On June 17th 2014, 50 of Zadara’s customers and partners arrived at McCarran Airport in Las Vegas. Their first task was to sign-in, meet and greet the Zadara team and travel via a very short ride to the newly opened, 550-ft-tall, High Roller observation wheel (LINQ). It is the highest of it’s kind in the world! Last year our summit would have probably fit in in one of these huge cabins, however, this year we needed 3 to accommodate the fast-growing base of partners and customers who wanted to partake in our yearly event.
On June 18th we all settled down from the evenings activities and went to work. The theme of the summit was all about information sharing, network building and establishing the Zadara User Group, “ZUG”. We want to have our customers and partners interconnect in a way that inspires new use cases and technical capabilities to carry them forward.
Nelson Nahum our CEO kicked off the two-day event. His insight into Zadara and the state of the company is always appreciated. He was followed by several keynotes including Masashi Yuzawa (Zadara Storage Board Member and General Manager, Global Total Strategic Office, Cloud & Solution Company, Toshiba), Steve Kickert (CTO, Farm Intelligence), David Martineau (CTO, ContractPal) and Viktor Petersson (VP Business Development, CloudSigma).
All these fine speakers spoke of the cloud, futures and how storage is one of the most pivotal decisions a customer must make while choosing their cloud strategy. The status-quo cloud storage solutions of a few years ago which previously only ran test and development applications are no longer adequate for today’s bet-your-business cloud requirements. The cloud must now provide an equal to or better set of tools than their on-premise enterprise storage. Nothing less.
Whenever You Want to Understand How the Cloud is Working, Don’t Ask the Industry, Ask Your Customers
The summit then moved to a more free-flow format with panel of customers:
• Mike Hayes – Mgr of Infrastructure and Operations at Deloitte
• Bernie Velivis – Cloud Operations and Services Manager at Roadnet Technologies Inc.
• Scott Colestock – Director of Cloud Operations, Farm Intelligence
• Jamie Begin – Founder and CEO, RightBrain Networks
• Steve Bouzan – Manager Operations at Cognizant Technology Solutions
Answering questions like:
• Why did you move to the cloud?
• Were your assumption correct?
• What is missing from the cloud today and is that limiting your enterprise applications from being hosted?
Here’s what some of them had to say:
Whenever you want to understand how the cloud is working, don’t ask the industry, ask your customers. They will share and enlighten you. I was happy to hear that we were getting high marks for our part in their cloud strategies.
The day continued with several presentations which are critical at every sales meeting and customer event: company roadmap, technical, and partner sessions. After sitting in our chairs for about 8 hours… we had a fun game show with some lucrative prizes – a nice way to end a busy day and have some fun bonding and again networking with the attendees.
The evening was an extension of the day’s conversation, but we also provided a distraction from the daily life, with great food, comedian and magic acts and then for some they ventured to the slots and table games. We are in Vegas, aren’t we?
Day 2: June 19th, we all assembled for breakfast, additional card exchanges and relationships that will hopefully become long-term friendships. We kicked things off with again 2 great keynotes speakers. Jane Li (COO, Huawei) and Steven Cohen (Solutions Architect, Daystrom). Jane spoke of the vision of Huawei in the storage arena and how they can provide a Storage-as-a-Service offerings with Zadara while Steve gave a great overview of the Media and Entertainment vertical. For those that were not at the summit you are getting a great flavor of the impact that great partners and customers are making to the cloud industry.
I hosted the first of what should be many Zadara User Group “ZUG” meetings. Customer were excited to offer their suggestions, comments and future directions of our flagship product VPSA (Virtual Private Storage Array). We will be asking our customers how frequently we would like to meet, most likely virtually and what the format should look like. We use the term “Customer Service is in our DNA” and the ZUG is a small part of giving all our customers a voice.
We finished the summit with a meet and ask the engineers session. Still working toward the theme of information transfer in the customer’s terms and needs.
Oh, and in case you were worries, we had the World Cup games streamed on the big screen, to make sure we weren’t missing the important stuff!
The Most Important Thing To Remember: People Make A Difference
It is my belief that this was one of the best summit I have been part of in my 37 years in the industry. There have been many larger ones with thousands of partners and customers. But for a company like Zadara to have the clientele from all over the world join, share and partner with us, was like no other in my history. People always make the difference – and here’s a video to prove me right:
For those that attended, thank you from the entire Zadara Team. For those that could not make it, stand by, next year’s destination will soon be selected!
Thoughts? Questions? Feedback? Let me know in the comments below.
All the best and you know where to find me,
Customer Service is in our DNA