This past week (June 11 – June 15) I had the opportunity to attend one of my vendor conferences for the first time in my career, and to make it even better, the conference was held in San Francisco! The conference was Pure Storage’s //Accelerate 2017. This was a three-day event filled with a lot of information and collaboration with other vendors. I’m told that this is smaller than other vendor conferences, but seeing as I have nothing to compare it to personally, it seemed pretty large to me.
First, I’d like to get the negatives out-of-the-way. The venue was…interesting. They held the event in what was previously an empty warehouse at Pier 70 (2), which gave it a nice juxtaposition with all the new high-tech hardware that was brought in for the conference; including the miles of cables and audio-visual equipment retrofitted for the presentations. The downside was that there was no running water within the building. As such they had to bring in portable toilets, albeit upscale ones, they were still undersized and not maintained very well; and at the end of the day they were still porta potties. Additionally this venue was rather far from the hotels they suggested that we book, which meant that we were relying on the bus schedule to go to and from the event. I feel it would have been better if the venue were more accessible to the accommodations. The session breakout rooms were an interesting take on the open concept that under other circumstances would probably have worked well. They were basically open sided shipping containers, which was a very nice tie in to the piers shipping history, but a poor choice for the sessions due to the high traffic area they were in. Sitting in one of these and attempting to listen to the presenter(s) was often difficult due to the high volume of background noise, even with their being some speakers configured within the space for amplification.
On the upside, I felt that the content provided, at least in the sessions I attended, was solid. I sat in on multiple sessions presented by industry experts such as Cody Hosterman (Twitter) and Pete Flecha (Twitter), both of whom I was looking forward to meeting, and was not let down. Additionally the third-party vendors that attended were all a good fit with the technology that Pure Storage develops, and the representatives that were on site for those vendors were all technologically knowledgeable for their respective products. In other words, they weren’t simply sales guys. The vendors all had some interesting swag and giveaways as well. I scored a couple of shirts (which make me a walking billboard, but still worth it) and some more interesting items; like an RC Car and a really nice UE Boom Bluetooth speaker that I am really looking forward to using. As I mentioned earlier the location of the venue in relation to the hotels was not ideal, and this lead me to believe there would be an issue with food as well; this was not the case however, as each day they had a number of food trucks that we could choose from. We were provided with tickets that we could redeem at the trucks for lunch. Later in the afternoon different trucks would return and provide strolling hors d’oeuvre that allowed for a further sampling of local street cuisine, and honestly, the food was incredible.
During the conference Pure also handed out the Accelerator Award:
The award recognizes Pure customers whose business transformation is accelerating the adoption of new storage infrastructures and operating models in their respective industries.
While I was attending as an employee of AAA-ACG, I could not help but feel a sense of pride when my former employer, Secure-24, was presented with this award. After all, I was part of the company last year when they adapted and implemented the technology, and honestly I still feel very close to the team their.
Secure-24 … for delivering the highest levels of secure application hosting while providing one of the industry’s most stringent SLAs to a steadily expanding customer base.
Secure-24 is an industry leader in IT operations, application hosting and managed cloud services to enterprises worldwide. It has standardized on Pure Storage, and every time a customer is moved onto Pure, performance improvements of 3x-10x have been realized. This has allowed Secure-24 to strengthen its SLAs, encouraging customers to confidently outsource additional workloads.
Recipient: Scott McIsaac, Chief Infrastructure Officer
In total I was in San Francisco for four days. This could have been cut down but there was some miscommunication and understanding about the conference in general. While the conference was three days long, the first day (Monday) was vendor and partner only, of which we are neither. This meant that I ended up with Monday to myself as I do not yet have the ability to work remotely, both in terms of not having a laptop and not having VPN access. So I was able to take in some sightseeing on Monday, and considering this was my first time in California as a whole, i did take advantage of this. I took a guided bus tour of San Francisco which included a trip across the Golden Gate Bridge. I also visited the famous Pier 39 and FIsherman’s Wharf, both of which were pretty neat and would require further exploration. While on Pier 39 I also took advantage of (thanks to Melissa’s persuasion) a boat tour of the San Francisco Bay which included a closer pass by of Alcatraz Island! The next time I get to take a trip out to San Fran. I fully intend to take a tour of Alcatraz in addition to spending more time on the piers! Also on this short boat tour we went over to K Dock and saw the famous Sea Lions! Additionally, I would like to have the time to look around the fort locations near the Golden Gate Bridge, this alone could take multiple days! I also saw, but did not ride, the cable cars. I think I made the most of the unexpected free time that I had, but it made me realize that I need to add San Francisco to the long list of places to visit with Melissa and Kylie!
All in all I’d say it was a very good trip. The conference, overall, I thought was very good. That being said, I am not sure if I would attend this one again next year. While I am a huge fan of Pure Storage and their products, their products are currently limited. They perform great, and are very easy to use in comparison to other vendors, but it will take some new products or maybe additional industry disruptions on their part to deem a trip to this conference necessary again. What it has done, however, is made me even more interested in attending other vendor conferences. Both for the comparison and the networking and knowledge acquisition. I’m looking forward to seeing what the next year brings and how the industry evolves.