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The Analyst Take: Gartner Data Center Conference 2016 Preview

Now that another successful AppSphere 2016 has come and gone, we’re already on to planning the next major event in which AppDynamics is participating. Held in Las Vegas, the Gartner Data Center, Infrastructure & Operations Management Conference is the oldest consecutively running event in the Gartner portfolio, and this year marks its 35th year. The easiest way to verify it is just add a year onto Mike Chuba’s tenure at Gartner — he’s been to every one of them!

This year looks to be an impressive event as the traditional data center infrastructure is changing, with public cloud becoming an increasingly strategic investment for enterprise. This increasingly hybrid future is occurring far more quickly than originally anticipated. The concept of the data center is being re-imagined, which means the roles of the data center teams are transitioning. Software is becoming critical to every data center strategy, and managing complexity is a constant challenge with these software-defined infrastructures. Gone are the days of speeds and feeds, and instead the difference is being expressed with adaptability and programmability.

I’ll be presenting the session “Microservices & the Modern IT Stack, Trends of Tomorrow” on Wednesday, December 7th, at 9:45 AM in Venetian E, Level 2. I will be speaking about the trends of today, tomorrow, and a little about how AppDynamics can assist with some of these challenges.

The sessions I’m most looking forward to include:

Monday Highlight Sessions:

  • I’m excited to hear the interview between analyst Gary Spivak and Peter Levine, who is a general partner at Andreessen Horowitz, about how venture capital nurtures innovation — something I’ve had firsthand experience with as an analyst and an AppDynamics employee.
  • Katherine Lord will be presenting the IT Operations 2020 vision. The parts of her slides which really resonate address the current issues around “tunnel vision” and how the IT operations team must shift to digital business core philosophies.
  • During lunch, IBM is doing a session on blockchain in the enterprise. The speakers span both Watson Research fellows, IBM’s General Manager of z System, and the author of a blockchain book.
  • Cameron Haight is presenting “Your Digital Business Is DOA Without Application Performance Management (APM)”. Although his slides are not uploaded at this time, this is a relevant and pertinent topic for those digitizing more of their revenue in a time of growth and complexity.
  • Not to be missed, David Williams and George Spafford take the stage to outline “Seven Steps to Start Your DevOps Initiative”. They bring the hype down to reality in this session which hits on the key reasons these initiatives sometimes fail to meet their intended goals. They take a pragmatic but realistic approach to defining what will work for your organization given the constraints of your culture, technology, and processes. Pace layering is a key methodology to apply to a complex portfolio, and this will be touched on heavily, along with the balancing act of methodologies, including ITIL.

Tuesday Highlight Sessions:

  • The Tuesday keynote is about development and operations colliding, and it will be enlightening to hear the perspectives from both sides. There are two analysts co-presenting: Katherine Lord (I&O) and Jeff Schulman for dev.
  • The guest keynote is on data centers and presented by Sonu Nayyar, the Vice President of Global Operations at LinkedIn.
  • Sanjit Ganguli’s presentation, “The Impact of IoT on IT Operations and Bimodal Strategy” will have a good blend between the requirements and managing of IoT. There will of course be a heavy slant towards the networking side, but managing the complexity is real. The cultural impact is also something he’ll be speaking about.
  • The Town Hall for IT Operations and DevOps is one not to miss. It will be led by Cameron Haight, George Spafford, and Hank Marquis. This will be a good and lively discussion by three excellent analysts.
  • Finally, the Town Hall for Cloud, led by Tom Bittman, Neil MacDonald, Ed Anderson, and Dennis Smith looks to be a great discussion bridging infrastructure, applications, and security. I’m very curious to see where this one will go, given the analysts driving the discussion.

Wednesday Highlight Sessions:

  • The morning keynote will be delivered by the infamous Kevin Mitnick, a smart gentleman I’ve seen speak before. He always has a unique take on current events surrounding security. This intriguing session is dubbed a “Live Technology Magic Show”, so you won’t want to miss it.
  • As mentioned earlier, an AppDynamics session led by yours truly will be following the keynote.
  • An interesting customer session delivered by Raihan Zaidi, Principal of Infrastructure Technical Planning at Kaiser Permanente, should be a fascinating one as he explores storage performance of cloud providers in “Managing Storage Service Performance in the Age of the Cloud: Why You May Be Measuring the Wrong Things and What to Do About It”.
  • One of our wonderful partners, ServiceNow, has a customer case study presentation I’ll be attending, entitled “TransAlta Case Study: Reducing Service Outages by 80%”.
  • Cameron Haight is presenting a session which he has done before, but will include relevant updates. This one is good to attend if you’re looking to see how Gartner analyzes the monitoring market and where the market is going. His Wednesday afternoon session is titled “The New IT Monitoring World”.
  • Based on my customer sessions, I believe the last presentation on Wednesday is really going to hit home. Sanjit Ganguli is presenting on a very relevant topic in his session “Moving to the Cloud? Beware of the Visibility Gaps!” I look forward to hearing his take on this issue, as well as showing him some of our new capabilities in this space.

Thursday Highlight Sessions:

  • Thursday normally kicks off with the conference wrap up, presented by Dave Russell, Sheila Childs, and Mike Chuba. I look forward to the insights of the event, as I always learn about sessions I’ve missed!
  • Always worth hearing, Joe Skorupa will present on data center networking. He will be talking about the Gartner Magic Quadrant. I normally learn things from his sessions, and I expect to be brought up to speed on a rapidly evolving market.
  • Hank Marquis is presenting a session on a very relevant topic, “Renovate Your CMDB to Improve Business Outcomes”. This is often a project to attempt to move the CMDB from being infrastructure-centric towards something more connected to the business, a passion Hank and I share. I look forward to hearing his insights on the topic.


Topics: Software, Tom Bittman, AppDynamics, Ed Anderson, Conference, Dave Russell, Dennis Smith, Gartner Data Center, Gary Spivak, George Spqafford, Hank Marquis, Joe Skorupa, Katherine Lord, keynote speaker, Las Vegas, Peter Levine, Sanjit Ganguli, Infrastructure and Operations Management, Jeff Schulman, Mike Chuba, Raihan Zaidi, Sheila Childs, Sonu Nayyar, AppSphere 2015, Cameron Haight, David Williams, George Spafford, Kevin Mitnick, live technology magic show, Neil MacDonald

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