What not to miss at HP Discover 2014 in Barcelona

Time sure does fly – HP Discover 2014 in Barcelona starts in just 3 days!  The event, which is held twice a year (US & EUROPE) is HP’s flagship user focused conference where new or updated products primarily get announced and showcased.  The gathering also provides the ability to interact with HP employees and our peers one on one, many meeting for the first time!  These event always provide an overwhelming amount of information one needs to take in and digest.  When I first started attending these types of conferences I would try to do everything – breakout sessions, labs, Vendor Demonstrations, meet my fellow peers, etc, etc… This method will certainly burn you out since it is impossible to do everything.  To make things easier I have put together some of the top things that interest me the most.  Hope this will help a few people!

1. THE BLOGGERS – Listed below are the Independent Industry Bloggers that will be writing about all of the hot topics at the event.  They will be providing updates and tweets at the speed of light so make sure to sort their updates before the event starts.  Visiting and talking to these guys should be on the top of the list as they are some of the most knowledgeable IT Professionals out.  They are always open to discussions so don’t by shy to walk right up to them and start collaborating.  I’ve met Nigel, Phil, Jeffrey, and Craig  in person and they are all great guys.  You can usually catch them in the Bloggers/Social media Lounge where they will participate in Coffee Talks with many HP employees that lead specific Technology areas.

Also, be sure to look out for HP Storage Social Media Guru and resident Conference Idaho Spud Distributor @HPStorageGuy, Calvin Zito who manages the HP Storage Blog.  He has been the quarterback for most of the Blogger events and has been a pleasure to work with, be sure to introduce yourself – you can easily locate him by his T-Shirt, trust me!

2. HP STORAGE – Undeniably the superstar of the company right now the storage portfolio lead by 3PAR has been growing and implemented into Data Centers that used to be dominated by NetApp and EMC.  Check out this agenda for HP Storage related activities to look at the sessions.  Also, make sure to take a more in depth look at the following developments:

  • New Improvements with MSA 2040 – With the recently added enhancements such as SSD Caching and Wide Striping, the 2040 is definitely something I will be looking at for my smaller clients going forward.  Check out Bart’s post on this.
  • 3PAR OS 3.2.1 – The latest OS release for HP’s most successful storage array.  3.2.1 introduces many great features including Inline deduplication, Express Writes, and Adaptive Flash Cache – Ivan’s Iannacone’s post goes over these in’s and out’s.  PS – Ivan is a speaker in one of the 3PAR sessions at Discover.  He’s a great speaker and can get very technical if need be.  Be sure to sign up and hear him speak.

3.  HP SPLIT – It will be good to hear about the status of the split of the company into two entities by its top executives.  I stubbornly believed that HP should have been kept whole and when Meg Whitman took over and halted the process of the PSG (Personal Systems Group) sale by Leo Apotheker it was positive news.  I guess all good things come to an end and the HP board tapped out and realized that HP as a whole is a bloated whale.  We shall see how it plays out and if this course will make both sides much more faster and nimble or more complicated than before.  This article from The Register gives a lot more details on the split.

4. HANDS ON LABS – The labs at HP Discover give you the chance to kick the tires and take the wheel on technologies such as 3PAR, StoreOnce, and Networking.  The sessions fill up fast so sign up quickly, if they are full don’t worry, the most popular labs usually have another class added or you can wait by the room to get on the “standby list”.  As far as I know you cannot take these labs all year round like VMware so make sure you make this a priority as Discover and sacrifice some of the breakout sessions if need be. <UPDATE- I’ve been told these are only available in the US conference.  There are some training and certification programs put on by HP ExpertOne, take some time to check these out>

5.  DISCOVER ZONE – Make sure you carve out several hours and a big bag to spend walking through the sea of presenting technology vendors that will shower you with “swag”.  VEEAM’s booth is usually where the “cool kids” hang out.  They always put on a great demo, drop by them and be sure to take a look at Version 8 of their products which was recently released.

6.  NDA BOOTH – Don’t miss this one and make sure you sign the Non-disclosure agreement when you sign up for the conference.  The booth is normally in a very discreet corner covered in black curtains.  Here you will have a chance to take an early look at new hardware and software that is on HP’s Roadmap.  This is always one of the most exciting things to see at the event but most people don’t know about it.

The key to keeping your sanity at these conferences is to organize yourself and mix things up as much as possible.  Many people leave these event feeling exhausted due to being un-organized and getting stressed figuring out how to prioritize sessions.  Make sure to plan it all out and have a “Plan B” for everything so you don’t have a make decisions on the fly.

Due to the rapid growth at the firm I am currently with I am unable to attend but will be following closely via livestream and providing thoughts and updates on this site!

-Justin Vashisht (3cVGuy)

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