Thursday, May 1, 2008

Let the Sun Shine In

Sunshine on my face. Fresh air in my lungs. Finally, I’ve finished with my meetings at Interop here in Las Vegas, and I get a chance – albeit a short one – to sit outside for a few minutes and enjoy the weather.

Las Vegas, as you know, is designed to keep you inside – in the hotel restaurants, bars and shows, but mostly, in the casino. Since I arrived here on Monday, I’ve been inside, inhaling more second-hand smoke than I'd expect to breathe at a Catskills Mah Jongg tournament. (Three bam. Hack. Wheeze. Soap.) With the exception of the cab ride I took to get from the Interop show to Microsoft’s Management Summit in the Venetian Hotel, I was strictly behind closed doors.

The Venetian understands this longing to be outside. On the man-made piazza inside the hotel, restaurants offer dining inside or “outside.” If you choose outside, you’re in the middle of this piazza, with very high ceilings painted like the sky at sunset, and the lighting provides the feeling of day coming to a close. But even that gives an uneasy feeling after a while. You’re waiting for the sun to go all the way down, but it doesn’t. It’s perpetual pre-dusk.

Interop was a huge event. Some 350 exhibitors on the show floor, many interesting sessions – and one or two that I attended that were less engaging. A session on data center standardization that I expected to get specific about SNMP, 802.11N and other protocols instead was a vague talk about one company’s effort to get its multiple data centers on the same page in terms of tools, job responsibilities and management.

People were talking about virtualization, security, networking, storage, appliances and devices, telecommunications. After three full days of meetings and sessions, my head is spinning. But good news is at hand. The pool waitress has arrived, with frozen cocktails to help with the wind-down. Cheers!

-- David Rubinstein

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