As I’ve mentioned in the past, I’m a huge fan of Gestalt IT’s Tech Field Day concept. Having attended Networking Field Days 4 and 5, and the Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure Launch event, I am very clear on the benefits both to me (technically and socially) and to the sponsoring companies who inevitably will see blog posts written about them, good or bad (and you know what they say about bad publicity), and whose presentations are available live for many events and on YouTube and Vimeo for all events. You only have to look at the number of hits on some of those videos to realize how much penetration companies can get through their investment in a Tech Field Day event.
But the industry is changing, and I find myself wondering about how TFD will develop in the future.
Tech Field Day Classic™
Ok, the Classic bit isn’t trademarked, but in fact the “Field Day” bit is. As I understand it, the original Tech Field Day events were sponsored by a variety of vendors with, perhaps, a slight leaning towards storage technology. TFD1 was sponsored by 3PAR, Drobo, MDS Micro, Nirvanix, Ocarina Networks, Symantec, VMware, and Xsigo; TFD2 by Cisco Datacenter, Drobo, EMC, HP and VKernel, and TFD3 by Compellent, F5, NEC Storage, Nimble Storage and Veeam. Tech Field Day events continue to bring together a broad range of vendors.
Specialized Field Days
Not content with just the more general Tech Field Day, Stephen Foskett (the erstwhile founder and organizer for TFD events under the Gestalt IT banner) then created Networking Field Day, the first of which was sponsored by Arista, Cradlepoint, Force10, HP Networking, Juniper Networks, SolarWinds and Xsigo. The Tech Field Day events continued, then Stephen introduced Wireless Field Day, with Aerohive, AirMagnet, Cisco Mobility, Fluke Networks, HP Networking and MetaGeek making a showing.
Then there was a Virtualization Field Day, a Storage Field Day, and interspersed with the larger Field Day events were a number of other events, for example a Roundtable at VMWare World, an event at Cisco Live, and so on. The official list of Field Days is now:
- Networking Field Day
- Storage Field Day
- Wireless Field Day
- Virtualization Field Day
- Tech Field Day
New Field Days?
So what next? I think most areas are covered by the five field days above, but the newest buzz word in the data center industry might need some special attention, specifically the Software Defined Data Center.
Software Defined Field Day
Whereas in the past, a networking vendor could come to a NFD event and display their hardware or talk about their latest appliance, with the shift to software defined networking (SDN) and the more general software defined data center (SDDC), there is an opportunity for the focus of at least one event to shift slightly. There are a bunch of startups as well as more established names that are trying hard to play in this space, and I think we will be seeing more companies cropping up in the controller / traffic identification and classification space to provide the information that will allow successful abstraction of the network through a front end system.
And so I proposed, with all deference, Software Defined Field Day. SDFD would be an event specially targeted at vendors who want to display their demonstrable prowess (beyond just slideware) in the SDDC space. It could integrate plays from software companies, white box switch vendors, existing networking vendors, overlay and virtualization vendors (e.g. VMWare NSX), with a focus on actual deployment of the products in the real world, showing us how their (often “sounds good in theory”) products can actually work today. I wonder if we can get HP to tell us their story? The rule is, it all has to be SDDC-related – orchestration, service chaining, controllers, controllable hardware, traffic analysis to feed to other tools, and so on – and it has to be shipping as demonstrated, now or within the next 6 months. So this would be an event for real products that you could deploy soon.
I think being able to bring together solutions that specifically meet the needs in a growing space would be a great event to have, because right now there’s a lot of talk about what’s coming, and less about what’s there today. Maybe this is really “Tech Field Day (SDDC Edition)”.
And, uh, if if SDFD ever happens, can I come please? 😉