Varrow Madness – what’s the big deal?

I was pondering the fact earlier today that this will be my 5th Varrow Madness — after joining Varrow in late 2010, we put on our first Varrow Madness in March 2011.  This also got me thinking…looking from the outside in, it may be hard to realize what the big deal is. Or…if I say it a bit more politically, what makes Varrow Madness different? Why should you care?

Side-note: for those not keeping score previously, Varrow Madness is a 1 day “free to all” IT conference hosted by Varrow and in Greensboro, NC this year on March 19 (i.e. this Thursday!). Full official conference details and agenda here – session breakdown by theme here. Total attendance last year was over 1,000 people. 

Let’s get right to it – in no particular order…

  • VCDX Concentration – Varrow has (4) VCDX’s (5 if we count Jason Nash’s double VCDX) — Josh Coen, Bill Gurling, Jason Nash, Thomas Brown. Check out the presenter list — I skimmed it and see at least 4 more VCDX’s if not more. Want to talk to a real live VCDX? (they do come outside occasionally believe it or not) There’s not a better place to do so.
  • CCIE Concentration – take two on the previous comment. Let me highlight two specifically — Jeremy Waldrop is one of the first CCIE Datacenter and Michael Bruton is (to my knowledge) the only CCIE Wireless in the Carolinas not working for Cisco. What’s crazy is that I feel bad for not highlighting each and every other one of our CCIE’s (and there’s a double CCIE (Samir Rabbi) and triple CCIE in there too).
  • Sessions – let’s pick a few…
    • vSphere PowerCLI 6.0 – Automate Your Life – Alan Renouf – regularly a top 5 session at VMworld. If you like scripting, go.
    • EUC Layering – Earl Gay – anyone think we have more options in EUC than we did 3-5 years ago? Anyone have every single layering option straight in their head? If not, go.
    • Endpoint Protection with Bit9 – heard of security breaches this last year? (i.e. have you been alive? 😉 ) Heard of a company that does next generation endpoint security and has DOUBLED its sales last year? If not, go.
    • VMware NSX & Cisco ACI at the same event – yep….got that covered. I dare you to find another conference with both given equal billing. And yes, you’ll have various CCIE’s & VCDX’s presenting these (including Scott Lowe, Jason Nash, and Carly Stoughton).
    • VMware vCloud Air Disaster Recovery – Chris Colotti – sure, this is about the topic listed….but if you’ve not heard Chris present, just go to hear him period. It doesn’t really matter what the topic is….you’ll always learn something.
    • Cisco iWAN – Andy Gossett – want to hear a real hands-on Varrow CCIE (i.e. troubleshoots external OTV for fun…to give a recent example) discuss what some might call marketecture? (We don’t.) Come listen.
    • And here’s what’s sad…I’ve left out way more sessions than I’ve included (and my apologies to all those I left out).
  • Keynotes – want to hear some of what makes Varrow tick? Jeremiah Cook‘s keynote (Varrow CEO) always captures a slice of what makes Varrow unique. You can see his keynote from last year here. Want to hear a fascinating internet startup story and more? Alexis Ohanian (Reddit founder) will be giving the second keynote. Details here on Nash’s blog.
  • Vendor Booths – this is an industry event. As such, some of the vendors are not actually Varrow partners — this is intentional believe it or not. We want to give back to the community overall and a conference like this is one way to do it – come chat with everyone and learn about what’s going in the IT industry overall.
    • For those who have followed Varrow over the years, you may watch our blog site — this conference is really an outgrowth of that same energy.
  • Discussions – this is an IT conference by IT people for IT people. You’ll meet a lot of good IT folks here (mostly Varrow customers but not all). Looking for good off the cuff IT conversations with like-minded folk? There’s not a much better place to find them.

So….I think I’m out of reasons — hopefully that’s enough. 😉

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