COMMON Fall Conference Takes Shape as Annual Meeting Draws Near
April 19, 2010 Dan Burger
Just like any business would do, COMMON communicates with its members (same as a business does with customers) to discover what it can do to be more responsive to their needs. The annual conference, for which COMMON is best known, bundles the largest and most diverse educational and networking opportunities pertaining to the IBM Power Systems platform into a single conference package, but timing, location, and cost make the annual event unfeasible for some folks to attend. Therefore, the COMMON board has to deliver attractive options for those who find the main event an uncomfortable fit.
That’s not to say COMMON members only attend one event each year. I imagine there are folks who double up on COMMON events and maybe attend local one-day seminars as well. The point is that COMMON is offering options, and they are planned on the basis of member feedback (and some non-member feedback as well). In a previous interview with IT Jungle, COMMON president Wayne Madden acknowledged, “We do a lot of surveys to ask people what they want. COMMON develops a strategic plan and part of that is where we want to be as a user organization.”
So this fall–October 4 through 6–the COMMON Fall Conference and Expo will take place in San Antonio, Texas. It is scheduled to have 112 educational sessions, a diverse lineup that will likely include some sessions on AIX and Linux (based on COMMON’s stated goal of being a Power Systems organization), along with the usual emphasis on IBM i, and something a bit different: vendor-led sessions.
The educational sessions presented by vendors will be something new, and are designed to be specific to vendors’ products. According to COMMON’s Web site, “this gives attendees even more choices on how to maximize their time at the conference. They can choose to get more education on the products that they may already use, as well as learn about the newest technologies to help their organization.”
The session grid is still a work in progress. Submissions from COMMON members volunteering to present sessions are still coming in. This “call for papers” is a regular process that factors into session determination.
Chair of the COMMON Fall Conference Task Force, Pete Massiello, in a press release announcing the event, emphasized the impact of member feedback on the development of the conference.
“We asked members and non-members to see what type of education would benefit them the most in this economic state and what they are looking for in a conference,” Massiello said. The addition of vendor-led sessions was part of the feedback. And he also noted the cost-saving aspect saying, “[The conference] will offer great value to attendees and benefit the overall Power Systems community.”
The COMMON Fall Conference and Expo will be located at the Crowne Plaza Riverwalk in San Antonio. Room rates are $125 plus tax. That’s almost $100 per night cheaper than the host hotel at the upcoming annual meeting in Orlando.
Registration for the fall conference will open after the COMMON 2010 Annual Meeting in Orlando. The registration fee has not been established yet.
Meanwhile, the COMMON 2010 Annual Meeting and Exposition is just two weeks away. This conference celebrates the 50th anniversary of COMMON. The event will be held in Orlando, Florida. The educational lineup features more than 300 sessions plus four pre-conference workshops, and billed as the largest, most diverse lineup of IBM Power Systems education available. The session agenda includes 61 sessions never before presented at COMMON. A portion of those are from the “New Technology Overview” course of study that will include sessions on integration (mixing i, AIX, and Linux), encryption, cloud computing, blade computing, Web 2.0, application modernization, Web services, and frameworks.