Vegas, Baby: IBM, NetApp Schedule IT Confabs Named 'Insight' For Same Time, Place

Solution providers and business users heading next week to Las Vegas for the Insight conference might be forgiven if they end up at the wrong place given that two of the IT industry's top vendors, IBM and NetApp, are holding separate events with the same name.

IBM Insight, formerly known as IBM Information On Demand, is being held from Oct. 26-30 at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, where partners and customers can learn about the latest in IBM's big data and analytics technologies.

NetApp Insight, meanwhile, is being held Oct. 27-30 about a half-mile up the road at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

[Related: A Tale of Two Conferences: Cisco, HP Schedule Rival Global Partner Events]

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It is an interesting coincidence if for no other reason that the two until recently were partners in the storage industry, with IBM reselling NetApp storage appliances to its solution providers and customers.

IBM and NetApp in 2005 signed on OEM agreement under which IBM resold much of NetApp's storage hardware under the IBM N-series moniker. The storage systems sold by IBM under that agreement were essentially identical to the same models sold by NetApp except for the logo.

That relationship ended this summer.

At least one solution provider who partners with both IBM and NetApp found the similarities in both events humorous.

"Not only are they both being held in Las Vegas," said Tom Hughes, director of alliances at Greenwood Village, Colo.-based solution provider Technology Solutions Group at Ciber, "but MGM and Mandalay Bay? The least they could do is put the events in hotels owned by different organizations."

Hughes was referring to the fact that both properties are owned by MGM Resorts International.

Hughes told CRN NetApp and IBM both have great solutions for big data.

"The least they could do is meet at Excalibur," he said, referring to another large hotel between the MGM Grand and Mandalay Bay.

Excalibur is also owned by MGM Resorts International.

Hughes also noted that, while he is attending the IBM Insight program, he will be staying at the MGM Grand where NetApp Insight is being held.

"Imagine the possible confusion if I didn't know there were two events, and I checked into the MGM Grand and saw signs for Insight," he said.

NetApp and IBM are not the first to schedule major conferences at the same time.

Archrivals Hewlett-Packard and Cisco scheduled their annual partner conferences for the same time this past March, also in Las Vegas. The HP Global Partner Conference 2014 was held at the MGM Grand and the Cisco Partner Summit 2014 was held at the Venetian Hotel.

Those two in 2010 also held simultaneous partner conferences as well, although the Cisco conference that year was in San Francisco while the HP conference was in Las Vegas.

Close partners HP and VMware in 2012 also just happened to schedule their annual partner conferences in Las Vegas during the same week in February, causing them to scramble to coordinate schedules to give solution providers the opportunity to go to key presentations at both.