I am waiting for my first session to start for Day 4 so I figured I’d write up my thoughts on Day 3 and a few other things I have noticed so far at the conference.
I have been disappointed with the food provided and how it is provided. Rows of tables are set up full of food, but instead of just being able to get to a table and get food typically the attendees have been herded like cattle past full tables of food to other tables. The food kind of sucks as well. Yesterday was a “Cold Buffet,” which in itself could have been alright but not when you serve fried chicken on your cold buffet. Fried chicken is not a food you should not serve cold.
Second- Expo floor.
I finally had a few hours to spend going through the expo floor yesterday, and I have a few issues with it. First, the expo hall is massive. I walked around for two hours, and I’m sure I did not see everything. However, there are very few signs around to give you much of a sense of direction in the room. I do like the Theater sessions that are on the expo floor. There are about 3 or 4 of these areas around the edges of the expo floor that has presentation area/seating for these short 20-30 minute presentations about a wide variety of things.
Overall, in terms of what vendors are there, I see a lot of Office related things, which I understand is a large part of Microsoft’s push and so these vendors align with that goal, but there is not a lot of infrastructure vendors. Of course, HP and Dell are around, but everyone knows about HP and Dell. I was hoping to find a few companies that provide storage as we expand our storage at work fairly frequently. But in terms of storage, Nimble, NetApp was about the only people that I saw that were storage-specific. Now there may be more, but this goes back to my point of how I do not feel the expo floor is set up in a great way.
I did speak to a few vendors and got some things taken care of; I was able to stop by the Double-Take both and talk to their people and get some issues worked out with their software that we just purchased. Side note: If you are looking for ESX to Hyper-V migration solution go check out Double-Take’s offerings it is some fantastic stuff. Just do not have CDW do it for you, they ended up getting us the wrong software/licenses for what we needed, and it was a much bigger hassle than it should have been. Mostly CDW’s fault and not Double-Takes, although their license and overlap of features between their software kind of lends to a bit of confusion.
Third – Sessions.
The sessions today were okay, but several of the things that I went to and my co-workers went to were heavily focused on new technologies that were being developed, which is excellent, except I have not been told hard dates on anything and considering all of the speakers were Microsoft employees I am somewhat disappointed. Not much stuff that I saw that I would be able to take back to the Office next week and use to improve my skill sets or my environment. Future tech is cool, but once again, I want tech now that will better me and my environment. I can find out about new technology that is coming from online sources just as easily without the cost of a conference ticket, travel, and lodging to get here.
Fourth- Ignite App
The mobile app for Ignite sucks. Ideally, the app is supposed to be a quick and easy place for me to find my current schedule, other sessions that are going on, check out speaker info, vendor info and other things that relate to the conference. The issue is unless I put my phone in airplane mode the app launches, gives me whatever ad of the day and them promptly crashes — all-day long. During a good chunk of day one, the session calendar was not even working at all. I am really not impressed.
At the end of day 3, I am still happy that I came to Ignite this year, but it is still not everything I expected, and there yet has been anything that got me super excited that I will be able to use soon.