NetApp Conference Perseveres; Show Will Go On Tuesday Despite Las Vegas Shooting Tragedy
Joseph F. Kovar
NetApp and its CEO George Kurian have responded to Monday's tragic shooting in Las Vegas near the venue of its NetApp Insight 2017 conference by offering help to attendees who need it, canceling pre-conference events and the post-conference party, while keeping the main event intact.
NetApp's schedule changes received praise from the storage vendor's channel partners who said the company has made all the right moves in the wake of Sunday night's killing of 58 people and wounding of nearly 600 more by a single gunman.
NetApp on Monday said it had canceled all the pre-show events, including training and classes and after-hours festivities. Attendee registration initially set to start 7:00 a.m., eventually started at noon. The company held its Monday lunch as scheduled, and made it open to anyone whether they had a NetApp Insight badge or not.
NetApp has also canceled its Wednesday night customer appreciation party. The party had scheduled the band Weezer as its headline act, with the Spazmatics as the opening act.
Kurian, in a statement, said he was shocked and saddened by the tragic shooting.
"I am sure you all share these sentiments," he said. "My heart and the hearts of thousands of NetApp employees break for the loved ones of those affected by the terrible events."
Kurian continued: "I encourage you to make the decision that is right for you about whether to participate or not. If you choose to participate, we look forward to welcoming you at Insight. Please note, we will have increased security at the event. The Mandalay Bay Hotel is open with a normal check-in process. If you choose not to attend Insight Las Vegas, please email [us] to let us know."
Kurian also said that, when tragedy strikes, the community is important.
"NetApp is committed to supporting the people of Las Vegas and will be sharing our plan with you along with other information shortly," he said. "NetApp will stand strong in the face of senseless violence and continue with the conference for those who want to attend."
"I think [NetApp's response] is a good balance of respect for the situation, and respect for the people who traveled a long way to come here for training," said Glenn Dekhayser, field chief technology officer at Red8, a Costa Mesa, Calif.-based solution provider.
"NetApp's response was fine, measured, appropriate," said John Woodall, vice president of engineering at Integrated Archive Systems, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based solution provider and long-time NetApp channel partner. "If you want to leave, or are not here yet, do what's best for you. That's the best response. Do you call off Insight? No. But it's important that everyone does what's best for them."
Any inconvenience experienced by attendees of NetApp Insight 2017 is inconsequential, Woodall said. "People were killed, and lives were changed forever," he said. "The technology, the business, and all that stuff will be here afterward."