EMC World 2014: short week and too much to do

It’s that time of the year again: EMC World

15 Thousand nerds gathering in Las Vegas for the yearly week of EMC propaganda. That’s what a lot of people might think it is anyway. It’s the 2014th edition… that doesn’t sound right. Ehm, oh well, you get my drift. Well, maybe it is nerd-week, but hey: every vendor who thinks they’re the best in something is doing this sort of events and besides that, it’s a great event to meet people you haven’t seen in a year or so.

Social networking in real life

Social networking, gathering knowledge of things to come, looking for solutions to challenges you already have in your normal day jobs, looking for insights in things on your wish list. Bacon, unicorns, hardware and a loooot of “software”, since that’s the trend since a few years. No matter how you explain it:

IT is in Las Vegas, baby!

So one example of how that week might look like is what I’ve got planned. At least, it’s an estimate. I’m not bound to anything, but certain sessions, discussions and meetings are set in stone.

Saturday May 3 will be known as “travel day”. Departure from Düsseldorf at around 9:45AM CEST, Germany. Layover in Chicago and arriving in LAS at around 4:45PM PST. I’m hoping a few friends will arrive on time at around the same time so we can go out, visit Fremont Street this time (we didn’t go last year), take a peek into the old Las Vegas and probably head back towards the Venetian for a decent dinner.

Sunday will be meeting day. As a member of the eServices Customer Council we have things to discuss, drink coffee and eat waffles and that’s what the Sunday is for. Some of the other Dutchies will probably go out to the Valley of Fire by jeep, which is nice and they’ll probably get sun-burned as well. An impression of what that looks like can be seen in my post from last year. The VoF that is, not the sun-burn, which I didn’t get.

After our meeting we’ll probably head to the registration desks to get all the goodies and shirts and bags with VMAXs and VNXs and that so important back-pack to be able to carry all that stuff around all week.

In the evening the Dutch Delegation will have their opening reception in “Serendipity 3 in the Caesars Palace Hotel & Casino” across the street from the Venetian. It’ll be a welcome time to relax a little and get pumped for the week ahead as well!

Monday will start for me with a session on the new VNX family: systems and architecture (after breakfast that is, because you don’t want to pass out during any of the sessions). The presenter on this topic is Mike Gore, who accidentally visited me at work in February and I showed him something like 20 or 25 real (old) castles in Southern Limburg in the Netherlands, because that’s where I live.

Then at ten is the big super-show led by Joe Tucci and David Goulden. If you want any of the good seats, make sure you’re there early, because it’s on a first come, first serve policy.

In the early afternoon the EMC Elect, VMware vExpert, SAP Mentors and Cisco Champions will be headed to Switch Supernap (8) data center once again. Last year we visited number 7 and now it’s time to see how much they’ve improved in their brand new number 8. I’m sure it’s going to be exciting.

At 4:30 it’s the top secret Area 52 session. cameras aren’t allowed in, but who’s going to notice it when I sneak in with my little pocket camera? Hahaha, I’m such a paparazzo!

At 6PM there will be a discussion led by “Ms EMC Education” (and Proven Professional), Kate H on the topic of certification and why you should (or shouldn’t) pursue some sort of certification. I’ll be in the panel with my colleague Vincze Gijenes and my friend Allen Ward (and a few others as well to make things a little more interesting). Since at 6 the Solutions Arcade is also opening with food and drinks, I’m sure we’ll be headed that way after the “meaning of life certification” discussion. For the EMC Elect there will be a few challenges that evening, but I’d like to vaguely describe these as Irish Yoga. Go ahead and Google that! At 10PM Ms Amy Lewis, aka @CommsNinja will lead a gathering of social nerds at a limited seats Waffle and Chicken event at the Grand Lux inside the Venetian.

If I survive the Monday, my Tuesday will start with me doing an exam. Yes really! I have two pending certifications waiting to go live, but I need an underlying cert to make that happen, so yeah, I’m nervous as hell! I hope to be done with that formality before 10, since at that time the general session led by Pat Gelsinger (VMware) and Paul Maritz (Pivotal) will start. There will be some lounging in the Elect lounge with special guests talking about Flash Gordon (he was in that silly SciFi movie in the late 70s with a nice song by Queen, the rock band, not the leader of England!). It seems that Mr Gordon made his comeback in the storage world and every vendor wants to offer this guy a contract to speeds things up when it comes to serving I/O. I don’t understand a bit of what that means, so I’m very curious about this session (I am more a Star Wars kinda guy). There will be a barista too and since I like coffee, that’s probably a good thing. At 4:30PM there’s another UFO event called Area 53 with more aliens and light sabers and who knows, maybe Flash Gordon Live (is he still alive?), very cool!

At 6:15PM the famous knowledge sharing award show will be presented and I just like to go over there to applaud to all those smart people who write fancy tech books and stuff.

And at 7 there’s this nice EMC Elect (+1) party in the Dal Toro in the Palazzo. They have these nice cars and it’s supposed to be very fancy! This party will be extended after 8PM to include other ECN members, so if you’re active on ECN (that’s the EMC forum), you’re welcome to join us there! If you want to join and don’t have that access wrist band, reach out to me or Sean Thulin and we’ll help you to get in there. On this page or even better: this page you can get more details of this awesome party!

Wednesday is the last full day to see sessions you really want to visit. I’ll go over to the Social Village to meet Chuck Hollis and Steve Todd. There’s no Area 54 this day, but instead we will all turn into aliens at the EMC Elect only party in our own lounge. Food, drinks, baristas (or just one, I don’t know actually), some lost bloggers and great people to talk to. And right before the day’s top show the Dutch Delegation will have a happy hour in the V-bar and we’ll have a chance to practice our Dutch language skills again (you’re welcome to join, Allen, since you’re now almost Dutch). At 8PM the doors to the big stage open up (maybe a bit earlier too, since it always seems that I’m a bit late when I arrive) and we will be fed and entertained by no other than the “Imagine Dragons“. The name didn’t really ring a bell, but after browsing YouTube I found out that they are quite famous and made lots of well-known songs too! So yes, I’m looking forward to that!

Thursday is only half a day but nevertheless a day with interesting sessions and time to visit the Solutions Arcade for those final techy nerdy questions of stuff you didn’t find in the books, no matter how hard you looked or googled. In the afternoon we might be heading towards Frey’s shopping mall with the Dutch Delegation. And since I need a few new jeans I just might join them on that trip. Afterwards there will be an hour to relax from all that shopping in the V-bar and the rest of the evening we’re free to go. We’ll probably end up having steak or ribs at Gilley’s across the streets. A lovely bar with great music and nice people.

Friday is my only full day off. No meetings, no sessions, no EMC World. Wait? Did I say that? Is it already over on the Friday? Oh noooo! I guess I’ll have to look for some tourist attraction thing to do then. I’ve (sort of) planned a trip to a national park in “the area” and since we (Mark Browne, Allen Ward and myself) went to the Valley of Fire last year, watching hot rock baking in the sun with eagles circling over our heads and liking it a lot too, we might be driving over to Zion National Park or Bryce Canyon. It’s a serous option to go there, but it’s a 2.5 – 3 hour drive, but people say it’s worth it. I’m looking forward to this road trip!

Saturday May 10 is travel day again and Vincze and I will be flying home. I’ll be arriving home on Sunday at around 3PM CEST so there’s some time left for mother’s day too!

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