Freeport, Maine…known for world-class outlet shopping, LL Bean, and VTUG’s Summer Slam. Like years past, over 1000 Technologists descended on this vacationer’s haven to learn, experience, and network with peers. The doors opened at 8 a.m. in a school gym full of vendors with cutting-edge tech products. Flash storage was well represented with Pure Storage, Tegile, Tintri, Nimble, and NexGen. Also well represented was the hyper-converged market with Nutanix, DataCore, Pivot3, and Simplivity—all leading breakout sessions. And, of course, Object Storage was introduced to many IT leaders by Caringo during the sponsor expo and breakout sessions. Throughout the day, we shared pictures from Caringo’s Twitter (@CaringoStorage), LinkedIn, and Facebook accounts.

As someone who loves helping organizations solve business challenges with technology, there is no better forum than an event like Summer Slam. To be able to discuss the challenges faced by leading healthcare organizations one minute and the next to hear about the pressure to deliver IT services at Harvard and Dartmouth College is fascinating. The audience is diverse and it’s a chance to learn from real-world end users as well as an opportunity to offer solutions for unsolved problems. Storage continues to be a major pain point for most customers—from growth, to performance, to availability—and it becomes more complex every year. One noticeable change from last year to this year was the acceptance of a software-defined infrastructure as a solution compared to traditional hardware-based solutions. In some cases, customers are being “advised” by the financial stakeholders that they need to shift to the cost savings offered by software-defined storage.

This was also the first year our VP of Product, Tony Barbagallo, participated in the event. He presented A Crash Course on Object Storage to many of the attendees during the three breakout sessions in the afternoon, including a discussion on how object storage can be used as low-cost tiered storage for traditional file-based storage environments. The presentation was part of the How to protect from data loss, streamline backups & create new revenue streams webinar that Adrian J. Herrera, Caringo’s VP of marketing, presented with Ben Puzzuoli, Data Deposit Box’s Director of Sales.

Of course, the highlight for many in attendance was the evening reception: an all-you-can-eat feast including a huge lobster bake with corn, chicken, ribs, clams, steak and, of course, fresh Maine lobster. Our own @ajherrera felt the need to tweet about the huge quantities of food that were prepped for this event:

He also caught a couple of shots during the meal preparation:  

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I am not sure if it was the ability to smell the salt air or the open bar, but it was the sweetest lobster I’ve ever eaten. Technology discussions were continued over at the cigar truck, during a cornhole game or in the hot air balloon. Check out these pictures by Sean Thulin (@sthulin) of the hot air balloon.

I am pretty sure I saw one engineer using a lobster bib as a whiteboard! It’s a most unique setting for a technology discussion and quite different from the traditional convention centers found in cities such as Las Vegas, New Orleans or Orlando.

The next VTUG is not likely to include a lobster bake. It is usually held at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, home of the defending Super Bowl champions, the New England Patriots. (Details are yet to be announced.) However, with new advancements in technology every day and Caringo’s exciting line-up of new products coming out this year, there will undoubtedly be some exciting new solutions to learn about. I hope to see you there!