Guest Contributor: Al Williams, Vice-President & Director, Conference

Williams_HeadshotB-150x150.jpgWe had another excellent conference here in Anaheim. Even though the locals are complaining about how cold it is, I’m sure all of us from the frozen north enjoyed the warmer weather, and we are glad it “Never Rains in Southern California.” We’ve had good attendance with over 1,200 people on site, and we met or exceeded all of our budgeted targets, which is always a good thing. The SHARE Technology Exchange vendors are happy with how the trade show went, and especially appreciated the extended receptions on Monday and Tuesday.

We had three great keynote sessions that seem really relevant to problems we are all facing. As in the last two conferences we are doing live Webcast of sessions from our main tent room. All three keynotes were Webcast live. This time we held our first ExecuForum. This is a day and a half event where your executives can come to meet with their peers from other SHARE members as well as IBM and other vendor executives. The intent was to provide a forum where current issues can be discussed with industry thought leaders. We had some lively discussion and agreed to hold this again next year.

We have over 500 sessions here in Anaheim with extensive coverage on real experiences with IBM’s zEnterprise 196. Our theme focused on optimizing cost through effective use of IT resources. We had excellent sessions on new uses of Cloud, a series of sessions covering business analytics and a very important set of sessions covering most of what you need to know to get started for IPV6. That last one is very timely as all indications I’ve seen indicate we will run out of IPV4 addresses this year.

Don’t forget that we have a Farewell Reception this evening beginning at 7:00 p.m. in the Hilton Pacific Ballroom A. Rumor has it there might be a sing along (but don’t tell the paddle folks). They seem a bit excitable.

Looking ahead, we have Orlando as our next event location August 7 through August 12, 2011. Our themes for Orlando are Delivering Mission Critical Business Services and Optimizing IT Through Service Consolidation. Scheduling for Orlando has already started.

We booked the Walt Disney World Dolphin Hotel and Resort. Talk about a beautiful venue! You could even get away with bringing the family along. By the way, we also got attractive room rates - $149 a night. Before I hear any complaints about needing a car or being locked into a limited food selection, I can tell you it just is not so. The Dolphin is within walking distance to a lot of other options (Dolphin Hotel, Swan Hotel, Disney Beach Club, Disney Yacht Club and the Boardwalk Resort). We have already started the scheduling process for Orlando, and registration for our Orlando event will open in April. Oh, and one more thing. Janet asked me to tell you that even though she is a big Disney fan, it’s not her fault we are going to two Disney locations in a row. Actually, it is more my fault. We happened to get a good deal with the Dolphin.

Thank you to all who put in a lot of work to make SHARE in Anaheim and SHARE Online from Anaheim so successful. Good show!

I look forward to seeing you in Orlando.

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