This week was my first time attending Oracle Open World. So, I don’t have a previous year to compare it to. However, I have attended several other shows this year, including Cisco Live and VMworld. So, I’ll possibly include that perspective.
First, I have to say that the Oracle show presence was all over San Francisco. There was plenty to do after the sessions ended and exhibit hall closed. I haven’t seen anything like it. Neighborhood after neighborhood included venues sponsored by Oracle hosting live music events during the evenings. And when you include the fact that most vendors held their own parties, there was no end to socializing and having fun. I’m no longer the party animal that I thought I was in high school. And I don’t drink alcohol. So, I won’t be much help describing any other social venues on this post.
I did attend our VIP event at AT&T Park and it was pretty cool. We had the baseball park all to ourselves and our customers and partners. Great weather, good food, pitching booths, batting cages, tours of the stadium, autographs from players, and the opportunity to run the bases made our event a lot of fun. I even got my own personalized baseball card. I understand it might be valuable in 20 years... to my family. One comment in particular that I really appreciated was from one of our partners. He said, “NetApp always offers excellent, well planned, tasteful events.” What more would you want to hear from a partner?
At the show, NetApp’s booth was positioned right in front of the entrance doors. As a result, our mini-theater was really well attended. We had standing room only crowds. Partially due to the fact that we only had 8 chairs. But, honestly, the topics were relevant and well received. Topics included an overview of an Agile Data Infrastucture, Data ONTAP Clustering technology, advances in FlexPod, our full stack solution with Cisco, and even presentations from our partners. I gave 8 presentations at the mini-theater on the concepts and benefits of an Agile Data Infrastructure and crowds gathered quickly. Maybe it was just because the SmartBoards we used were impressive. But, I don’t think that was it. We had great t-shirts to give away. The real reason is that organizations are looking for new ways to accelerate their business success and IT needs to be an enabler to better decision making and to accelerate product and service development. An Agile Data Infrastructure delivers that added value.
NetApp also had other presentations from some of our experts and customers during the general speaking sessions. I attended a session hosted by Dave Hitz along with two customers, AT&T and CERN. Both customers have deployed Data ONTAP 8 Clustering to enable storage environments that deliver non-disruptive operations. They love the fact that they can scale their environments non-disruptively and provide that same level of service even during upgrades and servicing. It’s a real testament to how our customers are benefiting from advances in the most popular storage operating system, Data ONTAP. For Oracle users, this is particularly meaningful since so much mission critical data is transacted and accessed using Oracle databases.
AT&T runs their WiFi business with NetApp storage. They have grown dramatically over the last several years and currently have over 30,000 hot spots worldwide, making them one of the largest service providers of WiFi hotspots. And they collect all of their data on their networks using NetApp storage.
CERN is the science organization that claims to have discovered the Higgs boson particle. If you haven’t seen our video on what CERN does, you need to check it out here. The amount of data they generate on an annual basis is staggering. Over 150 million sensors gather data on each collision. They generate petabytes of data each second during a collision event. And all of the accelerator databases are stored on NetApp systems. If the databases go offline, the accelerator stops. Can’t happen. So, they rely on NetApp. Pretty cool stuff.
Supposedly, the Oracle show had over twice the number of attendees as VMworld. But, it didn’t feel like it. And that might be because they made use of more venues and had more sessions? Not sure. But, the overall presence of the show, including the number of venues and visibility throughout San Francisco was definitely huge.
One observation that continues to surprise me is that even though NetApp is currently the number two storage player in the modular storage market, many IT professionals still know little about us. I actually think this is a positive thing. Because the companies that know us, love us. As a marketing professional, I still have lots of work to do to get the word out. And with so many potential customers waiting to be wowed by what we do, the market opportunity is still very, very high. Which means tremendous room for growth.
For those who attended OOW this year, I’d like to get your perspective on the show. Leave a comment and let me know what you thought. What you liked, and what you missed.