Reflections on Edge 2016

September 23rd, 2016

Ron Gordon
Director – Power Systems

Just wrapping up at Edge 2016 in Las Vegas. Quite an event!

MGM Grand gave attendees lots of exercise in walking all across the MGM Grand Hotel. Over 6000 attendees were able to attend sessions on z, Storage, and Power with a large Expo area with over 40 vendors with a wide variety of offerings. In talking with many customers they had a very positive view of the event.

Now some comments.The Edge Conference for the first time was organized and run by IBM marketing and I think overall the results were positive. The “main tents” were definitely at the marketing/sales level with many customers presenting their success stories with IBM products. Some of these were excellent, but I think at times the teleprompter was obviously not running on a Power System. The event also integrated a large number of executive level sessions within the single agenda. In the past these CxO level sessions were outlined in an Executive Track which was easily identifiable. I think they need to bring back this organizational structure in the future.

Technical sessions, which have been the usual focus of Edge, were still done extremely well with many of the IBM and Business Partners being the SME speakers. Again, talking with customers, these sessions were excellent and provided the variety of topics they were looking forward to attending. I see the technical aspect of Edge continuing and the merger of z, Storage, and Power Systems at the conference provides our customers a “one-stop” environment to get a wide choice of technology updates, information, and future outlooks.

From a Power Systems perspective, I saw continued emphasis on AIX and IBM i while some of the new focus areas are in Cloud enablement and OpenSource databases. New announcements and emphasis was on the new Cloud models of the 850, 870, and 880, as well as Linux and the new Linux servers from OpenPower, and the emerging technology of BlockChain.

An aspect of Edge that is sometimes overlooked or not exploited fully is the ability of customers to interact with their peers. This can be in sessions, at breaks, at dinner, or at pre-arranged meetings. Consistently customers said this was of significant value.

As we move forward and have future/upcoming events like Edge and World of Watson we should all take a major advantage of this “interchange” opportunity.

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