I go to a gazillion conferences a year – I’ve seen every tired old 80’s and 90’s band dragged out of the freezer for a guest appearance, every ex-military or government figure paraded in front of an adoring crowd, every CEO explain just how she (or he) will personally change the world, end hunger while still remaining the most humble and balanced person on earth. Don’t get me wrong, I love attending events and meeting people and all that, but sometimes they’re a little… scripted.

So it is going to be interesting to attend a very different sort of event next week. Cloud Field Day is a cloud-centric (hence the name, duh!) event put on by Stephan Foskett and the team at GestaltIT. The idea of these field days (and there are many versions – tech Field Days, Mobile Field Days, Data Field Days etc) is to get a dozen or so subject matter experts in a room, and have vendors come and spend extended time with them to “go deep” on products, services, strategies and direction.

Rather than being talked to by some stuffed shirt marketing person, the idea is to have attendees really engage with presenters over the event. I’ve not been to one of GestaltIT’s events before, but have heard good things watching from afar.

The event next week has a dozen delegates, and refreshingly a good number of them are from outside of the US which will increase the language and perspective diversity on board. In an awesome departure from the norm for a technology event, there is also a smattering of gender diversity on board – not as much as I’d like to see, but at least the room won’t be completely stale, pale and male.

There are nine companies presenting to us over the event including some interesting blasts from the past (kind of). The companies are:

  1. Accerlerite – accelerite.com
  2. Gigamon – gigamon.com
  3. Hewlett Packard Enterprise – hpe.com
  4. NetApp – netapp.com
  5. Nimble Storage – nimblestorage.com
  6. Nirmata – nirmata.com
  7. Platform9 – platform9.com
  8. Rubrik – rubrik.com
  9. Scality – scality.com
  10. ServiceNow – servicenow.com

Accelrite is an interesting one. Many people will remember CLoudSTack, the open source cloud operating system which some suggest was a better version of OpenStack. Citrix was big on CloudStack via its acquisition of Cloud.com but decided to go a different direction and sold it off awhile ago. Accelerite is the result. I’m interested to see whether CloduStack still has legs.

I have, obviously, a pretty checkered history with HPE. I mean it’s been an awesome company historically and pretty much created Silicon Valley. But in recent years it has seemingly been a huge pile of fail, especially when it comes to its attempts to become a meaningful cloud player. Multiple launches and relaunches of its OpenStack product, followed by it carving off both the OpenStack and CloudFoundry products has created confusion. They’re essentially a hardware company, in the throes of some serious asset stripping and I’m not sure what their future looks like.

NetApp is an interesting one. A company I’d also categorize as a legacy vendor, but one who has done some good things (like acquiring hot solid state storage startup Solidfire.) WOrryingly, much of the smart SOlidfire DNA has already “left the building” and NetApp needs to show us that it can innovate and move on from simply selling storage boxes.

Platfomr9 and Rubrik are doing good things and I’m looking forward to catching up with them both. Scality is a company I’ve known for the longest time so, again, it’ll be good to reacquaint.

As I said, I’m a newcomer to these events, but I believe the aim is to create some content that the wider public can share. it’s an interesting model and I’m looking forward to seeing how it pans out. No doubt I’ll be covering it extensively on Twitter!

Ben Kepes

Ben Kepes is a technology evangelist, an investor, a commentator and a business adviser. Ben covers the convergence of technology, mobile, ubiquity and agility, all enabled by the Cloud. His areas of interest extend to enterprise software, software integration, financial/accounting software, platforms and infrastructure as well as articulating technology simply for everyday users.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.