Like IT Data Centers Do You Take Trade Show Exhibit Infrastructure For Granted?

August 11, 2017 – 9:57 am
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Do You Take Trade Show Exhibit Infrastructure For Granted?

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Think about this for a moment; do you assume that Information Technology (IT) and Cloud based data centers along with their associated Data Infrastructure supporting various applications will be accessible when needed. Likewise, when you go to a trade show, conference, symposium, user group or another conclave is it assumed that the trade show, exposition (expo), exhibits, booths, stands or demo areas will be ready, waiting and accessible?

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Fire Disrupts Flash Memory Summit Conference Exhibits

This past week at the Flash Memory Summit (FMS) conference trade show event in Santa Clara California, what normally would be taken for granted (e.g. expo hall and exhibits) were disrupted. The disruption (more here and here) was caused by an early morning fire in one of the exhibitor’s booths (stand) in the expo hall (view some photos here via Toms Hardware.com).

Fortunately, nobody was hurt, at least physically, and damage (physically) appears to have been isolated.

However while the key notes, panels, and other presentations did take place as part of the show must go on, the popular exhibit expo hall did not. Granted for some people who only attend conferences or seminar events for the presentation content, lack of the exhibition hall simply meant no free giveaways.

On the other hand, for those who attend events like FMS mainly for the exhibition hall experience, the show did not go on, perhaps resulting in a trip in vain (e.g. how you might be able to recoup some travel costs in some scenarios) for some people. For example, those who were attending to meet with a particular vendor, see a product technology, conduct some business or other meetings, do an interview, video, podcast, take some photos, or simply get some free stuff were disrupted.

Likewise those behind the scenes, from conference organizers, event staff not to mention the vendor’s sponsors who put resources (time, money, people, and equipment) into an exhibit were disrupted. Vendors were still able to issue their press releases and conduct their presentations, keynotes, panel discussions, however what about the lack of the expo.

Do We Take Data and Event Infrastructures For Granted

This begs the question of if trade show exhibits still have value, or can an event function without one?

I am not sure as some events can and do stand on their merit with presentation content being the primary focus, others the expo is the draw, many are hybrid with a mix of both.

A question and point of this piece is that how many people take conferences in general, and exhibits along with their associated Infrastructure for granted?

How many know or understand the amount of time, money, people resources and various tradecraft skills across different disciplines go into event planning, staging, coordination, the execution, so they occur?

This also ties into the theme of how many people only think and assume that IT data centers and clouds along with their data Infrastructure resources, services are available supporting applications along with data access to give information?

The same holds true for your telephone (plain old telephone system [POTS] and cellular or mobile) service, gas, electric, sewer, water, waste (garbage), traditional or network based television, internet provider, highways, railroads, airports, the list goes on.

Where To Learn More

Learn more about related technology, trends, tools, techniques, and tips with the following links.

What This All Means

The good news is that nobody physically was injured this past week.

Granted some may have incurred emotional, monetary or public and marketing related injuries, however, those can be dealt with over time.

My point is, do we assume too much (perhaps rightfully so) that events, exhibits and other trade show conference related items are always on, always available, accessible open on time? With IT data center and clouds, you have different expectation levels of access, availability, durability, survivability for a given cost to meet service expectations.

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Next time you attend a webinar, seminar, conference, symposium, trade show, presentation, exhibit or expo, take a moment and look around at what you see, as well as what you do not see. Having been in involved in and around conferences, conventions, seminars, expos across different industries, both behind the scenes as well as on the public side, I do not take these events for granted.

Knowing what goes into the planning, coordination, scheduling, promotion, logistics, all the things behind the scenes, next time you go to an event, look around. What you can see that perhaps are not meant to be seen as part of their Infrastructure. In event venue exhibit halls as well as data centers, there are those things you see such as data infrastructure resources including racks of servers, storage, I/O networking, monitors, displays, work areas, heating ventilation air conditioning (HVAC) along with those you might not see.

What you might not see and take for granted are the smoke and fire detection along with suppression systems which at the Santa Clara convention center appeared to have done their job. There are also the electrical power and distribution systems; perhaps battery backed uninterruptible power systems (UPS) along with standby alternate generator power.

How about a big round of applause, thank you, Atta boy and Atta girl, acknowledgment and other signs of appreciation for all those involved behind the scenes who do the planning, preparation, coordination, setup, tear down and in person what you see at events.

Thank you to all who have, and continue to enable trade shows, conferences, seminars, exhibits, road shows among other events to take place, after all, the show must go on. In other words, like IT and cloud Data Centers, do you take trade show exhibit infrastructures for granted?

Ok, nuff said, for now.

Greg Schulz – Multi-year Microsoft MVP Cloud and Data Center Management, VMware vExpert (and vSAN). Author of Software Defined Data Infrastructure Essentials (CRC Press), as well as Cloud and Virtual Data Storage Networking (CRC Press), The Green and Virtual Data Center (CRC Press), Resilient Storage Networks (Elsevier) and twitter @storageio.

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