So it’s the end of day 2 here in Frankfurt as I sit in my hotel room at the end of a very long day.
We flew out yesterday morning on a very early flight from Heathrow (because we will not be stopped by a silly ash cloud) and arrived around 10:30 local time where we dived straight into the sessions.
So both yesterday and today have been spread between time spent in various seminars and sessions and time spent speaking to a number of vendors and subject matter experts in the exhibition area.
So what’s new?
Well a big event was the launch of the new HP SuperDome servers. To a lot of people, this really is a big deal and will change the way they do things. It certainly looks impressive and I can see the attraction. It’s just a shame that it does not fit the needs of the customers I tend to work with. Having said that, one of my colleagues from internal IT is here and he seems really excited by it so I may see one in a data centre near me soon.
So other points that stood out for me where the new Intel Xenon chips that now have additional instruction sets to hardware accelerate encryption. With a lot of talk about borderless networks (remember I was banging on about this back in 2007), this could really help make that a reality.
The plenary keynote sessions were also very good this year. All too often these feel too much like a sales pitch but this year, whilst of course there was a large dose of self promotion, we have some very interesting speakers.
The keynotes were hosted by Mark Jeffries who kept the pace up and was entertaining in his own right. We had some interesting talks from Intel and HP on what the data centre might look like in 2020 and at the end of today’s session had a fascinating talk from Dr Robert Ballard who is an Oceanographer and was responsible for finding the Titanic and the Bismarck to name but two. He gave a fantastic insight into the world he works in under the oceans which are still largely unchartered.
He also talked to us about the technology he is using today to further marine exploration and how it is changing the way he works.
In the past, he might spend 2 hours descending to the ocean floor in a submarine, spend 2 hours exploring and then spend 2 more hours getting back to the surface. In reality this limited exploration time to just 2 hours a day.
Today using high speed communication links, he is sending down a submarine that is unmanned so can stay down on the ocean floor for much longer periods of time. The key difference here however is that his command and control centre is not on the ship on the surface. Instead all the data is sent via satellite back to a number of centres around the globe so that when something interesting is found, they can get the leading subject matter expert to that centre in under an hour and then give that person full control of the robot on the ocean floor. In addition all this data is also being pumped over high speed pipes to schools and other academic locations in the US where children can see all this going on in real time.
Dr Ballard used the term Electronic Travel. He might not physically on the ocean floor but his spirit is there and he can see and do everything he could do if he was there in person. We are today in a place where the technology exists to take our “spirit” somewhere else without leaving our chair. Yes this is building on the idea of remote working and has mirrors in medicine where doctors are now operating on patients half way around the world using fast connections and robots but again this is another application where the technology we have right here and right now is changing the world and peoples lives.
Finally today saw another keynote, this time from Steve Wozniak (yes that Steve Wozniak) talking about Fusion IO (a company he is now working for) who are doing some really clever stuff around solid state storages. Instead of making solid state disks that look just like normal hard drives, Fusion IO is working on attaching this very fast and low power storage directly to the bus in the server delivering order of magnitude performance gains in the process.
And at the end of that session a draw took place where Steve handed out a number of personally signed copies of his Autobiography (iWoz) before heading off into the sunset on his Segway and yours truly was one of the winners so happy days.
So it’s now the end of the day and we have seen and heard lots and lots.
The weather here in Frankfurt is stunning and I am sure we will be heading out for some of that German hospitality tonight.
I will post back at the end of the show as I am sure there will be much more to report after tomorrow.
In the meantime, the Twitter Hash Tag for this event is #HPTAW and more info of the event itself is over at www.hp.com/go/tw2010