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Trends, vendors, baristas converge at Cloud Expo 2016

Cloud Expo 2016 had an ambitious billing: “The World of Cloud Computing All in One Place!”

Held in a subterranean sector of the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York in June, the convention indeed spanned a lot of topics, with educational sessions falling into 10 topical areas. “Enterprise cloud adoption” was one; containers and microservices another; wearables and the internet of things a third. Vendors led many of the sessions, but, for the most part, kept them neutralish.

A screen at the recent Cloud Expo in New York flashed images of speakers and the educational sessions they led.

One, dubbed a “power panel” of cloud vendor reps, discussed how to convince latecomer C-level executives to embrace the cloud. Randy De Meno said keep it simple.

“We have more devices creating more data,” said De Meno, chief technologist at Commvault, a data management software vendor with a cloud infrastructure line. Many execs already have one of those devices, an iPhone.  “If you use iCloud, congratulations. You’re in the cloud. So a lot of C-level understand that.”

Randy De Meno, of Commvault, speaks on a cloud computing panel. To his right are Nara Rajagopalan, of Accelerite; Dave Landa, of Kintone; William Morrish, of Interoute; and moderator Roger Strukhoff, conference chairman.

On the expo floor, where vendors are expected to talk up their wares and hand out swag like pens and stress balls, one vendor gave the crowd of coders, application developers, IT managers and consultants at the conference something a little different. Stratoscale, which sells software-defined networking, invited people to line up and play a video game. The prize was a remote-control toy helicopter.

Cloud Expo attendees lined up at Stratoscale’s booth for a chance to win a remote-control toy helicopter.

Patricia Palacio, a disaster recovery architect at IT services provider Cognizant, was on the lookout at Cloud Expo for new technologies that might help convince more customers to do DR in the cloud. She said she’s not good at video games, but she got in line anyway, played and won the toy.

“It’s for my son,” she said. He’s 14 and, unlike his mom, a gaming fan. “I think he’ll like it.”

Patricia Palacio, a disaster recovery architect at Cognizant, holds the toy helicopter she won.

IT vendors weren’t the only ones with stuff to sell at Cloud Expo 2016. The New York Times was there with a special offer for conference goers: 75% off home delivery of the print edition of the newspaper and 50% off digital. After signing up, new subscribers got a set of Times-branded Google Cardboard virtual-reality glasses.

An attendee visits a booth set up by The New York Times. In exchange for discounted print and digital subscriptions, the paper handed out Google Cardboard virtual-reality glasses.

Food and drinks are an integral part of any tech conference. At Cloud Expo — which, curiously, had no water on offer between sessions — there were the usual pasta bars, roast-meat stations and tables stocked with bottled beer and wine. There were also a few curiosities. One was the cappuccino machine at the IBM booth. My colleague, SearchCloudApplications reporter Joel Shore, asked, “When you think of IBM, what do you think of?” He promptly got in line for a frothy café.

Attendees queued at a hot dog stand at Cloud Expo 2016.

Another surprise was a hot dog cart wheeled onto the expo floor. But then, perhaps it wasn’t a surprise to many there. It was New York, after all.