Thursday, December 15, 2011

Pan-European event? Returning to Germany next Fall!

Following considerable activity among NonStop regional user groups – particularly in Europe during the past few weeks – it is good to see that next year, there will be even more support for the NonStop community with new events just being announced!

The year is winding down and there is little need of me to recount the places I have visited these past two months – nearly all of these travels have already been well described in previous posts to this blog, as well as to other blogs I support. However, it’s still worthwhile mentioning just how good it is to catch up with many folks who continue to depend upon NonStop – users, vendors as well as HP NonStop itself. While I had hoped to squeeze in a visit to just one of the user events that was held (missing a trip to Paris, of course, was hard to take) time and circumstances worked against me.

However, for next year, I am already blocking out dates on my calendar. Yes, I am even blocking out the week of June (June 4th – 7th, I believe it is) to make sure I find my way to Las Vegas for HP Discover. As far as 2012 goes I have no more daughters about to marry so I should be fine on that count. Returning to the west coast I hope that there is a track venue open to spend at least one day laying down laps as, unfortunately, this year has been a bit of a bust on that front with weather and breakages having worked against me.

There have been so many changes at HP – people, technologies, and initiatives that it has been hard to keep up. My next “Musings on NonStop” feature to appear in the Tandemworld.Net e/Newsletter will cover some of these changes and will provide further opinions as to what I thought of them, but even so Meg Whitman as CEO, the demise of WebOS, not forgetting the abrupt ending of HP’s foray into tablet PCs and more recently, the unveiling of Odyssey, a new initiative embracing Intel’s x86 chip technology. Look for my commentary on all of this in the December, 2012, issue of Tandemworld.net, but it reminds me of just how volatile IT can be and of how important it is to stay attuned to all that is taking place at HP. It can be just so easy to end up with plans and programs not aligned with what our primary vendor is pursuing and that too may be working against us!

Clearly, the single biggest mitigating factor against situations like this comes with participation in user events. Particularly, the larger events that attract the participation of HP’s senior management and where even the simplest of roadmap presentations can reveal product and feature “gems” we may have missed or discounted for one reason or another. Getting the picture from someone positioned to know, and then having it framed within a context we may be familiar with, often leads to unexpected revelations that can be extremely beneficial to our own technology roll-out plans.

Against this background it was good to receive the first emails from comForte CEO, Dr. Michael Rossbach, about next year’s GTUG event to be held in Dresden, Germany. In cooperation with Connect, it will take place late in the Fall (Wednesday through Thursday, September 26th – 27th) and, as this is simply a part of Germany I would really like to see, I am looking forward to participating. It was back in September 2010 that I rented a car and toured around much of the western portions of Germany, and I am tempted to rent another car to better explore the countryside that borders the Elbe River – something I thought I may never have an opportunity to do even when, in the 1980s, I worked for Nixdorf Computers.

“The official program will start Wednesday morning and run for 2 days through to the end of Thursday and will be packed with presentations, SIGs and keynotes,” Dr. Rossbach wrote in his email. “But (the event) will offer, apart from the office program, hours for discussions as well,” he went on to explain before highlighting how, “late afternoon Thursday will be spent with a guided sightseeing tour which will finally lead to the dinner at the Italian Village – just beside the Semper Opera House and the Elbe river.” For me, apart from the highlights already mentioned, there is more to this story as this event represents more than just another user group meeting.

With the 2012 event in Dresden, GTUG will be essentially holding a pan-European user event. Yes, there will be plenty of opportunities for the domestic NonStop community, but the intention here is to provide something of value to the greater European Nonstop community. In so doing, GTUG will provide a “forum” that HP NED will be only too happy to support, and in a way, builds on what I have seen of late at both CTUG and SATUG events. With the focus of the bigger HP correctly centered on big-tent marketing events where everything HP produces is on display, for communities such as we have today with NonStop, regional events that cater to cross-border participation represent an inexpensive model for “getting the picture from someone positioned to know!”

“We are intentionally framing this as a pan-European event that will leverage the GTUG community,” Dr. Rossbach informed me as I put this post together “in order to lay the foundation, hopefully, for similar events in the future. Whether rotated among the major regional user groups like GTUG, BITUG, and VNUG, our goal is to provide a valuable experience featuring the content the NonStop community wants to hear but at a price that is affordable for the majority of users.” Perhaps, between user groups like CTUG, SUNTUG, and even the community close to San Jose, we will see something develop along similar lines in North America. While there’s been some initial ideas being passed around, I don’t think we need to get much more adventurous than this in order to provide the right environment for users to meet and for HP NED to support!

It may still be months away, but as for me that week is definitely blocked out from any other possible distractions, and I am looking forward to catching up with as many of you as I can! Now, what car should I think of renting once I land in Frankfurt?

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