Thursday, October 15, 2009

Presenting at OpenWorld is an experience

Actually even attending OpenWorld is an experience. I've been to plenty of tech conferences before but OpenWorld is unlike anything I've seen.

Everything about the conference is big - the number of attendees, exhibitors, sessions, even the number of venues since we took over Moscone North, South and West plus the Marriott across the street and the Hilton. The shear number and breadth of the content was astounding and I'm looking forward to taking advantage of the replays.

Beyond the actual size there's all sorts of attention to detail... Things like blocking off a street for tents for lunch and convenience between Moscone North and South, providing free food & drinks in the exhibit halls, running busses from all of the area hotels to the Moscone. And then, just to say thank you to our customers there was a concert on Wed night with Aerosmith, Roger Daltrey, the Wailers and Three Dog Night.

I managed to get to the keynotes from Scott McNealy, Michael Dell, and Thomas Kurian but was in a customer meeting during Larry's and will have to catch it on replay. From what I've seen on Twitter, blogs and press releases he shared the stage with The Governator, talked about the Exadata V2 box, introduced Fusion Apps (the first enterprise apps built on a modern middleware platform) and a bunch more.

And then there's the actual sessions...

In what I'm sure was a complete mistake someone approved me to do a session on securing WebLogic applications. Naturally I should never be trusted to do something like that on my own so April, the OES product manager, and I did the presentation together.

The session was standing room only and atypically for technnical presentations the entire thing went off without a hitch. April did the slide show and then I ran through a demo. Since we had a strict time limit I decided to use a recording of the demo rather than doing it live. I had the live system ready if people wanted us to go off the script or dig into unexpected areas and I wound up using it to show people the code behind the scenes. The recording turned out to be a great idea since it freed me from having to remember which username to log in with and let me focus on what was actually happening and keep a closer eye on people's reactions.

The core take away from our presentation was that if you have J2EE apps deployed on WebLogic Server you should take a very close look at two other Oracle products - OAM and OES. OAM gives you single sign-on across all of your apps including both home grown and shrink wrapped. Web SSO is a well known technology, is pretty widely deployed and, I don't recall anybody in the audience asking any questions about that.

OES was a whole 'nother story. There were questions about nearly every aspect of OES including details of the components, the policy model, how it integrates into WebLogic, what the app server protect automatically, how it's used in an app, and of course licensing questions. April fielded a few questions about integrations with other products I'd not even heard of before and then we ran out of time. After we were kicked out of the room I spent another 20-30 mins in the hallway showing people various aspects of the GUI and answering even more questions about the product. All in all I couldn't have asked for a better experience with my first session.

Unfortunately after the presentation was over and I was headed over to get a bite to eat with Josh I realized that I'd completely forgotten to put a link to the blog! If you're reading this after attending my session thanks for making the effort to find me here!

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