I had a great time in Hong Kong this last week. Pleasant people, beautiful scenery, and OpenStack too. In reality, I was actually there for the OpenStack Summit that heralded the Havana release of the ever-growing cloud platform. But the people and scenery of Hong Kong will have a lasting affect on me as well. I’ll have a little more on the people and scenery later.
What I’d like to cover first are the 3 kinds of visitors encountered at the NetApp booth at OpenStack Summit:
- Can I have a T-Shirt??? – I like these folks. There is no doubt that part of ranking a tradeshow is measuring the overall take in booty. Pens, helicopters, flashy things, noisy things, ducks, you name it. But everyone’s favorite thing is the T-shirt – especially if it displays techie humor or something snarky. Face it, nothing shows your colleagues (read: rubs it in!!) that you got to go somewhere that they didn’t better than a t-shirt. No one wants to be dragged back to someone’s desk just show off a pen they got from a vendor they’ve never heard of.. You can walk around the office with pride for the next few days after the show. Unless of course you intentionally packed light for the trip, knowing (read: hoping) there would be T-shirts to be collected and worn at the show.
- What is NetApp doing with OpenStack??? – I like these folks too. They’re genuinely curious as to what an enterprise storage company is doing with a cloud platform that joyously shuns non-commodity everything. They’re also seriously surprised (impressed?) to know the contributions made by NetApp. But they’re also my favorite kind of visitor simply because they’re not afraid to ask any question and the conversations are typically longer than your standard 2 minute of talk/listen/have-to-go-meet-my-boss-now. And of course, they finish with, “Can I have a T-shirt???”
- Why is NetApp here???? – Truth be told, I really do like these folks too. Sure, it can be a challenge convincing a hard-core anti-non-commodity (is that a word? it reminds me of antidisestablishmentarianism…) person that NetApp is the right tool for the job in many scenarios. I try to maintain credibility by honestly agreeing to the notion that NetApp isn’t always the answer regarding OpenStack. As I’ve said in other posts, “better” is determined by use case. The fact that I can speak intelligently about Gluster and Ceph helps out too, but mostly I like the challenge of convincing the “Why is NetApp here?” person that we’re worthy of consideration or even the booth space. Sometimes that’s a bridge too far. But then again, I can still offer a T-shirt.
Ok, so that takes me back to the people and the scenery.. I actually have a picture that seems to capture all of it in one place:
I’m at the “Big Buddha”, wearing my tradeshow t-shirt, and the picture was taken by some locals that stopped me when it was clear that my ‘selfie’ wasn’t working out.. Scenery, people, and techie t-shirts.