The good people ay Sys-Con Events invited me to the Cloud Computing Conference & Expo.  The event was held November 7 through 10, 2011 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Northern California—one of my favorite venues. I was there on days 2 and 4 of this 4 day event.

Reportedly there were over 7,000 attendees that included CIOs, CTOs, directors of infrastructure, VPs of technology, IT directors and managers, network and storage managers, network engineers, enterprise architects, and communications and networking specialists.

As usual, I viewed the  event through the eyes of a marketer responsible for data storage and data management products. My firm, Marketingsage, helps clients generate sales leads, build brands, launch new products, and establish new sales channels so trade shows are important, especially for lead generation.

There were 4 days worth of speaking sessions, mostly presented by vendors. The general sessions that I attended all seemed to have large audiences, although the huge room was not full. There were also 7 special interest tracks with one  dedicated to those interested in Cloud Storage Virtualization APIs. Another was dedicated to Cloud Architecture, Security and Performance.

Session: How to Build a SaaS With Twitter-like Throughput

Session: How to Build a SaaS With Twitter-like Throughput

The Cloud Expo

The expo was small enough to ensure that every attendee could see every booth over the course of 4 days. There were about 100 exhibitors including VMware, McAfee, Oracle, and IBM.  The vast majority of booths were small 8′ or 10′ popups and they were packed pretty tightly. So on day 2 the aisles were crowded.

Day 2: Gale holds the crowd (in the aisle) with their presentation

However, by day 4 the aisles were really empty and the exhibitors were not busy at all. The crowds at the general presentations also thinned substantially, suggesting that the event may be enhanced by cutting it from 4 days to 3 days.

Day 4 (morning): SolidFire’s booth

Is Cloud Expo a Good Show for Marketing Storage products?

Is Cloud Expo a good show for marketing storage products? The answer depends on what type of storage product you are marketing. This show has 3 types of storage vendor: (1) hosted storage, (2) storage related software and (3) storage hardware.

The audience  favored those selling hosted storage/servers and storage management/monitoring software. Hosting firms included Amazon Web Services, Rackspace Hosting, SoftLayer, GoGrid, Virtustream, FireHost, and Zadara Storage, and PhoenixNAP to name but a few. Storage/data management/monitoring vendors included Abiquo, StorageCraft, Amplidata, MicroStrategy and Nimsoft, again to name but a few.

Storage infrastructure/hardware vendors did not flock to this event even though many tout their products for virtualized and cloud environments. I saw prominent solid state disk (SSD) vendor Fusion-io on an early exhibitor list, but they were not there.  Storage infrastructure exhibitors included solid state disk vendors SolidFire and LSI. Oracle also had a hard disk array on display. There were a few other hardware exhibitors that had storage components, but I wouldn’t classify them as storage infrastructure vendors.

LSI would win my prize for best storage infrastructure demo

Oracle displays bare metal

Morphlabs mCloud uses Dell servers, Arista Network switches and Nexenta’s storage manager. Each blade has its own 3.5 inch HDDs.

I asked several exhibitors whether they were happy with the Cloud Expo event. All said there were happy and would likely attend again next year. That’s a ringing endorsement, but I’m going to discount it a bit for the hardware infrastructure vendors by noting some factors important to me as a sales-centric marketer whose budget would be on the line.

The endorsers were not salespeople or MarCom people. They were product manager types so their expectations may be different to mine. Most were local to the area so they did not have to leave home to participate. Several commented about a high ratio of vendors to customers visiting their booth. And one commented that most visitors were not really storage infrastructure decision makers. However they were valued as potential influencers of such decisions.

So is Cloud Expo a good show for marketing storage products? Yes, if your target decision makers are focused on the cloud or virtualization application layer. I’m not ready to make a case for storage hardware vendors.

About the Author

David X. Lamont is an accomplished marketer of IT products and a partner at Marketingsage, a PR and lead generation firm that specializes in marketing data storage, data management, and enterprise software products. He can be reached by email at blog [at] Fellow marketers and IT professionals are invited to join his network on LinkedIn and to subscribe to this blog (see sidebar).

  1. appicu says:

    Good summary Dave! Thanks.


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