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Brainshare 2006 Preview

Articles and Tips:

Todd Swenson

01 Feb 2006

Anyone who has attended BrainShare will tell you that it's more than just another technology conference--that there has always been a "certain something" that sets BrainShare apart and makes it unique. So what is that secret ingredient? What motivates thousands of attendees to return to BrainShare year after year? And why does BrainShare engender such fierce loyalty and enthusiasm among so many people?

There are many good, concrete answers to these questions. BrainShare is, after all, widely recognized as one of the world's premiere technology conferences. During more than 20 years, it has built a reputation for dynamic and entertaining general sessions, quality technical breakout sessions, sophisticated hands-on technology labs and a vibrant partner presence. Of course, the brains behind BrainShare also understand that people come to technology conferences to build new relationships with colleagues and industry experts, so there are always plenty of great parties, concerts and other opportunities to mingle, meet people, discuss new business opportunities and have a great time in the process.

But like any memorable event, the "certain something" that makes BrainShare unique is more than the sum of these tangible parts, and its appeal somehow goes beyond its sessions, programs and parties. BrainShare has a distinct culture, a unique personality and a rich heritage-- developed slowly over the years--that defines and enriches the experience for every attendee. It provides a distinctive environment for learning, sharing and networking that directly reflects the quality of the people who attend. And every year, thousands of attendees travel home from BrainShare with fond memories and new tools and ideas for improving their businesses.

New Variations on a Proven Theme

Of course, BrainShare 2006 will incorporate all of the rich history and unique culture that have made the conference so successful. But this year, BrainShare is also rolling out some notable enhancements that will make it an even more enjoyable and productive experience. First, in 2006 all of the regional BrainShare conferences will be condensed into one global "super conference" in Salt Lake City. This will make it possible to focus all of Novell's technical resources on one event, provide attendees with new opportunities to network with peers and experts from around the world and provide a more robust, in-depth conference experience. By attending a single global BrainShare conference, attendees will gain more personalized access to the best Novell engineers and industry experts, the freshest content and the widest possible range of information.

BrainShare 2006 also marks a fairly dramatic shift in the way technical breakout sessions are developed and presented. In the past, Novell's product teams have worked together to define and develop all of the content for breakout sessions. This year, for the first time ever, attendees have been directly involved in the process. Over the past few months, attendees have been able to log into the BrainShare Web site, review more than 300 proposed technical breakout sessions and vote on which sessions they would most like to see presented at the conference. The results of the voting were used to develop the final roster of breakout sessions. Voting ended on January 4th, but during the final few months of 2005, thousands of attendees voiced their opinions and played an invaluable role in determining which technical breakout sessions Novell will offer at BrainShare 2006.

Another important first this year will be the addition of Novell Advanced Technical Training sessions--all conducted by highly trained and certified Novell Training Services engineers. For the first time, attendees will be able to participate in more than 20 of these award-winning, hands-on Advanced Technical Training courses at BrainShare--at no additional charge.

Finally, the BrainShare 2006 organizers have gone to great lengths to place all of the technical information at the conference in the context of Novell's business strategy. This will make it easier to marry the technical details covered in the breakout sessions and technical labs with the important business drivers and high-level strategy presented in the general sessions. For example, all of this year's breakout sessions are built around the five Novell Market Solution areas: data center, security and identity, resource management, workgroup and the desktop. This approach will make it easier to make the critical connections between the technical capabilities Novell offers and the business requirements that make them relevant and necessary.

A Technical Conference That Makes Good Business Sense

BrainShare has always been successful because attending has always been a smart business decision. This year, the list of convincing business reasons for attending BrainShare is longer than ever before. At BrainShare 2006, attendees will have even more opportunities to exchange ideas with other IT professionals and industry leaders, take advantage of hands-on, collaborative training opportunities and participate in "birds-of-a-feather" discussions that bring people with similar industries or job responsibilities together to share experiences and information. BrainShare also gives attendees important opportunities to sharpen their skills, with an impressive variety of hands-on training, in-depth technical workshops and certification courses.

These types of networking and training opportunities have always been an important part of the business case for attending BrainShare. But this year's conference is also structured to help attendees apply Novell technology to important business challenges. For example, attendees will learn how they can tap the many business advantages of Linux, gain freedom from proprietary solutions and vendor lock-in and move their businesses toward less expensive, more reliable and more flexible hardware platforms. They'll also have the opportunity to explore new ideas for securing their businesses, dealing with regulatory compliance issues and expanding secure access to customers and partners. And they'll be able to examine new ways to save money by consolidating networks and optimizing key systems. After spending a week at BrainShare, every attendee will be in a much better position to solve some of their toughest business problems, and that qualifies as a good business investment by anyone's standards.

Working With the Best

Novell solutions certainly don't work in a vacuum, and BrainShare is the best place to see how hardware and software from other technology companies work with and complement Novell technology. This year, BrainShare will showcase joint solutions from Novell and some of the biggest, most recognized names in the industry, including AMD, Dell, HP, IBM, Intel, Oracle and many others. The Novell PartnerNet Showcase makes it easy to see Novell partner solutions in action, and the traditional Partner Night party gives attendees the opportunity to interact with partners in a fun, informal setting.

Up Close and Personal

BrainShare certainly offers something for everyone--from highpowered general sessions to personalized hands-on training. In 2006, attendees will have access to a wider range of sessions, facilities and activities than ever before.

General sessions

BrainShare general sessions have always provided the perfect blend of information and excitement with insightful keynote addresses, cutting edge demos and entertaining video segments and competitions. These sessions, typically packed with more than 5,000 people, are the best place to learn what Novell has planned for the coming year, gain fresh insights into Novell's strategic direction and industry trends and get a first look at the very latest Novell technology.

Breakout sessions

BrainShare 2006 will feature more than 220 technical breakout sessions, more than two-thirds of which will feature new content. This year's breakout sessions have been scheduled specifically to reduce the number of competing courses offered at the same time. The addition of more than 20 hands-on Advanced Technical Training courses will add new depth and dimension to the breakout session portfolio. And thanks to the new attendee voting process used to help determine topics and content, this year's breakout sessions will be more relevant and focused on the needs of the audience than ever before. Together, these enhancements translate into the best, most diverse and most complete technical content ever offered at BrainShare.

PartnerNet Showcase

This year, dozens of industry-leading hardware and software companies will be featured in the BrainShare Partner Showcase. This convenient mini-tradeshow environment makes it easy to see partner solutions in action and speak with representatives from many different partner companies. BrainShare 2006 will also feature a Sponsor-Night, an after-hours party and a wide selection of partner breakout sessions.

Developer Den

BrainShare started out as a developer conference. At BrainShare 2006, the Developer Den honors that tradition by providing developers with an environment where they can network with their peers, share ideas and information and take advantage of developer-focused technical sessions, training courses and other resources. This year, the Developer Den will place a special emphasis on providing resources for the exploding ranks of Novell Linux developers.

Training Depot

With steep 30 percent discounts on all training materials, the Training Depot bookstore offers some of the year's best prices on Novell Training Services manuals and other technical publications. The Training Depot also sponsors book signings, interviews with authors and industry experts, and other activities.

Testing Center

Once again, BrainShare has teamed up with Novell Training Services to offer onsite certification testing opportunities. This year, attendees can take the Practicum exam at BrainShare for only US$99, compared to the regular price of US$195. Of course, Novell Training Services representatives will be available all week to help attendees explore different training and certification options and discuss the benefits of Novell Technical Services training.

Novell Hot Spot

The Novell Hot Spot provides a comfortable refuge in the middle of BrainShare where attendees can go to relax between sessions, shop for Novell merchandise, take advantage of free wireless Internet access and even play a quick game of pool.

BrainShare After Hours

After all the sessions, workshops and meetings close down for the day, BrainShare shifts into party mode--with something fun to do every night. This starts with the opening Welcome Reception on Sunday evening and ends with Meet the Experts Night on the last night of the conference. For many attendees, Wednesday's Concert Party at the Delta Center is a major highlight. This year, the Counting Crows will put on a show that will keep people talking (and ears ringing) for days.

Putting the Pieces Together

On March 19, all of the tangible and intangible pieces will come together to recapture the "certain something" that makes BrainShare unique. More than 6,000 attendees will discover, or rediscover, why BrainShare is one of the industry's premiere venues for learning, exploring and networking. They will remember exactly why attending BrainShare is such a smart business decision. They will experience one of the most fun and distinctive technology conferences in the world. And with all of the refinements and improvements, those who are returning will almost certainly mark the 2006 version of BrainShare as the best ever.

Technical Breakout Session Highlights

Each Novell Market Solution area will feature dozens of technical breakout sessions. Here are some of the highlighted courses:

  1. Data Center

    • Strategic Value of Linux in the Data Center

    • Virtualization technologies in the Data Center

    • Kernel Optimization / Tuning

    • Linux Security

    • High Availability Clustering Technologies

  2. Security & Identity

    • Rapidly Design, Deploy and Document with Novell Identity Manager 3

    • Tips, Tricks, Troubleshooting and Performance Tuning for Novell eDirectory

    • Best Practices for Monitoring and Reporting with Novell Audit

    • Installing and Configuring Novell Access Manager 3

    • Configuring and Administering the User Application and Provisioning System in Novell Identity Manager 3

  3. Resource Management

    • Security and Vulnerability Management

    • ZENworks Design and the Lifecycle Management Framework

    • ZENworks in Mixed Operating Environments

    • Provisioning Your Resources Using Novell Identity Manager and ZENworks

    • Regulatory Compliance / ITIL with ZENworks

  4. Workgroup

    • Open Enterprise Server Futures and Roadmap

    • Transitioning Admin Skills from NetWare to Linux

    • Meeting Workgroup Needs with Hula and Maui

    • GroupWise 7 Technical Overview and Futures

    • How to Run Applications and Get More Out of Open Enterprise Server

  5. Desktop

    • Thin Client Deployments with Novell Linux Desktop

    • Evaluating 2.0 for Knowledge Worker Deployments

    • SUSE Linux 10.1--What's Next for Enterprise Linux?

    • Incorporating Usability Testing in Your In-House Development Process

    • Linux/Windows Integration

What's New at BrainShare 2006?

  • Regional BrainShare conferences have been condensed into a single, global event.

  • Technical breakout sessions were chosen based on attendee voting.

  • Advanced Technical Training sessions from Novell Training Services will create exciting new learning opportunities.

  • More tightly focused sessions--all based on the five Novell Market Solutions areas--will place Novell technology in the context of business needs.

The Top Six Business Benefits of Attending BrainShare

  • Learn to create more freedom of choice using Linux.

  • Save money by learning new consolidation and optimization strategies.

  • Learn about important new Novell technologies and solutions.

  • Sharpen your skills with handson training and in-depth workshops.

  • Network with peers and form new business relationships.

  • Learn how to secure your enterprise.

Never a Dull Moment

With great after-hours events and activities scheduled every night of the conference, BrainShare 2006 attendees may get a bit tired, but they'll never be bored:

Sunday Welcome Reception

Monday Private and special invitation parties

Tuesday Sponsor Night

Wednesday Concert Party with the Counting Crows

Thursday Meet the Experts Night

* Originally published in Novell Connection Magazine


The origin of this information may be internal or external to Novell. While Novell makes all reasonable efforts to verify this information, Novell does not make explicit or implied claims to its validity.

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