Top 29+ cloud and infrastructure conferences of 2017

Want a bit of knowledge? Do a Web search. Want more in-depth knowledge? Ask a question on your favorite forum. Learning a new software package? Buy and read a book. Want to open up your eyes, expand your horizons, and learn from really smart people? Attend a conference or trade show.

Want a bit of knowledge? Do a web search. Want more in-depth knowledge? Ask a question on your favorite forum. Aim to learn a new software package? Read a book. Want to open up your eyes, expand your horizons, and learn from really smart people? Attend a conference or trade show. Get out there. Meet people. Have conversations. Network. Be inspired by keynotes. Take notes in classes that are delivering great material, and walk out of boring sessions and find something better.

We worked to make sure this list of conferences and trade shows about cloud computing and enterprise infrastructure is as definitive as possible. Think big and think outside the cubicle: Don’t go to only the events that are about the exact thing you do, and don’t attend only the sessions about the exact thing you do.

The list is organized alphabetically in “must attend,” worth attending,” and “worthy mentions” sections. Those are my subjective labels (though based on experience, having attended many of these conferences in the past decades), so read the descriptions carefully and make your own decisions. If you don’t use Amazon Web Services, then AWS re:Invent simply isn’t right for you. However, if you use or might use the company’s cloud services, then, yes, it’s a must-attend.

The worth attending and worthy mentions categories are conferences and trade shows that are, well, not as critical. If they fit your needs and interests, by all means consider attending. However, if they are expensive or hard to get to, gauge your interest in them accordingly.

And oh, a word about the differences between conferences and trade shows (also known as expos). These can be subtle, and reasonable people might disagree in some edge cases. However, a conference’s main purpose is education: The focus is on speakers, panels, classes, and other sessions. While there might be an exhibit floor for vendors, it’s probably small and not very useful. In contrast, a trade show is designed to expose you to the greatest number of exhibitors, including vendors and trade associations. The biggest value is in walking the floor; while the trade show may offer classes, they are secondary and often (but not always) vendor fluff sessions “awarded” to big advertisers in return for their gold sponsorships.

So if you want to learn from classes, panels, and workshops, you probably want a conference. If you want to talk to vendors, kick the tires on products, and decide which solutions to buy or recommend, you want a trade show or an expo.

And now, on with the list: the most important events in cloud computing and enterprise infrastructure, compiled at the very beginning of 2017. Note that events can change their dates or cities without notice, or even be cancelled, so keep an eye on the websites.

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Must attend

These are the flagship conferences of the tech industry, at least as they relate to cloud and infrastructure. They are big. They are costly. They have many attendees, many speakers, and many sessions. If the topic of the conference is relevant to you, it’s virtually guaranteed that you will learn a lot that will benefit your business and your career. You will have many opportunities for networking, and you will come away totally exhausted—and vowing to come back next year for another helping. I have been to nearly all of these conferences, and they are well worth the time and investment. Note: If you don’t like crowds, these may not be the events for you.

AWS re:Invent

Twitter: @AWSreInvent

Web: https://reinvent.awsevents.com  

Date: November 27 - December 1

Location: Las Vegas

Cost: Not yet published

This is the big, definitive educational show for anyone using Amazon Web Services (AWS) as either platform as a service (PaaS) or infrastructure as a service (IaaS). Go to AWS re:Invent to learn about the conference sessions. Amazon makes sure that every one of its speakers is well trained on the technology, has the skills to present effectively, and can answer just about any question. However, don’t expect speakers to go off script; they’re not going to tell you anything that Amazon doesn’t want you to hear. For that type of information, network with more than 20,000 fellow attendees, from whom you’ll hear the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Reasons to attend:

  • Get useful tech info from Amazon
  • Preview upcoming releases
  • Network with like-minded users
  • Meet lots of loyal sponsors on the show floor


Cisco Live

Twitter: @CiscoLive

Web: http://www.ciscolive.com/us/

Date: June 25-29

Location: Las Vegas

Cost: Starts at $2,295 and goes up to $3,195

If you have a Cisco-powered infrastructure—and that includes many large enterprises—you’ll want to come to this conference to learn from more than 4,500 different sessions. That’s a lot of keynotes, classes, and workshops. Equally important for many attendees: You can take classes and become certified on Cisco technologies, which can be super-important for your career.

Cisco Live isn’t just for network engineers, either. There’s a developer zone that’s all about APIs, as well as executive programs designed for C-level execs and top IT management working to develop their corporate IT strategy. A huge theme for 2017 is the Internet of Things (IoT). Sponsors will also be there to share their Cisco-approved third-party products and services. If your professional life touches Cisco in any way, this is a conference you won’t want to miss.

Reasons to attend:

  • Learn about Cisco products and technologies
  • Go hands-on in many product labs
  • Dive deep into the next generation of IoT
  • Figure out where Cisco is going next
  • Mix and mingle with many other Cisco customers


Data Center World

Twitter: @DataCenterWorld

Web: http://global.datacenterworld.com

Date: April 3-6

Location: Los Angeles

Cost: $399 for expo only; $1,950 to $2,595 for conference passes, depending on packages and options

The cloud hasn’t eaten everything. In fact, on-prem data centers—which are 100 percent under the control of the organization—will exist for many companies into the foreseeable future. This is the best vendor-neutral data center event I’ve encountered, produced in association with AFCOM, a global membership organization for data center professionals.

This year’s conference is focused on automating and scaling data centers to handle future demand for processing capability, bandwidth, and uptime. Tracks cover IT infrastructure, security and data sovereignty, and data center design. If you care about those issues, this is the place to be.

Reasons to attend:

  • Dig deep into real issues with minimal vendor fluff
  • Mix and mingle with AFCOM members
  • Tackle trends like hyperconvergence and hybrid cloud/multicloud
  • Learn about hot topics such as blockchain and IoT


Dell EMC World

Twitter: @dellemcworld

Web: http://www.dellemcworld.com

Date: May 8-10

Location: Las Vegas

Cost: $2,195 to $2,395, depending on when you register

Two behemoths, Dell and EMC, merged recently—and they also merged their two user conferences. Each was already a must-attend in my book. If you have any interest in physical servers, storage arrays, or Dell EMC’s vision for cloud computing, this conference is huge, huge, huge. (What about virtualization? Dell EMC owns VMware, and there is some coverage of virtualization at Dell EMC World. However, if that is your main focus, that division produces its own must-attend: VMworld, which is listed below.)

Rub elbows with more than 12,000 attendees, and soak up about 400 technical classes. Bear in mind that this is definitely a corporate customer event. Don’t expect to hear about alternatives to Dell EMC products and services.

Reasons to attend:

  • Take classes from leaders in servers and storage
  • Get the definitive word from Dell and EMC experts
  • Best place to find fellow customers
  • Be inspired by Michael Dell


Dreamforce '17

Twitter: @dreamforce

Web: https://www.salesforce.com/dreamforce

Date: November 6-9

Location: San Francisco

Cost: Not yet published

Salesforce, a software giant, has two personas. One is as the company behind its eponymous customer relationship management platform, offered exclusively via the cloud. The other is as the host of an innovative cloud-computing platform you can use to build and deploy your own applications. Dreamforce, the company’s annual user conference, covers both aspects of Salesforce’s business very effectively.

The conference always is huge and fun, with in-depth technical sessions. Information about the 2017 conference was not available as this list was being written, but in 2016 there were more than 2,000 classes for sales and marketing people, IT professionals, software developers, and systems administrators. This is truly a you’ve-gotta-go conference for every Salesforce customer.

Reasons to attend:

  • The best technical classes on Salesforce’s stuff
  • Sessions for everyone from beginner to guru
  • Lots of sessions for many vertical industries
  • Help on making the transition to the cloud
  • One of the best-produced events, period


Google Cloud Next

Twitter: @GoogleCloud

Web: https://cloudnext.withgoogle.com

Date: March 8-10

Location: San Francisco

Cost: $1,499 for full conference; $999 early-bird before January 17

This is not Google I/O, the huge conference for everything Google covering Android to maps. Google Cloud Next is a focused conference for developers and administrators on Google Cloud Platform. (Last year, the event was called GCP Next 16.)

If you use Google Cloud Platform, you want to attend this conference. That is, if you are lucky enough to get in; it sells out quickly, or at least it did last year, in part because attendees received tons of “free” goodies. While the topics for 2017 have not yet been posted, in 2016 the tracks were app development, data and analytics, and infrastructure and operations. There’s also a small showcase of Google solutions and partner products. In addition, Google offers certification for developers and administrators at the conference.

Reasons to attend:

  • Go hands-on with Google services
  • Interact with super-smart experts
  • Get sneak previews of upcoming services
  • Go home with awesome swag (not guaranteed)


HPE Discover

Twitter: @HPE_Discover

Web: https://www.hpe.com/events/discover/

Date: June 6-8

Location: Las Vegas

Cost: Not yet published

Hewlett Packard Enterprise (the publisher of Enterprise.nxt) is the powerhouse behind a lot of cloud services as well as infrastructure—small, medium, and large. If your organization uses any HPE technology or services, this is where you’ll connect with the folks working behind the curtain, as well as many other customers like yourself.

The sessions range from hybrid IT to IoT, DevOps, digital transformation, and beyond. You'll find lots of sessions on how to transform your business by accelerating cloud and infrastructure innovation. Recent HPE Discover events have offered a rich, educational experience, and we can expect 2017 to bring more of the same.

Reasons to attend:

  • Learn from the absolute top experts on HPE products/services
  • Get up to date on the latest news and strategy from HP Enterprise
  • Learn from top sponsors—in 2016, that included Intel, VMware, Red Hat and Microsoft
  • It’s a conference in Las Vegas—and that means shows and yummy buffets


Ignite 2017

Twitter: @MS_Ignite

Web: https://ignite.microsoft.com

Date: September 25-29

Location: Orlando, FL

Cost: Not yet published

In The Lord of the Rings, author J.R.R. Tolkien created the One Ring to Rule Them All. Similarly, Ignite is the One Microsoft Conference to Rule Them All: Launched in 2015, Ignite replaced several broad and specialized Microsoft events, including the venerable TechEd. Go to Ignite to swim in the Microsoft worldview, taught by Microsoft employees and its MVPs (Most Valuable Professionals)—tested and certified experts from partners and small consulting companies.

A huge focus of Ignite is cloud computing, and another is enterprise infrastructure. There will be 700-plus sessions covering all aspects of Microsoft business technologies, from Azure to Office 365 to SQL Server. Ignite is also where Microsoft generally unveils its latest product roadmaps for the enterprise. Oh, there’s also a decent show floor, filled with about 300 Microsoft partners. If you are in a Microsoft shop, or have a career using Microsoft products, Ignite is like Middle Earth, only without orcs, Mordor, or convenient parking facilities.

Reasons to attend:

  • Access to many Microsoft product managers
  • Sessions taught by Microsoft employees or MVPs
  • Deep, deep coverage of Microsoft products
  • Early previews and discussion of Microsoft's roadmap
  • No orcs


Interop ITX

Twitter: @interop

Web: http://www.interop.com

Date: May 15-19

Location: Las Vegas

Cost: $349 show floor; $2,499 conference; $3,299 including workshops; discounts for early registration

Interop ITX is one of the biggest trade shows in the networking and IT industry, but it’s a trade show that also has a solid conference program. The most important reason to attend Interop, in my opinion, is to visit the exhibitors; you’ll see nearly every leading-edge piece of enterprise technology. The 130 conference sessions, however, while often taught by vendors, are screened by an objective board, so you won’t find as much marketing fluff as is common at such big events. There are also deep-dive workshops for serious practitioners. The tracks at this year’s Interop are infrastructure, security, cloud, data and analytics, DevOps, and leadership development.

Reasons to attend:

  • Large show floor with nearly all leading vendors
  • Racks of servers, switches, routers, and cables
  • Solid conference program with little fluff
  • In-depth workshops on practical topics


Oracle OpenWorld

Twitter: @oracleopenworld

Web: https://www.oracle.com/openworld

Date: October 1-5

Location: San Francisco

Cost: Not yet published

It sometimes seems that the entire city of San Francisco attends OpenWorld—the crowds are simply unbelievable. However, this is the definitive conference if your business uses any Oracle software or services, and that includes the technology underpinning many cloud deployments and IT infrastructure. There are more than 2,200 classes, as well as over 400 exhibitors in the expo halls.

A strong 2016 OpenWorld focus was on the new Oracle Cloud Platform, and there’s every reason that 2017 will be the same. Look for in-depth technical classes, partner presentations about their products, and a strict happy-happy message where everything is wonderful in the land of the Oracle. For an understanding of real-world problems, corner one of the tens of thousands of other attendees in a bar…or in a very long taxi line.

Reasons to attend:

  • Wide range of sessions on emerging technologies
  • Excellent classes and very little marketing fluff
  • Plenty of food and entertainment
  • Strong emphasis on cloud computing


Red Hat Summit

Twitter: @RedHatSummit

Web: https://www.redhat.com/en/summit/2017

Date: May 2-4

Location: Boston

Cost: Early bird is $1,300; full price is not published yet

Red Hat is one of the leading companies behind both cloud computing and data center infrastructure, and its annual conference is heavy on both open source and practicality. While the 2017 program hasn’t yet been published, the 2016 program had 317 sessions taught by 447 speakers, as well as 99 exhibitors on the show floor. Topics range from virtualization to storage, from the Linux kernel to OpenStack, from the Internet of Things to containers. Expect 2017 to be more of the same, with classes and workshops deeply technical—and with plenty of source code and authenticity. Although this is a vendor customer conference, it’s very light on the marketing and heavy on real-world practicality.

Reasons to attend:

  • You’ll see the source code
  • You’ll be steeped in open source
  • Nearly everything is real and practical
  • Minimal marketing fluff


VMworld

Twitter: @vmware

Web: https://www.vmworld.com

Date: August 27-31

Location: Las Vegas

Cost: $1,750 for early bird; late rates not yet published

Look inside the cloud, and what do you find? Virtualization. Look inside the data center, and what do you find? Virtualization. Look inside virtualization, and what do you find? Much of the time, VMware. Anyone who is hands-on with any of VMware’s vast array of products should consider attending VMworld for training, exposure to new options and partners, and previews of next-generation products and version iterations.

VMworld has a solid reputation for offering a solidly technical program. There are also tracks for partners and professionals wishing to gain VMware certifications.

Reasons to attend:

  • Hands-on labs and classes
  • Solidly technical content
  • Advance peeks at new versions
  • Connection to the VMware community


Worth attending

These conferences are generally well-produced and quite focused on specific topics. Often they are shorter and less expensive than the “must attend” conferences above, which makes them better for a busy professional on a budget. However, you won’t have the opportunity to sample as many areas of technology. I have attended many of these events and find them to be a good way to gain knowledge, meet new people, and kick tires on products.

Cloud Computing Expo East

Twitter: @cloudexpo

Web: http://www.cloudcomputingexpo.com

Date: June 6-8, 2017

Location: New York

Cost: From $300 for the keynotes and expo floor only; $995 to $2,500 for a full conference pass, depending on when you register

This event brings a large number of topics together under one roof, with a combined trade show floor that has many exhibitors. The combined topics span cloud computing, big data, DevOps, and the Internet of Things.

The primary focus at Cloud Computing Expo is the expansive show floor with lots of booths (“Expo” kind of gives that away), but you can also attend sessions on topics such as digital transformation, hybrid infrastructure, cloud orchestration, multicloud adoption, and the Chinese cloud market. Note that many of the sessions are taught by exhibitors, and focus on their products, services, or worldview.

Reasons to attend:

  • A chance to cover many topics at once, beyond just cloud
  • An expensive exhibit floor with many vendors
  • Conference sessions where you can hear from vendors


Cloud Computing Expo Silicon Valley

Twitter: @cloudexpo

Web: http://www.cloudcomputingexpo.com

Date: October 31 - November 2

Location: Santa Clara, CA

Cost: Not yet published

Like its sister event in New York (see that entry above), this event brings together a large number of topics under one roof, with a combined trade show floor with many exhibitors. The combined topics span cloud computing, big data, DevOps, and the Internet of Things.

Reasons to attend:

  • A chance to cover many topics at once, beyond just cloud
  • An expansive exhibit floor with many vendors
  • Conference sessions where you can hear from vendors


Connect 2017

Twitter: @ibmconnect

Web: https://www-01.ibm.com/software/collaboration/events/connect

Date: February 20-23

Location: San Francisco

Cost: $89 for keynotes and show floor; $1,895 for full conference, with lots of packages and discounts

Nobody ever got fired for buying IBM, goes the expression, and if your shop uses IBM products or services, you’ll want to go to its big annual conference focused on workplace technology—including cloud and IT infrastructure. It’s a midsize event, with about 4,000 attendees and about 200 classes covering three main tracks: strategy and business; emerging technologies; and development, design, and tools. Go for the education, and network and visit the expo hall to see the wide range of IBM offerings, as well as those from its preferred partners.

Reasons to attend:

  • Get the official IBM line on everything
  • Kick the tires on IBM tech
  • Network with IBM partners and customers
  • See the IBM roadmap for cloud and infrastructure


Enterprise Architecture and Innovation Summit

Twitter: @Gartner_inc

Web: http://www.gartner.com/events/na/enterprise-architecture

Date: May 31 - June 1

Location: Orlando, FL

Cost: $2,600 for full conference, with early-bird and public-sector discounts

Gartner is one of the tech industry’s biggest research firms, and its analysts are well versed in technology trends, vendor solutions, and customer demands. At this event, sessions will dig deep into Gartner analysts’ views on digital business platforms, becoming an innovation leader, disruptive technologies, and enterprise architecture. Think of a topic, and Gartner analysts have well-thought-out views. Sometimes those are a unique perspective, sometimes brilliant, sometimes less so, but always insightful and informative.

Want to make incremental improvements in your technology? Want to improve your skills with specific technologies or products? Go somewhere else. Want to disrupt, innovate, and reinvent your business to clean your competitors’ clock? Go to this Gartner conference.

Reasons to attend:

  • Lots of opportunity to talk to Gartner analysts
  • Extremely thought-provoking sessions
  • Be challenged to reinvent your business technology
  • Get practical guidance on cloud strategies
  • Learn about AI and machine learning


Federal Cloud Computing Summit

Twitter: @ATARCevents

Web: http://fedsummits.com/cloud

Date: February 16

Location: Washington, D.C.

Cost: Free

This one-day event for government agencies and academics is focused on five topics: migrating federal services to the cloud; securing cloud data; offering cloud services in disconnected environments; managing relationships with cloud service providers; and cloud computing in healthcare. There is also a small expo hall showing solutions from third-party providers. This well-produced conference is put together by the Advanced Technology Academic Research Center (ATARC), which hosts IT symposiums of many topics in the Washington, D.C., metro area.

Reasons to attend:

  • Solid information for government agencies
  • Extremely timely and topic subjects
  • Everything is presented in a federal context
  • The price is right


Green Data Center Conference & Exhibition

Twitter: @GSMIonline

Web: http://greendatacenterconference.com

Date: February 21-23

Location: San Diego

Cost: $750 for one day, $1,095 for full conference. Discounts for government and nonprofits.

Spend less money on power and cooling. Be more efficient. Consume fewer natural resources. Those are the important topics covered by this event at the San Diego Supercomputer Center. You’ll get to visit two data centers in the area, examine case studies from companies like Yahoo, and network with other data-center professionals. With four workshops and more than 20 sessions, this is a very narrow event for those involved with the physical infrastructure of data centers. Nearly all speakers are data center managers or sustainability engineers, not vendors.

Reasons to attend:

  • Learn from real experts, not marketers
  • Get practical answers to real-world issues
  • Two data center tours in the area
  • Probably save the admission cost in power alone


Hosting + Cloud Transformation Summit

Twitter: @451Research

Web: http://www.451research-hcts.com

Date: September 18-20

Location: Las Vegas

Cost: Not yet published; last year was $1,295 for clients, $2,295 for non-clients

This conference from 451 Research is geared around sharing their analysts’ expertise in helping service providers offer new products and services to enterprise customers. The key is transformation, and the analysts share insights about technology, strategies, tactics, trends, and customer buying behavior. They help service providers make the case for investing in the infrastructure for hosting new cloud services, whether it’s SaaS, IaaS, PaaS, or everything in-between. A big benefit of this conference is one-on-one meeting time with 451’s analysts—so come prepared with questions.

Reasons to attend:

  • Need to offer new hosting or cloud services
  • Want to talk to many 451 analysts
  • Struggling to escape a legacy business model


HotCloud '17

Twitter: @usenix

Web: https://www.usenix.org/conference/hotcloud17

Date: July 10-11

Location: Santa Clara, CA

Cost: Not yet published, but probably around $700

Technically, HotCloud isn’t a conference—it’s a workshop within the very large, very successful, very long-running USENIX ATC (Annual Technical Conference). However, since HotCloud has been going on for nine years, it’s worth listing here.

USENIX is a vendor-neutral member organization filled with engineers, systems administrators, scientists, and technicians. Its ATC is the most cerebral conference you’ll find outside of pure academia. The program for the 2017 edition of HotCloud hasn’t been published yet, but in 2016, the workshop had sessions on cloud economics, quality of service and consumption, programming models, software-defined systems frameworks, and data transfer for cluster computing. Prepare to have your mind stretched.

Reasons to attend:

  • Extremely intelligent group of presenters
  • Extremely intelligent group of attendees
  • Covers forward-looking yet practical topics
  • You can also attend USENIX while in town


IEEE International Conference on Cloud Computing

Twitter: @ieeecloud

Web: http://www.thecloudcomputing.org/2017

Date: June 25-30

Location: Honolulu

Cost: $1,435 for full registration; discounts for early registration, students, and IEEE members

It’s in Hawaii! But beyond that wonderfulness, IEEE Cloud 2017 is the cloud conference put on by the IEEE, the professional organization for electrical and electrics engineers—that is, computer scientists. Not only is this conference co-located with six other IEEE conferences (you can attend all of them), but the presentations are all based on peer-reviewed papers. There is academic rigor to the research presented at this conference; while many of the sessions are presented by vendors like IBM or Microsoft, these are their PhD think-tank lab folks, not the product teams. If you are looking for vendor certification, a big exhibit floor, or training on commercial products, look elsewhere. The 2017 program has not yet been published.

Reasons to attend:

  • Absolute cutting edge
  • Academic rigor to the presentations
  • More PhDs than you find anywhere
  • It’s in Honolulu this year


Ingram Cloud Summit

Twitter: @IngramCloud

Web: http://ingrammicrocloudsummit.com

Date: April 19-21

Location: Phoenix

Cost: $699; discount for early registration

This conference is designed for value-added resellers who offer cloud-based products and services – or wish to do so. Sponsored by Ingram Microsoft, a leading supplier for the channel, there are more than 100 sessions which aim to help resellers understand what enterprise buyers and need from the cloud… and then learn how to craft ways to sell and resell the right products in a win-win way. You need to be an Ingram partner to attend.

Reasons to attend:

  • Practical focus for value-added resellers
  • Ingram knows the channel very well
  • They are successful only if you are successful
  • A great selection of speakers and keynotes


InterConnect 2017

Twitter: @IBMInterConnect

Web: https://www.ibm.com/cloud-computing/us/en/interconnect

Date: Mar. 19-23

Location: Las Vegas

Cost: $2,395 for full package; discounts for groups, shorter passes, and early registration

IBM’s InterConnect consists of keynotes and technical sessions about many of its products and services—and its partners’ products and services, all working in harmony. Think of this as an IT infrastructure conference. Sure, there are sessions on other topics, but expect many sessions on IT transformation, integration, service management, and security, as well as data centers and the cloud. With about 2,000 classes and panels to choose from and 200 hands-on labs, there’s a lot to go around. Go to InterConnect if you use IBM technologies or believe that you may do so in the near future.

Reasons to attend:

  • Learn about core IBM products and services
  • Gain access to top IBM and partner experts
  • Well-trained presenters and lab instructors
  • Plenty of networking opportunities


OpenStack Summit

Twitter: OpenStack

Web: https://www.openstack.org/summit/boston-2017

Date: May 8-11

Location: Boston

Cost: $600

OpenStack is the open-source software behind a lot of cloud computing; it manages pools of compute, storage, and networking resources in a data center or a cloud service provider. OpenStack Summit is the OpenStack Foundation’s conference for everyone from cloud developers to cloud administrators to network engineers working to build out a cloud data center.

Held every six months or so, the OpenStack Summit covers more than OpenStack itself. It’s about the entire open source cloud stack, including Kubernetes, Docker, Ansible, Ceph, OVS, OpenContrail, and OPNFV. Expect the sessions to be tightly focused and deeply technical. For folks new to the open source cloud, there are workshops and tutorials.

Reasons to attend:

  • Get in on this fast-moving market
  • Bring OpenStack-based clouds into your company
  • Migrate existing resources to OpenStack
  • See how the whole open source cloud works


Symposium/ITxpo

Twitter: @gartner

Web: http://www.gartner.com/events/na/orlando-symposium

Date: October 1-5

Location: Orlando

Cost: $5,750; public sector is $4,000. Discounts for Gartner clients.

Gartner’s flagship conference is an important event for those individuals in your company who routinely talk directly to consultants and analysts. Think CIOs and anyone else involved with developing strategy, and driving business competitiveness up and technology costs down. Go to Symposium/ITxpo to spend quality time with Gartner analysts and network with high-level individuals at enterprises from around the world—mainly huge enterprises.

As you would expect, although this is not a cloud- or infrastructure-specific conference, the cloud and next-generation enterprise architectures are omnipresent. Find out at this conference how all the parts fit into the big picture. You can also talk to vendors on the show floor—but that’s not really why you should attend.

Reasons to attend:

  • High-level discussions
  • Learn how to transform your business
  • Spend a lot of time with analysts
  • Invaluable opportunity to network


Honorable mention

These are very focused conferences and should be considered if the subject matter is a direct hit for something you are doing today or plan to be doing tomorrow. If you are looking to kick the tires on subject, these conferences may be overkill if they are longer than one day, or if travel time and budget are concerns.

Cloud Identity Summit 2017

Twitter: @CloudIDSummit

Web: https://www.cloudidentitysummit.com

Date: June 19-22

Location: Chicago

Cost: $1,695

On the Internet, nobody knows that you’re a dog. But how do we prove that you are a specific dog, perhaps one with a large bank account, social media accounts, cloud storage, and access to SaaS platforms? Establishing identity in the cloud is a complex challenge that requires more than email addresses, passwords, fingerprints, and even two-factor authentication.

This small, focused conference is for those individuals and companies who are worried about this issue and are looking to go beyond today’s common solutions. Look for high-quality sessions on security, e-commerce, healthcare, IoT, financial services, and government. One big caveat: The conference is produced by Ping Identity, a company in this space, and many of the speakers will espouse this company’s perspective.

Reasons to attend:

  • Learn about cutting-edge thinking on digital identity
  • Get to know others in this specialized community
  • See all about Ping Identity’s products and vision


CloudWorld

Twitter: @OracleCloud

Web: http://www.oracle.com/events/global/en/cloudworld

Date: January 17

Location: New York

Cost: Free

This is not OracleWorld, the software behemoth’s super-important, must-attend conference that takes over the entire city of San Francisco (see listing above). Oracle CloudWorld is a one-day cloud lovefest that brings together Oracle speakers (including CEO Mark Hurd) and a few outside speakers to share the company’s cloud computing vision. The day covers a wide range of topics, from customer experience to finance to HR to supply chain. Don’t expect in-depth technical discussions, but do expect to learn a lot about how to work with Oracle.

Reasons to attend:

  • You are already in New York City
  • You are already an Oracle customer
  • You are thinking about using Oracle
  • You want to hear Oracle’s cloud vision


HostingCon Global 2017

Twitter: @hostingcon

Web: http://global.hostingcon.com

Date: April 3-6

Location: Los Angeles

Cost: $699 for the conference; $399 for show floor only

This conference for the hosting community is really more of a trade show. The focus is providing an opportunity for attendees to spend quality time with exhibitors. (One of the benefits of attending is listed as, “Conference bag filled with goodies.”) While there are some great-sounding sessions about hosting and providing cloud services, many or most of them are taught by vendors, presumably sponsors of the show floor. Some of those speakers are CEOs; others are marketing managers. Caveat emptor.

Reasons to attend:

  • Meet a lot of vendors
  • Mix and mingle with other hosting providers
  • Conference bag filled with goodies


Infrastructure Executive Summit

Twitter: @451Research

Web: http://www.451researchsummits.com/Content/Infrastructure-Executive-Summit/4_12

Date: May 24

Location: New York

Cost: Not published

This one-day conference, from analyst firm 451 Research, presents the organization’s latest guidance for reinventing the relationship between business leaders and the IT department. The goal: to help CEOs and other executives understand the role of technologies like software-defined infrastructures, converged infrastructure, private and hybrid cloud, and infrastructure as code. The speakers are drawn from both 451’s analysts and big businesses.

Reasons to attend:

  • High-level discussion for business leaders
  • Focus on reinventing corporate infrastructure
  • Practical advice to make you more competitive