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If Interop Is An Indicator, Business Is Picking Up

After a being stuck in the press room doing briefings back to back for four days at Storage Networking World, I'm glad to be back in Vegas for the week of gambling, drinking and technology that is Interop. While the hordes of tech hungry geeks waiting for the doors to open promptly at what for those of us who indulge in those activities that should stay in Vegas is the unconscionable hour of ten a.m. were small compared to those at Comdex, or even Interop in their 1990s heydays. The show floor was bigger and seemed busier than in recent years.

As usual there was good swag, misguided giveaways and vendors resorting to everything from a Ford GT-40 to live boxing and of course, attractive young ladies to draw people to their booths. Luckily, no one stooped to the questionable white spandex displays of years past. My friend Stephen Foskett of Gestalt IT posted a video of vendors explaining how their booths related to their products here. Of course, hidden away in all this glitz were the comparatively boring but critical products that make our networks and data centers actually run.

In the good swag category were the business-card holder that looks like a little server rack from Rack Solutions, and the padded "cable organizer" that I managed to turn into a case for my iPad in just a few minutes by opening the seams that made it three compartments with a razor blade. Rack Solutions makes some of those boring bits, like the rack-mount tray that lets you mount your own LCD monitor and keyboard that they sell for $399. Add in a nice 19" monitor and keyboard with touchpad and it's a few hundred less than the prepackaged versions and you can replace the monitor or keyboard cheaply when something goes wrong.

But nComputing, in what may have been the best booth giveaway of all time, actually gave away 1000 of their thin clients for VDI environments. Knowing that geeks will go through free stuff like nComputing made, attendees spend at least a few minutes with a qualified sales person to so they would understand what it was they were getting.  

Contrast that to a vendor in a 10x10 booth in one corner of the hall who thought an iPad raffle would draw attendees to their booth. The iPad being almost as big an object of lust as the GT-40 it did. So many lusted after it that the crowd was four-people thick, and I couldn't even figure out who the vendor was or what they were selling. These poor folks are going to get home with thousands of unqualified leads. Finding the few actual prospects in that pile is going to cost a bundle and they would have been better off keeping the iPad. Now that my wallet is $300 lighter from the craps tables I'm back in beautiful Hoboken getting real work done so I can pay off my marker before Furio comes to collect.