It is often very hard to plan which virtualization and cloud conferences to attend and why. You may need to start your planning now as justification from work could be hard to come by. It may mean you make the decision to go on your own dime. If you do the later, there are some alternative mechanisms that could work for the bigger conferences. The conferences and events I attend every year depend on my status with the organization hosting those events, and whether or not I can get a ‘deal’ as a speaker, analyst, or blogger. So what conferences do I find worth attending? That will also depend on your job role. There is one I would attend regardless of role, and a few I would attend as a Virtualization and Cloud Security person. All are good conferences. So here is my list:

  • VMworld United States. VMworld US tops my list of virtualization and cloud conferences to attend. This year it is in Las Vegas. Shortly John Troyer’s VMware Communities Podcast will list out ways to gain the justification you need to attend. The primary justification I see is that you will be in an environment that talks virtualization from breakfast to well past dinner. You can discuss your problems, and get solutions from others of like mind. This is the best conference to attend.
  • RSA Conference. RSA Conference is always at the top of my list and while the US version already happened, there is the European version still to come in London.
  • InfoSec Summit on Cloud and Virtualization Security. The InfoSec Summit on Cloud and Virtualization Security (April 22) was a big draw last year at InfoSec World. This one day conference packs a lot of cloud and virtualization security discussions into a full day. Come to Orlando, FL for this one. Smaller than RSA, but just as packed with information. Get a discount using registration code OS11/VP. This year, at the Summit, you will hear from industry leaders in virtualization and cloud security. The keynote speaker is Peter Mell of NIST who defined the cloud and is now working on continual auditing of complex cloud based systems.  There are two panels with virtualization and cloud vendors, and several discussions on how to keep the momentum and secure your virtualized or cloud environment, including the legal issues.
  • The Regional VMUG. I am in the New England area and find the Regional New England VMUG to be outstanding. If you can make one of the regional VMUGs, I suggest you go. While these are 1 day events, they are packed with vendors and information and best of all they are driving distance. New England has one a quarter it seems like but the big ones are in the Winter (Gillette Stadium) and Summer (Lobster Bake).
  • Hacker Halted. I often speak at Hacker Halted in Miami on Cloud and Virtualization Security topics with others. Last year’s panel on cloud security was quite interesting. This show is much more hands on than any of the others and lasts just 3 days. EC Council, who puts on the conference, also offers security and ethical hacking courses. This conference is very much like Black Hat or Defcon but limited in attendance. If you are in the Miami area, it is well worth attending.

The main reason to attend any or all of these conferences is to increase your knowledge of the current attacks, options, and thoughts with respect to virtualization and cloud security, virtualization and cloud in general, and new thoughts in virtualization and cloud.  The secondary reason is to be part of an environment where you get to eat, sleep, and talk about virtualization and cloud for as many hours as there are in a day. This will allow you to network and find people and vendors that can solve your problems, help you with your upgrades, or to aid in fine-tuning your environment. The tertiary reason, is that you are immersed within an environment where you will learn and come out wanting more. Even if you come just for one day, many of these conferences are worth it. Walking the Expo floors are exciting and talking with everyone is incredible.

What other conferences do you wish to attend? What justifications do you use when you ask to go to a conference?

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Edward Haletky (381 Posts)

Edward L. Haletky, aka Texiwill, is the author of VMware vSphere(TM) and Virtual Infrastructure Security: Securing the Virtual Environment as well as VMware ESX and ESXi in the Enterprise: Planning Deployment of Virtualization Servers, 2nd Edition. Edward owns AstroArch Consulting, Inc., providing virtualization, security, network consulting and development and The Virtualization Practice where he is also an Analyst. Edward is the Moderator and Host of the Virtualization Security Podcast as well as a guru and moderator for the VMware Communities Forums, providing answers to security and configuration questions. Edward is working on new books on Virtualization.

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