The HP Discover Experience

Earlier this month, I attended the HP Discover tech forum held in Las Vegas.  With about 10,000 attendees, this is one of the larger technical conventions in the industry.  It covered new products, industry trends, and sprinkled in some top notch entertainment.  I thought I’d take some time to document my thoughts on the experience.

The Entertainment
Leading into several of the keynotes was comedian Jake Johannsen.  Jake did awesome, plain and simple.  He adapted his comedy to the techie crowd amazingly well.  I had never heard of him before HP Discover, but he was a total hit.  He’s apparently been on the David Letterman show more times than any other stand up comic.  I recommend queuing up his special “Jake Johannsen: I Love You” immediately.

In the closing keynote, the comedy kept rolling via Dana Carvey.  The chance to see comedy legend Dana Carvey in a private keynote ceremony do an hour of stand up is something I’m grateful to have been a part of.  While I would say he did not adapt to the techie crowd nearly as well as Jake did, he certainly did comedy justice.  He mixed his impressions (Hanz/Franz, George Bush(s), Church lady, etc.) well while focusing on current news and topics, and he did well to get the crowd involved.  Between Dana Carvey and Jake Johannsen, I laughed a lot more than I had expected to at such a techie conference.  Kudos to HP for booking these two!

Finally the entertainment festivities were capped off with a private concert by Paul McCartney at the MGM Grand.  Now, I’ve not previously been a big fan of Paul or the Beatles (I know, right?) – but the chance to see him in a private showing in Vegas is an opportunity I had to capitalize on.  While some others may have skipped due to early flights or [other Vegas activities] I made sure to take in his entire show.  Paul certainly didn’t disappoint – he played for 2 solid hours with plenty of energy.  The pinnacle of the show was “Live and Let Die” – It got the place jamming and embodied a full rock and roll spirit.  Paul certainly gained a new fan here.

The Conference
Moving on to the techie side of the trip…

HP used this conference to announce new products, new strategies, and new ways of thinking about I.T.  Most of the keynotes focused on having adaptive and scalable systems (read: cloud / private cloud) and using some cool new infrastructure enhancements to achieve that goal.  I learned about some new areas such as the benefits of 3PAR storage, HP’s Cloud Matrix management suite, and the basis of HP’s converged infrastructure.

Equally as interesting as the main keynotes were the breakout sessions.  There were hundreds of sessions to choose from.  From hands on labs, to deep dive keynotes, and new product announcements.  With my job, I focused on sessions related to storage, VMware, and HP Blade systems when scheduling.  Some of the sessions were refreshers while others enforced best practices that our team has already designed systems around.

I had one gem of a session that hit me out of the blue:  “Get hands on with Intel, mobile devices, and social networking”.  This was a session that I simply used as filler where I couldn’t find anything else relevant in my time slot.  It ended up really being my favorite breakout session of the trip.  I blogged about it in further detail here: if interested in an in-depth.  Short version:  A lab session focusing on remote access, P2P administrative meshing, and social network integration.  Very very cool.

Overall, HP Discover for me was a fantastic experience.  I had never been to Vegas, so it was fun to take in a little bit of Sin-City.  As far as Vegas was concerned, I got to check out the Hoover dam, walk the strip a couple times, and have some awesome food!  And overall, I met some great people and had a really great time…

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