Your Linux Data Center Experts

This week I've been in San Jose, CA, speaking at and attending ISPCON. Read on for my impressions…

In general, I'm not sure that ISPCON is the right name for the show. It seems like the best attended (non-keynote) talks are business-related, and many of the attendees are running ISPs. Another well attended event is the “ISP CEO Exchange”. I didn't end up making it to the Exchange here, but the one in Baltimore was quite good.

Wireless and Asterisk continued to have strong presence in the conference sessions. In one of the sessions, another attendee mentioned someone who is making money deploying fiber in rural areas. The basic idea being that even though you're going past only a few customers every mile (compared with urban areas), the investment may reasonably be for 20 years. Deploying a wireless infrastructure lets you hit many more customers, in many cases, but it's something that you'll be luck to have last for 5 years without having to deploy new infrastructure. Especially a concern with Wimax “right around the corner”.

In the exhibit floor, there were many VoIP providers. One of the keynotes was a from the president of Covad about how they are going heavily for VoIP. It was, literally, a Covad VoIP commercial. It was pretty awful. The keynote the next day was a panel about the business of hosting, and that one was really good.

One of the vendors was doing this thing where they were giving out like monopoly money, and at the end of the show were using this money to auction off a Sony PSP. However, the attendees didn't really have a chance, the bidding quickly went up to the point where it was between two other vendor reps that were there. One of them had 54 hundred-dollar tickets, another had 68. The nearest attendee had around 12 of them. I don't know if that was the expected consequence or not.

A presentation on DKIM was interesting. It is a signed message system like Yahoo's “DomainKeys” system. Apparently, there were political issues with getting DomainKeys to get wider adoption. So, DKIM is another proposal which maybe will get wider adoption. I'll believe it when Yahoo implements it. Only time will tell though. I'm skeptical…

One of the best attended sessions of the show was a repeat from Baltimore: Top 10 Managed/Value-added services of Today and Tomorrow (and 5 to avoid). There were 80 people there, 30 standing.

One of my favorite talks was from the Host My Site folks about great customer support. Of course, the show being largely about small ISPs, customer support is one of the largest things that we provide that the bigger companies do not. In fact, the keynote panel about “Building the Uber Host” explicitly prevented the panelists from talking about customer-support. Why? Because that easily would have been the primary thing they talked about, and most of the attendees already understand this.

After the show today, I took the light rail back to the hotel, and as I was passing the Cisco campus and pulling out of the lot was a Ferrari. Later in the evening, Pavel and I met up and I gave him a hard time for hot driving a Ferrari. He works at Cisco, I suggested that they should be standard issue.

It was a good show, I made a lot of contacts.

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