Compellent Conference thoughts of the day

5 05 2010

Compellent Conference, Tuesday, May 4

Never thought that men talked more than women. However, tonight I learned that if you put IT guys together in a bus, you’ll get a noisy crow. IT nerds! Yes, they do talk! (Maybe more than women, but less high pitched, less laughing, and giggling than women :)) However, I heard the word “data” tonight more than anyone normally does. Which is fun, because these people actually understand what I’m talking about when I say a “SAN”. That’s what they all do! They know what a System Administrator does, because many of them actually are SysAdmins. It’s fun to be a part of this big group of people who are working on the same types of issues that our team is working on. Good chance to talk about Disaster Recovery plans, find out how many SANs people have (One guy I talked to said that they have 9!), learn about IT roles (What’s the difference between a SysAdmin and a System Engineer),

Because pretty much all of my friends had no idea what I was going to this week. Just that it was some IT thing. I explained to one of my good friends, Christie, what a SAN was, and I don’t know if she got it, but she pretended she did. Other than that, normal people have no idea what I do or probably what I talk about half the time.

So it’s fun to come to a place where you can all talk “nerd”. At the same time, I still feel like I’m the kid here. I mean, I’ve only been in my SysAdmin job for 6 months, and before that I was doing admin/management in IT, and before that… oh yeah, I was in college. So my work experience is limited. Which is okay, and there’s no use pretending it’s any different, because people can tell. However, it will be nice one day not to be the “new guy”.

Overall, today was a great day. Read 2 eWeek magazines, read half of The Kingdom Triangle, by JP Moreland, talked to a guy who worked at eBay on the plane about earning frequent flier points, and other life experience things, worked out in an amazing gym, had a great bath in this huge bathroom that’s in my amazing room I’m staying in (Side note: super posh place- they even asked if I wanted “turn-down service”. I didn’t know what that was, but I realized the lady had mints in her hand as she was standing outside my door. I said yes. Pretty much, she pulled the satin robe from the closet, laid it out on the bed nicely, turned the corner of the bed down, put the chocolates on the pillow with the weather report for the next day, and turned on the little lights above the bed. Sweet. But sorta silly at the same time. Oh well, it’s not often (or ever!) that I’ve had service like that! :)), and then went to a networking session, had great food there, and came home to my king-size bed!

The worst part of the day was eating dinner by myself in a restaurant. I don’t mind being by myself at all. I actually enjoy it normally. But a restaurant isn’t the place you go alone, and it seems pathetic and weird to be there by yourself. Also, getting up at 3:45 wasn’t exactly enjoyable either!

On to another adventurous day tomorrow of conferences.

(ps. When I told someone I was from LA, they said, “ahh, we were wondering why you had a coat on. It’s like 60 degrees today. We figured you must not be from here” haha! 60 is a little chilly for me, but not these crazy Mid-West people!)

Met a few people:
2 guys from a small company looking to implement SAN (Matt and ?)
Compellent Business partner and implementer named Brian
Bill, who is looking at getting another SAN for which they’ll to do DR
A system engineer who used to work for IBM and now is at a convenience store company doing IT there

Learned:
Riverbed compresses data that you’re replicating so that it moves faster to your DR site.
Xsigo can eliminate all the cables going from your SAN to the server, and only uses 2 cables instead of 6/8/10, etc.

Good conversation starter questions:
What are you hoping to learn or get out of these sessions?
What do you like to do in LA (or the city where you live)?
What projects do you perform in your role as SysAdmin (or System Engineer)?
How big is your company? What does your company do?

Things I’m wondering:
When’s the appropriate time to hand out a business card? After talking to someone? How do you make it not awkward?
How to join someone’s conversation when you don’t know anyone. Do you just find a group and stand next to them, until they ask for your name, and invite you to join them?

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