Monday, June 11, 2012

TechEd 2012

Dear DR365 readers, I've been asked by my benevolent employer to blog about my time at TechEd conference, an annual gathering of geeks, proudly celebrating their geekness and everything Microsoft. Assuming that my post will be screened and edited by several nervous marketing types, I thought I'd post it here in it's unadulterated form. The otherwise adulterated form can be seen here.

And... action!

Greetings from TechEd 2012. I'm your faithful blogger Doug White, Product Manager for Double-Take Availability for Windows and designated conference representative, reporting direct from Day One of the TechExpo, the trade show floor of Microsoft's annual geek-a-palooza.

My goal is to give you an inside look at what it's like to work at a high-class booth at the biggest Microsoft show of the year. For Vision Solutions, this is the biggest event in the history of the Double-Take brand. Not only are we launching Double-Take 6.0, the biggest, baddest, and bestest release in the storied history of Double-Take, but we're also bringing back the awesomeness that is the Double-Take TechEd party, with the new company band, Double-Vision. After a couple years in hibernation, the band is reborn, the product is evolved, and the swagger of Double-Take is back.

But enough hype, let's take a look at TechEd 2012...

It's a beautiful day at the OCCC,
which I think stands for Orlando Conference Center... C-something.

How does one celebrate 20 years of TechEd?

Apparently by standing in line.

Ok, TechEd is just about the best run conference on the planet, but I gotta point out the ludicrousness, or maybe it's "ludacrity", of one reeeealy long line for one station (expo only registrants), while all of the other stations were empty.

After standing in line, I went straight to standing in a semi-circle...

Obligatory pre-show meeting

"White shirts? Check! Black pants? Double-Check!! One, two, three QUALITY LEADS!!!"

The following is not our booth...
IT folks will stand in really long line for the slightest chance to win anything.
This is a fact that some vendors exploit, to the extreme.

Seriously, you're giving a way a Ducati?
(Thanks, again AvePoint.)

Wow, lunch time already? Sweet! Let's see what they've... oh, my...

Rubber chicken and beef-ish leather. I'll eat the noodles and veggies.

At TechEd, there are so many vendors, it takes a lot to stand out.

Some turn their employees into walking demo stations.

Some go to extremes to draw attention to themselves,
like bringing in jugglers

or if that doesn't work, a guy in a straight jacket on a unicycle.

Meanwhile, more self-assured companies use the opportunity of such a gathering to offer a service to their customers, current and future...

The seats on this bus have been sanitized for your protection by...

Vision Solutions, and Double-Take 6.0...
Keeping TechEd Cootie Free!

Hey look, someone finally found a good use for a Segway


The first day of booth duty at TechEd includes, thankfully, an afternoon break. I spent my break poolside...

No poolside beers were harmed in the taking of this photo.

But breaks are for the weak. In no time, it was back to the show floor for the mob that comes with the Microsoft reception, featuring free food and adult beverages.... hence the mob.

See, told ya... mob, and free food, in a big ol' wok.

Look! Hors d'oeuvres!
I did a Mini-Tart shooter, thank you very much.

Did I mention it is the 20th TechEd? Well, it's quite the deal. For the booze-fest, I mean "reception", they wheeled out huge cake, at least 8 feet long. Seriously... look...

Uh, no... my finger's not in the icing...

... much!  

The reception brings out all the geeks, and the longest lines are for... guess...

Food? Nope.

Beer? Nuh-uh.

A 15 second conversation with a booth babe? Wrong again.

No, the longest lines are for autographs... from the authors of a book on Microsoft SQL Server.

I am not making this up.
The line snakes around the corner and down the aisle.

So, it's not surprising that the show floor looks like this...

All guys, far as the eye can see, most with backpacks and untucked shirts

And sometimes you see something you wish you hadn't...

Drawers at half-mast.

The busiest booth, that wasn't dangling shiny objects in the geeks faces, was our booth.

Some of the lucky ones who scored passes to the Double-Take Evolution Experience party.

The rebirth of the band and the party brought many hundreds to see us, and to talk about real-time replication, and to register for the gig. In fact, there were so many, that the party has reached capacity. As popular as past Double-Take parties have been, we've never filled it up on the first night. I suspect Wednesday night will be epic. Sorry for those who will be missing out. Next year, come see us first thing.

After many great conversations with customers, and others just interested in learning more about keeping their data safe, the lights went down, and they kicked us out of the hall.

Before we left, we built a small memorial to the night's effort...

I call it "Tower of crappy beer".

Shuttle bus back to the hotel and down I sat to write my blog post... is what didn't happen.

What did happened was I changed out of my booth duds and crossed the street, with a plan to decompress from a day full of replication chit-chat.

My girlfriend and I, always looking out for an unusually good time, decided on a whim to take the mostly hidden elevator to BB King's blues bar. I loves me a good blues bar.

Turned out that the mostly hidden elevator is so well hidden that the staff of BB King's forgot to exclude it from entry with one of those velvet ropes. Before we knew it, we'd crashed a private party. So, of course, we excused ourselves and made for the exit.

No we didn't. We helped ourselves to some delicious BBQ ribs, fried chicken, and tequila.


And thank you, Schneider Electric!

And on the way back to the hotel, just for good measure...

I defiled the fountain in Orlando Pointe*

For those at TechEd 2012, stop by booth 2223 and say "Yo!" For those playing along at home, sorry you're not here. Start building your rationalizations, I mean business case, for attending TechEd 2013.

Geek on!

*For those unfamiliar, I have a thing for getting into fountains. It's harmless fun.