Blog Written By: Kevin Mort, VP Technology Services, Flagship Solutions Group

So we just got back from Las Vegas, and the 2016 iteration of IBM Edge. Billed as a premier infrastructure conference, Edge provided its usual massive array of sessions covering everything from Power and System Z servers, storage (both hardware and software) to cognitive computing, analytics, Internet of Things and cloud (in its wide variety of forms).

Events like Edge are feats of engineering – bringing together over 5500 attendees, speakers, scheduling logistics, events and one rather large food tent.

Aside from the usual presentations, the Monday opening general session included a favorite topic of mine – racing. This year IBM brought the CIO of Formula One team Red Bull Racing to the stage to talk about how they use IBM technology. Customer stories are great to hear, but this is one which I think really got the crowd interested. It’s not your usual customer situation. And as it turns out, they use several products which we have sold into Flagship customers, like IBM Spectrum Scale storage, and IBM’s Spectrum Protect backup and recovery software.

Over the course of the week, one topic which I found to be growing in interest was blockchain. You’ve probably heard about blockchain in reference to BitCoin, which is one of the first applications built on blockchain technology. Blockchain helps to ensure security in transactions through a shared ledger of the transaction steps, which is verifiable across each member of the chain. IBM has joined with the Linux Foundation to help grow the technology, and with the Hyperledger project, they’re giving customers a chance to work with the blockchain concept to see how it could apply in their business. One of the examples given has to do with the diamond trade and their tracking of each stone as it travels through the marketplace, including how to track down those stones known as “blood diamonds”. It’s a fascinating idea which I know I hadn’t given much thought to until now.

IBM’s large events always seem to include a stage show on one of the evenings, or a park visit when they’re in Orlando. This year we were treated to a performance from Train. A roughly 90 minute show along with the poolside reception and another band, this time members of the Rocket Software team, provided the evening entertainment on Wednesday.

We certainly use the time at these conferences to learn new skills, and perhaps pass a few certifications. However, the main thing we get out of them is face-to-face contact with our customers, vendors and friends, along with the IBM and distribution teams. This year was no exception, and it is why I always recommend setting aside the time to attend face-to-face events, whether they be on the scale of IBM Edge, or COMMON or smaller, such as a local user group meeting or hosted lunch & learn.

Vegas was hot, and so was the tech – now we take what we learned and apply it to doing the best job we can for our customers. Our industry is in constant change, with many solutions to common IT problems. We make sure we stay on top of what’s going on so we can help.

Schedule a consultation to discuss your specific business goals with one of our qualified consultants.

Also read a recent IBM Press Release quoting Flagship CEO, Mark Wyllie: IBM Expands All-Flash Storage Offerings for Cloud and Cognitive Computing

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