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IT conferences provide great information on new products, and also offer workshops and opportunities to network.
While many of these conferences provide live streams of the speakers and breakout sessions for those not in attendance, there is something about actually being at a conference that people enjoy.
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"Conferences are an opportunity to get out of my regular environment, my day-to-day routine, and immerse myself in different ideas," said Neil Parker, head of business intelligence at ORC International. "Conferences motivate me and offer me different perspectives."
This list runs the gambit from huge conferences to smaller local events. The following conferences and events are great for IT operations pros and DevOps teams, and focus on modern applications.
2016 IT conferences
June 19-21, Seattle, WA
With containers starting to appear in mainstream enterprise deployments, DockerCon provides insights for current and prospective users alike. The company is providing hands-on lab tutorials, advanced technical talks and example uses at large enterprises. Last year's event showcased new networking features. Many sessions this year are already sold out, including a three-hour session that covers developing with microservices.
Red Hat Summit 2016
June 27-30, San Francisco, CA
The Red Hat Summit showcases what's new in systems management, cloud computing, virtualization and storage, offering over 200 breakout sessions, labs and keynotes from industry leaders. Red Hat Summit 2015 included a heavy focus on enterprise DevOps. Hopefully the 2016 Summit will feature something as cool as last year's four-sided pong game.
Throughout 2016, multiple cities
DevOpsDays are local conferences organized by volunteers and enthusiasts that happen around the globe, with U.S. events in cities such as Boston, New York, Minneapolis, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit and more. These two-day events combine four short presentations, a 30-minute block of IGNITE style talks and an open forum of discussions with peers, presenters and vendors.
July 11-13, Austin, TX
Chef's three-day conference is for the DevOps community and provides interactive sessions to learn and hone skills, such as implementing an Agile automated workflow. Last year, the company shared improvements in continuous delivery at the conference. The event also features talks from executives who have successfully transformed their businesses to use DevOps principles.
June 20-23, Santa Clara, CA; September 19-22, New York, NY
O'Reilly Media's Velocity conferences cover cloud, Internet of Things (IoT), mobile and enterprise IT, but mostly DevOps, web operations and performance. Each has days dedicated to training, tutorials and the conference at large. The New York show has a two-day training course about continuous integration, delivery and deployment with Docker.
Gartner Catalyst Conference
August 15-18, San Diego, CA
The Gartner Catalyst Conference is for a wide variety of IT professionals. There are events for those whose roles cover infrastructure and operations, security and risk, business intelligence and applications. It includes high-level thought-provoking discussions, such as what are successful business personas. For those overwhelmed by all the session options, Gartner put together 19 suggested schedules, the first of which is called, "How do we successfully adopt and improve our use of agile and DevOps methodologies?"
August 28-September 1, Las Vegas, NV
VMworld spans five days and supplies the usual: keynote speakers, breakout sessions, solution exchanges, certifications, group discussions and more. With virtualization at near ubiquity and cloud, containers and software-defined data centers on your agenda, check out last year's VMworld key takeaways to gear up for 2016.
Multiple events, multiple cities
This series of summits offers new and experienced cloud users a look at the Amazon Web Services platform and how to use the service more efficiently. Find a city near you.
Gartner Symposium / ITxpo 2016
October 16-20, Orlando, Fla.
The Gartner Symposium/ITxpo focuses more on leadership than Catalyst, with agenda items like creating a dynamic organization and driving business performance. This conference is aimed at CIOs and how apps and infrastructure play into their business strategy. For example, last year saw cognitive computing as a theme.
Three types of 2016 IT conferences
There are three types of IT conferences: Vendor, industry and user. Vendor conferences offer a single destination for product announcements, panel discussions and workshops. Industry conferences cover a broad spectrum of topics spanning IT as a whole. Many of them are sponsored events and/or put on by publishers and research firms. User conferences are aimed specifically at and usually organized by developers and/or IT operations professionals, and offer hands on workshops, trainings and are often less expensive.
October 17-21, San Diego, CA
Puppet Labs' conference is all about IT automation and DevOps, with talks and sessions covering continuous delivery, release management, containers, microservices, hybrid and cloud management and deployment, application release automation, continuous integration and more. The first three days are full of training, and the third, fourth and fifth days are packed with sessions, a keynote, demos, testings and social events. Oh, and there is a 5K fun run on Thursday morning, so bring your sneakers.
Throughout 2016, multiple cities
Puppet Camps are regional events held in major cities across the county that pack trainings, demos and speakers into one day, like a shortened version of PuppetConf. Find the Puppet Camp nearest you.
DevOps Enterprise Summit
November 7-9, San Francisco, CA
The DevOps Enterprise Summit is a three-day conference aimed at the leaders of large businesses who are implementing DevOps principles and practices.
AWS re:Invent 2016
Nobember 28-December 2, Las Vegas, NV
With double as many breakout sessions as last year and "quirky after hours experiences," AWS re:Invent is Amazon's largest event with mini-conferences for containers and serverless computing. If you see a breakout session you like, make sure to reserve your seat. See what AWS users had to say about last year's event.
If none of these dates work for you or you want a more intimate setting, try finding local Meetup events about topics that can advance your IT operations career.
Continuous coverage of EMC World 2016
Connectivity and confusion at IoT World 2016
Special coverage of Sapphire Now 2016