, I will be remiss if I don't mention one startup that really impressed me. This company in my opinion will emerge as a leader within the new technology space when the dust settles. It's name is Tilera and they are the producers of the manycore processor series; I actually made it to their booth on reference from a real-time traffic intelligence expert, whose primary aim at this Expo was to look at their systems.

Based on the stellar presentations I was able to attend by smaller firms, I found myself wanting to hear what the bigger players were doing. Unfortunately, at least from those of us on the observation deck, the two that I attended seemed unable to hook their anchor and appeared to be filling space with buzzwords and generic information. No, I will not name names...yet. But I will say that after one presentation from an established company that launched its cloud offering a while aback; 8 out of the 10 people I spoke to after were not very impressed. The other two were indifferent.

I must confess that it is my M.O. to typically avoid the cacophony of sales pitches, glossy pictures and the self-anointed experts, more so when they are plugging their version of a mass promoted product,  in a seemingly desperate attempt to claim a piece of the "gravy train" product of the moment.

As a result, typically and maybe out of habit over the years, I find myself gravitating to the engineers and technicians who actually handle the products and know their merits and limitations from real world implementations - People I can actually learn something from, who don't repeat the brochure verbatim to me and who generally knows what will or will not work in any given situation.

In fact, one presenter almost had me falling off my chair with his intensity and obviously mirror rehearsed "speech," another told me offhandedly ,"oh you represent the customers interest", when he asked what I did.....well I do! Everyone is a customer at one point in time; and all customers always want the best deal for their money.

In these instances, should I dare infringe on their space as they regurgitate their well practised presentations?

Or as a technologist, should I obviate their omniscience and suggest solutions that are practical to any one customer's need, which in turn could then be implemented to ensure proper OPEX utilization?

Not I said the rabbit as he jumped down the hole.....Alice? Well...

More Stories By Jon Shende

Jon RG Shende is an executive with over 18 years of industry experience. He commenced his career, in the medical arena, then moved into the Oil and Gas environment where he was introduced to SCADA and network technologies,also becoming certified in Industrial Pump and Valve repairs. Jon gained global experience over his career working within several verticals to include pharma, medical sales and marketing services as well as within the technology services environment, eventually becoming the youngest VP of an international enterprise. He is a graduate of the University of Oxford, holds a Masters certificate in Business Administration, as well as an MSc in IT Security, specializing in Computer Crime and Forensics with a thesis on security in the Cloud. Jon, well versed with the technology startup and mid sized venture ecosystems, has contributed at the C and Senior Director level for former clients. As an IT Security Executive, Jon has experience with Virtualization,Strategy, Governance,Risk Management, Continuity and Compliance. He was an early adopter of web-services, web-based tools and successfully beta tested a remote assistance and support software for a major telecom. Within the realm of sales, marketing and business development, Jon earned commendations for turnaround strategies within the services and pharma industry. For one pharma contract he was responsibe for bringing low performing districts up to number 1 rankings for consecutive quarters; as well as outperforming quotas from 125% up to 314%. Part of this was achieved by working closely with sales and marketing teams to ensure message and product placement were on point. Professionally he is a Fellow of the BCS Chartered Institute for IT, an HITRUST Certified CSF Practitioner and holds the CITP and CRISC certifications.Jon Shende currently works as a Senior Director for a CSP. A recognised thought Leader, Jon has been invited to speak for the SANs Institute, has spoken at Cloud Expo in New York as well as sat on a panel at Cloud Expo Santa Clara, and has been an Ernst and Young CPE conference speaker. His personal blog is located at http://jonshende.blogspot.com/view/magazine "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act, but a habit."

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