This week I'm attending the Power Systems Technical University at the Rio in Las Vegas to present the usual set of topics I cover at conferences such as this-–IBM i performance tools and performance management topics. I have a very busy week with 11 sessions over the five days.
Attendance is very good and the mood of the conference is positive. This conference covers “all things Power”, which means general Power sessions, sessions on AIX, Linux, and IBM i, as well storage sessions. Topical areas are broad and include availability, systems management, performance, security, virtualization, new technologies and more. While the AIX attendees outnumber the i attendees, many IBM i'ers are here. Tracy Smith held a session on “IBM i Trends and Directions” in a large room and it was full! It was great to see the interest and attendance.
The opening session speakers were Rod Adkins and Susan Schreitmueller. Rod's part of the presentation was what you'd expect from an IBM executive speaker-–an update on our products and overall directions for Power Systems servers. Susan gave an interesting presentation that pulled examples from past technology to relate to future potential. She's been working in areas in Africa and gave examples of how technology is being used in these underdeveloped areas of the world; it's quite different than what we'd assume.
Twittering has been encouraged and the tag of #ibmtechu can be searched to find all tweets coming from the conference. I will admit that I find tweeting unnatural, so I haven't been active on Twitter this week.
At this conference, as with the fall COMMON conference, the attendees in my sessions are mostly now on 6.1. The other thing that I have observed with this conference is the interest in IBM Systems Director. Most of the people I've talked with have told me that they keep hearing about Director from IBM, so they now realize they need to start learning about it.
The format of this conference is a lot like that of the COMMON conference; many different tracks that run in parallel with sessions that are 75 minutes long. There's a “Solution Center” which is like the Expo at COMMON. One main difference is the COMMON conference has events most evenings of the conference-–the “Power Down” events. This conference doesn't offer that type of community-building social time.
One final thing, I often get an odd look when I'm setting up my laptop before I speak, followed by the observation, “I didn't know they let IBMers use a Mac!” Yes, I am a Mac user, and IBM does have a program to use Macs for work. I generally reply that I love my Mac for many of the same reasons I love the i--“it's all in there” and it's reliable and just works. And the folks in the audience generally nod their heads in understanding.