It has become a way of life in the IT world. Conference seasons wax and wane, but remain one of the best ways to get practical information and make contacts with vendors and other IT pros.
The spring conference and trade show schedule ramps up in March, and dies out in June. Then, as soon as the Independence Day celebrations fall silent, it's time for IT professionals to start looking at autumn -- even August -- travel.
Here's a quick look at some upcoming events around the US that deal with technologies including networking, cloud, data centers, storage, and security.
This listing is only a sample. Let us know in a comment which events -- listed here or not -- you plan to attend, where they are, and what you hope to learn in your travels.
Black Hat USA 2014
August 2-7, Las Vegas
This is the industry leading security conference's 17th year in Las Vegas. Black Hat USA provides six days of learning, networking, and skill building, as those who know their way around -- and into -- IT systems share their experiences. Briefings at the Mandalay Bay event are designed to be educational and vendor neutral. Training sessions address topics such as active defense, adaptive penetration testing, advance web attacks, protecting healthcare technology, and network forensics. Follow the action at @BlackHatEvents.
Flash Memory Summit
August 5-7, Santa Clara, Calif.
That rumble you've been hearing for the past six months has been solid-state storage and flash making their way into enterprise data centers. The Flash Memory Summit conference and trade show promises discussions of flash memory-based architectures, NVMe and PCIe SSDs, and controllers, as well as enterprise applications, power considerations, virtualization, data centers. Presentations focus on a mix of topics for IT professionals and for the storage industry. The event also hosts vendor-sponsored, hands-on labs and the IT Brand Pulse 2014 SSD Innovation Leader Awards, which are voted on by IT professionals. Keynote speakers include Apple co-founder and Fusion-io Chief Scientist Steve Wozniak. Get all the updates by following @FlashMem.
VMworld 2014 US
August 24-28, San Francisco
VMwares big get-together, VMworld, drew 22,000 people to Moscone Center last year. This years theme is based on the concept that the mobile-cloud has arrived, and that software is making IT more capable, more accessible and more reliable. It's no surprise, virtualization, IT infrastructure, and advice on implementing VMware technologies are common themes in the 400-plus sessions. Stay up on the action by following @VMworld.
Super Mobility Week
September 9-11, Las Vegas
The conversation at Super Mobility Week, which is organized by CTIA, will range from smart cars to network design and enterprise mobile innovation. CTIA describes it as the largest mobile event in North America. Tracks focus on connected life, innovation, and intelligent networks. Keynoters include FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, Verizon CEO Dan Mead, Alcatel-Lucent CEO Michel Coombes, Lookout CEO Jim Dolce, Microsoft Executive Vice President Steve Elop, Twilio CEO Jeff Lawson, SAP CEO Bill McDermott, and Sprint CEO Dan Hesse. Organizers are planning on 1,100 exhibitors and 40,000 attendees for the conference and trade show at the Sands Expo & Convention Center.The 4G World event will co-locate with Super Mobility Week. Follow CTIA events at @CTIAShows.
Interop New York & Cloud Connect Summit
September 29-October 3, New York
When it launched 28 years ago, Interop was the place where vendors could display their TCP/IP-based technologies and test their ability to interoperate with other vendors' products. Today, while Interop still has its eye on interoperability, the conference and trade show have expanded their focus to a much broader range of technologies and IT challenges. Conference tracks include application, the business of IT, cloud, collaboration, infrastructure, mobility, security and software-defined networking. As part of the cloud track, the co-located Cloud Connect Summit is a two-day program developed around critical cloud decisions. Interop is organized by UBM Tech, parent of Network Computing, so our staff will be on hand throughout the week. Get all the updates from @Interop.
Data Center World
October 19-22, Orlando
AFCOM's Data Center World at the Hyatt Regency Orlando leads off its messaging by saying, "Disruptive change is here to stay." What's so disruptive in the data center? Only things like energy management, demands for 100-percent uptime, security threats, sustainability, the move to SSD, the move to SDN, the cloud, and the need for scalability. Attendees range from operations personnel up through the management levels to CIOs. Keynoters aren't listed yet. The event is organized by AFCOM, a long-time association of data center and facilities management professionals. For updates on the agenda and more, follow @datacenterworld.
November 4-6, Santa Clara, Calif.
The cloud is gaining speed when it comes to adoption by enterprises. Organizers of the Cloud Expo cite research showing that 94% of enterprises are using some form of cloud computing and services, and that 74% have a hybrid cloud strategy. The expo at the Santa Clara Convention Center plans to address key themes beyond cloud itself, including big data, software-defined data centers, the Internet of things, DevOps, and WebRTC. Follow all the action at @CloudExpo.
November 9-14, Seattle
LISA is the Usenix-sponsored conference for large-installation system administration. If that sounds a little vague, the tagline says it's "Where systems engineering and operations professionals share real-world knowledge about designing, building, and maintaining the critical systems of our interconnected world." Sounds like a good fit for infrastructure pros, especially those hankering for the view of the Puget Sound from the Sheraton Seattle. This fall's agenda is still in the works, but last year's conference focused on cloud system administration, DevOps, Linux, and coding - all in the context of a large networked environment. The program features highly technical sessions given by end users and researchers, so if you're looking for in-depth sysadmin content, look no further. You can also check out last year's presentations online. Get all the updates for this fall by following@LISAConference.
Gartner Data Center Conference
December 2-5, Las Vegas
Gartner puts its infrastructure and operations focused analysts on stage for the Gartner Data Center Conference, held this year at the Venetian Resort Hotel and Casino. The agenda isn't finalized yet, but planned themes include data center infrastructure management, emerging storage architectures, hybrid cloud, business value dashboards, and BYOD effects on networks. One suggestion to Gartner for the agenda: Considering how many different types of engineers and engineering-oriented pros will be in the audience, set aside an hour to have someone from the Venetian discuss the architectural challenges of designing and constructing those canals that the gondolas cruise. It's an interesting story. For more on the conference program and other Gartner events, follow @Gartner_inc.