34 cloud and infrastructure conferences to attend in 2016

Cloud migration, orchestration and management, IaaS and PaaS pricing models, mobile app delivery, IoT system rollouts, big data analytics systems, regulatory compliance, systems performance, data security—these are some of the trends impacting IT infrastructure and cloud computing right now. A variety of IT pros must stay on top of such fast-changing technology developments to keep their organizations competitive and agile.

Here we offer a selection of conferences scheduled for 2016 that address these and other topics. They feature a variety of sessions, panels, tutorials, workshops, demos, and networking opportunities designed to help businesses with their cloud infrastructure strategies and implementations.

Download 65-Page GuideBest of 2016: Tech & Software Conferences Guide

We have ranked them in four categories:

  1. Conferences we consider a "must"
  2. Others that are "worth attending"
  3. A third tier of events that, within their broader scope, have strong cloud and infrastructure content

It’s a hybrid world for cloud and IT infrastructure pros

Enterprises must rise up to the expectations of both their employees and customers for increasingly ubiquitous mobile apps and web services, delivered seamlessly and updated constantly, while making sure that data is protected from malicious hackers. On the technology front, that often means devising a hybrid cloud strategy—running workloads on-premises, in private clouds, and in public clouds—as well as embarking on data center modernization. That includes the adoption of software-defined networking and storage, as well as of adoption ops management automation.

These tasks fall on the shoulders of cloud and infrastructure pros. If you count yourself one of them, attendance at one or more conferences this year can bring you up to speed quickly, making you better able to leverage cloud benefits like faster deployment and reduced hardware costs.  

Must attend

What conferences made our A-list this year? Our top selections for cloud and infrastructure conferences is based on the comments we've read by attendees, including conference presenters and other SMEs. We also consider conference growth by attendance, year after year.

AWS re:Invent

Twitter: @AWSreInvent / @awscloud / #reInvent
Web: https://reinvent.awsevents.com
Date: Nov. 28 – Dec. 2
Location: Las Vegas
Cost: $1,299

Once synonymous with e-commerce, Amazon has become a major provider of platform and infrastructure cloud computing services (PaaS and IaaS) for enterprises, startups, and developers of all stripes via its Amazon Web Services division, competing with Google, IBM, Microsoft, and others. AWS re:Invent is the AWS annual user conference, featuring keynote speeches, training sessions, certification opportunities, technical sessions, an expo floor, and networking activities.

After attending the 2015 conference, Redmonk analyst James Governor wrote that Amazon used re:Invent to emphasize the growth of AWS and “mark its transition into a data and application platform.” He found that re:Invent is “kind of incredible” due to the collective commitment of attendees during sessions. “Everyone was anxious to learn, so pretty much every session was packed.” The urgency is a reflection of the frequent release of new services and features at AWS, and the growth in the customer base, he said. “Amazon is a flywheel of new function delivery, and the company’s growing community evidently wants to take advantage of new services as they are delivered. Keeping up with Amazon can be a full time gig,” he wrote.

Vallard Benincosa, a Cisco cloud architect, called AWS re:Invent “an amazing conference” that he thinks should be longer: “There were too many sessions I wanted to attend.” He also found the amount and pace of announcements dizzying and hard to keep up with.

If you're a first-time attendee, have a detailed game plan before arriving at the conference so you can make the best use of your time and ensure you hit the sessions and events you’re most interested in.

Who should attend? AWS customers, developers and engineers, system administrators, systems architects


Gartner Catalyst Conference

Twitter: @Gartner_Events / #GartnerCAT
Web: http://www.gartner.com/events/na/catalyst#
Date:  August 15-18
Location:  San Diego, California
Cost: 
Standard conference price is $3,150. Discounts and special prices are offered.

Featuring more than 50 Gartner analysts, Catalyst promises a "deep dive” into the digital enterprise’s architectural requirements, touching on areas such as mobility strategy and execution, cloud architecture, data analytics, enterprise-scale security and identity, software-defined data centers (SDDC), DevOps, and digital productivity via mobile and cloud. Gartner has described Catalyst as “technically focused and committed to pragmatic, how-to content” so that attendees go back to their places of work “with a blueprint for project planning and execution.”

Rob Whiteley, of Hedvig, attended the 2015 conference and noted that this conference, aimed at IT architects and implementers, is more technical than other Gartner events, focusing “on how to get started on big IT shifts around big data, mobility, security, and cloud.” 

“This event is always a good reality check on disruptive trends. The goal is not education on the trend, but rather implementation of the trend’s underlying technology,” he wrote, adding that he particularly like a track devoted to SDDCs.

Stephanie Xavier, a senior communications manager at New Relic, blogged that the 2015 conference had a good mix of “presentations, roundtables, workshops, demos, and one-on-one conversations with analysts” from which attendees obtained “diverse insights into the key concerns of various technology roles,” such as enterprise architects, CIOs, and business intelligence professionals

After staffing his company’s booth at the 2014 conference and attending a number of sessions, developer Cian Clarke from Feed Henry blogged that “it was an eye-opener to see how technical many of the sessions were.” Clarke also appreciated that the conference was held in San Diego, “a fantastic city and heaven for craft beer nerds like me.”

Who should attend? Technical professionals in roles including applications, business intelligence, infrastructure and operations, security and risk


Hadoop Summit

Twitter: @hadoopsummit / @hortonworks / #HadoopSummitSJ16
Web: http://2016.hadoopsummit.org/san-jose/
Date: June 28-30
Location: San Jose, California
Cost: Ranges from $750 to $2,500

This year marks the ninth year of this conference, hosted by Yahoo and Hortonworks, one of the biggest providers of data management software for Hadoop (the open source framework for storing and processing very large data sets in clusters). At the 2015 conference, almost half of the 165 sessions were led by end users, and a customer panel included representatives from Home Depot, Rogers, Symantec, Schlumberger, and Verizon. Partners including Microsoft, EMC, SAP, Teradata, and HPE also participated.

James Kobielus, a big data evangelist from IBM, noticed a shift at the 2015 conference, the fourth one he had attended in the past five years: Apache Hadoop is no longer the next big thing in big data analytics, a role now played by the new Apache Spark big data processing engine. “The waning of Hadoop’s hip factor didn’t seem to matter to attendees in any way. Enthusiasms were high, business is good, and people are doing exciting work,” he wrote. “Attendees were keenly focused on the content of all the sessions I attended, and there seemed to be very little attrition in attendance from one day to the next."

He added, “Clearly, the event is an annual forum that its community depends on for recruiting, professional development, marketing, sales and other important reasons."

After the 2014 event, software engineer Josh Walters called it “a cool conference, with a lot of good talks.” He said he was able to learn what other companies were using Hadoop for “and the issues that they were discovering and fixing.”

Who should attend? IT pros working with Hadoop in areas like data analytics, security, app development, architects, storage managers


Strata+Hadoop World Conference

Twitter: @strataconf / @OReillyMedia / #StrataHadoop
Web: http://conferences.oreilly.com/strata/hadoop-big-data-ca
Date: March 28-31
Location: San Jose, California
Cost: 
Conference passes range from $2,145 to $1,345, depending on the type of ticket, while training passes are either $3,245 or $2,095. A variety of discounts are available.

This conference is presented by O’Reilly Media and Cloudera, one of the biggest providers of data management software for Hadoop, the open source framework for storing and processing very large data sets in clusters. Organizers promise a mix of deep technical immersion and business use in verticals such as finance, media, retail, transportation, and government. It will feature almost 200 sessions, a “hallway track,” networking opportunities, and after-hours entertainment.

Greg Kirchoff from Blue Data attended the 2015 conference in San Jose and liked that the program focused not only on the latest and greatest Hadoop technologies, but also on how enterprises are using Hadoop. He also noticed that the discussion had moved to a more sophisticated level from previous years. “Rather than questions like ‘What is Hive’ or ‘Give me a quick overview of HDFS,’ we saw much deeper and complicated questions such as: ‘Here are my company’s use cases and I need to …’ or ‘We have several projects underway, but I am struggling with …’. The collective Hadoop maturity has certainly increased dramatically,” he wrote.

Michele Nemschoff, vice president of marketing at MapR, also noticed a shift in the overall discourse. “In the early days of Strata conferences, it was all about, ‘What is Hadoop? How can I use it? Where do I start?’,” she blogged. “This year, the focus has shifted to learning about how to leverage Hadoop within a broader context. Attendees had more specific questions about the core capabilities of Hadoop.”

The event will also be held in London (May 31-June 3), New York (Sept. 26-29), and Singapore (Dec. 6-8).

Who should attend? Business decision-makers, strategists, architects, developers, data scientists, data analysts, CxOs, VCs, entrepreneurs, product managers, marketing pros, researchers


Cloud Computing Expo

Twitter: @CloudExpo / @SYSCONmedia / #CloudExpo
Web: http://www.cloudcomputingexpo.com/
Dates / Location:
June 17-19, Javits Center, New York, New York
Nov. 1-3, Santa Clara Convention Center, Santa Clara, California
Cost: Depending on when it’s bought, a Gold Pass, which gives attendees full access to the proceedings, costs anywhere between $1,600 and $2,500.

This conference, organized by Sys-Con, promises to explore “the entire world” of enterprise cloud computing—private, public, and hybrid scenarios. It will address the latest on topics including IoT, big data, containers, microservices, DevOps, and WebRTC via keynotes, general sessions, breakout sessions, panels, and an expo floor.

Writing about the 2015 New York event in Forbes, tech industry analyst and consultant Jason Bloomberg noted that the vendor presence and emphasis on Cloud Expo is significant compared with similar conferences, but that this may be a good thing for attendees who go with a plan to evaluate products for purchases they’ve already decided to make.

“Sys-Con events are known for two things: being blatant vendor-fests and a desperate lack of drinking water. This event lived up to its reputation on both counts,” he wrote.

“Vendor-heavy events are a great place to shop for enterprise tech, after all, as innovative contenders with solid value propositions naturally rise to the top, while the weaker product stories languish at the bottom,” he added.

Who should attend? CEOs, CIOs, CTOs, directors of infrastructure, VPs of technology, IT directors and managers, network and storage managers, network engineers, enterprise architects, and communications and networking specialists


Worth attending

We know that some of the conferences in this second category may be for some of our readers “must attend” events, especially those that appear to be growing in size each year. Generally, these are conferences that are smaller in attendance or targeted at specific industries.

Interop Las Vegas

Twitter: @interop / #Interop
Web: http://www.interop.com/lasvegas/
Date: May 2-6
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
Cost: Ranges from $3,299 to under $300

A venerable tech conference, Interop delves into topics like applications, cloud computing, collaboration, networking, IT leadership, security, software-defined networking, storage, virtualization and data center architecture, and mobility.


Gartner’s Symposium/ITxpo

Twitter: @Gartner_Events / #ITxpo / #GartnerSYM
Web:
http://www.gartner.com/events/na/orlando-symposium
Date: Oct. 16-20
Location: Orlando, Florida
Cost: Standard conference price is $5,600. Public-sector price is $4,000. Group discounts are available.

This is the mother of all Gartner conferences, aimed specifically at CIOs and technology executives in general, addressing from an enterprise IT perspective topics such as mobility, cybersecurity, cloud computing, application architecture, application development, IoT, and digital business.


Oracle OpenWorld

Twitter: @oracleopenworld / #oow16
Web: https://www.oracle.com/openworld/index.html
Date: Sept.18-22
Location: San Francisco, California
Cost: Not available

Oracle’s biggest event of the year, OpenWorld draws tens of thousands of customers, partners, and Oracle executives from around the world eager to hear the latest about the company’s products, including its databases and business applications.

At the 2015 conference, Oracle made its biggest push yet toward cloud computing, a message that was personally delivered by founder, CTO, and Chairman Larry Ellison, himself. He declared that cloud computing represents “a generational shift in computing no less important than our shift to personal computing.”

The 2015 edition of the conference featured more than 2.500 sessions and 3,000 speakers, as well as demos and exhibits from Oracle, its partners, and customers. Topics included big data, cloud computing, engineered systems, ERP software, HCM apps, mobile, and SCM.

Who should attend? Oracle customers, partners, developers, IT Ops pros


Salesforce Dreamforce

Twitter: @salesforce / @Dreamforce / #dreamforce / #df16
Web: www.salesforce.com/form/dreamforce/prereg/
Date: Oct. 4-7
Location: San Francisco, California
Cost: $1,199 until May 18. Price rises after that date.

Salesforce promises more than 1,400 breakout sessions at the 2016 conference, along with more than 400 exhibitors at the expo floor, hands-on training sessions, networking opportunities and  “the biggest names in music” at the Dreamfest event.

Who should attend? Salesforce customers from companies of all sizes and industries


Structure

Twitter: @StructureSeries / #structureconf
Web: http://www.structureconf.com/
Date: Nov. 8-9
Location: San Francisco, California
Cost: Depending on when tickets are bought, they range from $1,195 to $1,595

This conference vows to help attendees sort out the “sometimes confusing scenario” of cloud computing, in particular the public and private cloud options. Topics to be addressed include what organizers call the “feature war” among public cloud vendors, cloud-based apps security, areas where on-premises deployments offer advantages over cloud computing, and the future of the data-driven data center.

Who should attend? IT managers, CxOs


Gartner Data Center, Infrastructure & Operations Management Conference

Twitter: @Gartner_Events / #GartnerDC
Web: http://www.gartner.com/events/na/data-center
Date: Dec. 5-8
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
Cost: Public-sector attendees pay $2,750; other attendees pay $2,950 (until Oct. 7) or $3,150

Organizers aim to provide attendees with practical knowledge for modernizing their infrastructure and operations, touching on topics such as cloud computing, virtualization, automation, DevOps, software-defined systems, and mobile. 

Who should attend? IT pros involved with operations and facilities, servers, storage and backup/recovery, mobile, cloud and desktop virtualization, data center networking


Google Cloud Platform Next 16

Twitter: @googlecloud / #GCPNext 
Web: https://cloudplatformonline.com/NEXT2016.html
Date: March 23-24
Location: San Francisco, California
Cost: $499

GCP Next 16 focuses on Google’s IaaS and PaaS cloud computing services for businesses. Tracks include Infrastructure & Operations, App Development, and Data & Analytics. As would be expected, most speakers will be from Google, including Senior VP of Infrastructure Urs Holzle, but customers are also scheduled to speak, including execs from Dropbox, Land O’ Lakes, and Spotify.

Who should attend? IT Ops pros using Google Cloud Platform services


Red Hat Summit

Twitter: @RedHatSummit / #RHSummit
Web: http://www.redhat.com/en/summit
Date: June 27-30
Location: San Francisco, California
Cost:  Not available

The conference will focus on Red Hat's technology strategy and newest products, with participation from the company’s product and technology leaders. There will also be customer panel sessions, technical sessions, and hands-on labs.

Who should attend? Sys admins, IT engineers, software architects, VPs of IT, CxOs


VMWorld 2016

Twitter: @VMworld / #VMWorld
Web: https://www.vmworld.com/en/us/index.html?
Date: Aug. 28 – Sept. 1
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
Cost: Not available

The 2015 edition of VMWare’s annual gathering featured more than 450 sessions, 250 partners, and almost 24,000 global attendees. Under the theme of “Ready for Any,” topics addressed included virtual storage area networks, IT Ops management, hybrid clouds, virtual desktops, software-defined data centers, and container orchestration, all with a focus on the company’s products and technologies for these areas.

Who should attend?  Sys admins, IT engineers, software architects, VPs of IT, CxOs


451 Research’s Hosting and Cloud Transformation Summit

Twitter: @451Research / #451HCTS
Web: http://www.451research-hcts.com/
Date: Sept. 19-21
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
Cost: Ranges from $1,295 to $2,695

This 451 Research summit’s theme for 2016 is “Business Disruption in the Age of Cloud.” The conference caters to executives in the hosting, cloud computing, data center, and Internet infrastructure sectors seeking clarity about “competitive dynamics of innovation” and help with the design and implementation of IT strategies.

Who should attend? Service providers, hardware/software vendors, investors


EMC World 2016

Twitter: @EMCWorld / #EMCWorld
Web: http://www.emcworld.com/index.htm
Date: May 2-5
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
Cost: $2,295 by March 31, $2,395 after that date

The focus of this EMC event is on data center modernization, touching on topics like software-defined storage, data protection, hybrid cloud, content management, converged infrastructure and big data, with an emphasis on the company’s products, services, and technologies.

Who should attend? IT pros and business managers, EMC customers and partners


IEEE Cloud 2016

Twitter: @IEEEorg / #IEEECloud
Web: http://www.thecloudcomputing.org/2016/index.html
Date: June 27 – July 2
Location: San Francisco, California
Cost: Varies based on different criteria

IEEE Cloud 2016 will be co-located with several other related IEEE conferences, including the International Conference on Web Services (ICWS 2016), the International Conference on Services Computing (SCC 2016), the International Congress on Big Data, and the International Conference on Mobile Services (MS 2016). All conferences will focus on the topic of "services," while each explores different angles.

Who should attend? Cloud computing researchers and practitioners


Cisco Live

Twitter: @CiscoLive / #CLUS
Web: http://www.ciscolive.com/us/
Date: July 10-14
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
Cost: Ranges from $69 to $2,995

This event is Cisco’s annual user conference and, as such, is designed to inform attendees about the latest in the company’s products and technology strategies in areas such as networking, communication, security, and collaboration. The conference draws about 25,000 attendees and 200 exhibitors, and features about 600 sessions.

Who should attend? Cisco customers, both from IT and business areas


Cross-discipline conferences

Conferences in this category are targeted at specific industries or technologies—for example, security, cloud computing, and open source. Although you won’t necessarily see "cloud” or “infrastructure” in the conference titles here, we believe these gatherings will hold interest for IT pros involved with infrastructure and operations.

Velocity

Twitter: @velocityconf / @OReillyMedia / #velocityconf
Web: 
http://conferences.oreilly.com/velocity/devops-web-performance-ca
http://velocityconf.com
Location:
Santa Clara, California, June 20-23
New York, New York, Sept. 19-22
Velocity will also be held in Beijing and Amsterdam in 2016
Cost: Not available

Called “a great show to learn about Web operations, performance, DevOps, and more,” O’Reilly’s Velocity conference showcases smart minds who are putting DevOps to work in a business-driven IT setting. Damon Edwards, founder and managing partner of DTO Solutions, described it in an interview as a “high-quality web operations and web performance conference” that is “very operations-centric.”

Mark Zeman, founder of SpeedCurve, a visualization and web performance company in New Zealand, blogged that Velocity was an early venue for DevOps, bringing developer and operations staffers together, and that at the Santa Clara conference in 2015 that confluence evolved further. “We witnessed an additional convergence of developers, Ops, and designers. It’s exciting that Velocity is helping these siloed groups find ways to share with and learn from each other.” 

If you go, you can expect to experience a technical, performance-minded conference that is operations-centric and on which developers, Ops, and designers converge. 

Who should attend? Developers, operations specialists, IT Ops staff


O’Reilly Software Architecture Conference

Twitter: @oreillysacon / #OReillySACon)
Web: http://conferences.oreilly.com/software-architecture-ny
Date: April 10-13
Location: Hilton Midtown, New York, New York
Cost: From $1,495 to $2,295; Training: $2,550 or $3,595

The O’Reilly Software Architecture Conference is designed to bridge business and technology, aiming to show attendees tradeoffs, technology options, engineering best practices, and "leadership chops." Its goal is to balance the depth and breadth of its new technology content, and touches on topics including microservices, distributed systems, integration architecture, DevOps, business skills, security, optimization, and UX design.

Who should attend? Engineers, developers, tech leads, and managers


Google I/O

Twitter:@googledevs / #GoogleIO / #IO16
Web: https://developers.google.com/ (conference website isn't up yet)
Date: May 18-20
Location: Shoreline Ampitheatre, Mountain View, California
Cost: Not available

Google I/O, first held in 2008, has become one of the most important developer conferences in the world. Like Apple’s WWDC, Google I/O isn’t strictly about mobile, but the event is heavily focused on the Android OS and its ecosystem.

The conference also covers developer tools and APIs for other Google products, services, and platforms, including the enterprise Cloud Platform, consumer online services like Google Play, products for publishers and advertisers like AdSense and Analytics, consumer devices like the Cardboard virtual reality headset, and even some of the company’s “moonshot” projects.

Russell Ivanovic, a long-time iOS developer, recently started working with Android and enjoyed attending his first I/O in 2014, calling it “a fascinating experience” in his blog. He found Google developer reps to be more techie than the ones he has dealt with at Apple, whose WWDC conference he has attended many times. “I personally prefer this approach of having technically minded engineers who understand code helping you with every aspect of what you need as a developer to be successful,” Ivanovic wrote.

Some observed that the 2015 conference seemed subtly designed to appeal to young (under 35) developers packing the latest smartphones and devices. Regardless, Google is trying to increase the attendance of women via discounts and through the availability of free tickets and gift cards for expenses via a Code Jam specifically for women. Attendees can experience self-paced training on Google tools and services in areas such as mobile, wearables, and cloud.

Who should attend? Developers working with Android and with the growing variety of Google web services, mobile apps, and hardware


Microsoft Ignite

Twitter: @MS_Ignite / #MSIgnite
Web:
http://www.ignite.microsoft.com/
Date: Sept. 26-30
Location: Atlanta, Georgia
Cost: Standard ticket price is $2,220

Microsoft created Ignite in 2014 to consolidate several smaller conferences into a big one: Microsoft Management Summit, Microsoft Exchange Conference, SharePoint Conference, Lync Conference, Project Conference, and TechEd. It covers architecture, deployment, implementation and migration, development, operations and management, security, access management and compliance, and usage and adoption. Although it’s organized by and focuses on Microsoft and its products, it also draws more than 100 vendors who participate in the expo and as session speakers.

Who should attend? Microsoft developers


IT/Dev Connections

Twitter: @devconnections / #ITDevCon
Web: http://www.devconnections.com/
Date: Oct. 10-13
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada

Cost: $1,199 and $1,999

This conference is aimed at developers and IT professionals of all stripes, and focuses on topics like big data and BI, virtualization, DevOps, enterprise management and mobility, cloud and data center, development platforms and tools, and enterprise collaboration. Emphasis is on Microsoft products like Azure, Exchange, SQL Server, and SharePoint, although other vendors are also discussed.

Who should attend? Developers, IT pros


Fusion 16

Twitter: @itsmf_usa / @ThinkHDI / #SMFUSION16
Web:
http://www.servicemanagementfusion.com/default
Date: Nov. 1-4
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
Cost: 
Tickets range from $1,695 to $2,495

This event covers IT service management topics, and specifically the benefits and challenges associated with using ITSM when implementing virtualization, cloud computing, mobility, security, SaaS, and other technologies in the enterprise. There is a key track devoted to DevOps and agile topics.

Who should attend? Developers involved with ITSM 


Cloud Computing Expo

Twitter: @CloudExpo / @SYSCONmedia / #CloudExpo
Web:
http://www.cloudcomputingexpo.com/
Date/Location: June 7-9, Javits Center, New York, New York; Nov. 1-3, Santa Clara Convention Center, Santa Clara, California
Cost: 
Depending on when it’s bought, a Gold Pass, which gives attendees full access to the proceedings, costs anywhere between $1,600 and $2,500

This conference explores “the entire world” of enterprise cloud computing—private, public, and hybrid scenarios.

Who should attend? Cloud app developers


GlueCon

Twitter: @gluecon / #gluecon
Web: http://gluecon.com/
Date: May 25-26
Location: Omni Interlocken, Broomfield, Colorado
Cost: $795 early-bird registration (before March 25)

The conference focuses on what it considers the most important trends in technology, including cloud computing, DevOps, mobile, APIs, and big data, all from the perspective of developers, which organizers view as being at the core and at the vanguard of all these areas.

Who should attend? Developers in general


Monitorama

Twitter: @Monitorama / #monitorama
Web: http://monitorama.com/ 
Date: June 27-29
Location: Portland, Oregon
Cost: $400

As its name implies, Monitorama focuses strictly on software monitoring. It’s narrow in scope by design, with a single track, so that attendees have a cohesive, unified experience, and don’t suffer from “choice overload,” as founder Jason Dixon explains in this blog post detailing the origins and development of the conference. A big effort is made to create an atmosphere of inclusiveness among attendees, all of whom Dixon hopes to make feel welcome. “I know what it feels like to be an outsider at an event where you're not part of the inner circle, and I never want anyone else to feel that way at Monitorama,” he wrote.

Matt Simmons, an infrastructure administrator, called Monitorama “the best single-track conference” he’s ever been to, after attending in 2013. He said it provides a “high-signal, low-noise immersion.” 

“Even if the talks weren’t packed with technical how-tos, it was awesome to be exposed to so many new ideas and surrounded by so many people who had their stuff together. I would highly recommend this conference to anyone interested in web or DevOps or monitoring in general,” he wrote in his blog.

Eric Gustafson, a principal engineer at HP, described the 2015 conference as “another success” for the organizers and for the monitoring community, even if he found this edition “less pragmatic” than previous ones. And Aaron Bento, a site reliability engineer at New Relic, found the 2014 conference “awesome,” in particular that it drew a diverse audience of Devs and Ops focused on improving the monitoring tools they use. “I was mostly interested in one subject in particular: how others identify and reduce alert fatigue,” he wrote.

Others have called Monitorama “a great small conference.

Who should attend? Developers, operations staff, testers, QA pros


New Relic’s FutureStack

Twitter: @futurestack / #FutureStack16
Web: http://futurestack.io/
Date / Location / Cost: Not available

Organized by application performance management and monitoring vendor New Relic, Future Stack featured some high-profile speakers in 2015, including Steve Wozniak and the CTOs of News Corp., Time Inc., Major League Baseball, Advanced Media, and RackSpace.

Topics addressed included cloud adoption, alert policies, software analytics, mobile apps, DevOps, containers, microservices, and app performance.

Who should attend? Developers, IT pros, technologists, and anyone else involved with modern software


Surge, the Scalability and Performance Conference

Twitter: @surgecon / #surgecon
Web: http://surge.omniti.com/2016
Date: Sept. 21-23
Location: Gaylord National Resort, National Harbor, Maryland
Cost: Early-bird price of $500 until July 8

Surge is organized by OmniTi, a web app scalability and performance vendor, and features “practitioner-oriented sessions.”

Who should attend? IT Ops, infrastructure admins, developers, QA pros


Dynatrace’s Perform

Twitter: @Dynatrace / #dynatrace / #DynatracePerform
Web: http://www.dynatrace.com/en/perform.html
Date / Location / Cost: Not available

Application performance management vendor Dynatrace organizes this conference, whose tracks in 2015 included “APM in Action,” “Customer Experience,” “Continuous Delivery,” and “Operational Excellence.”

 Who should attend? Developers, IT Ops, testers, QA pros


Agile Testing Days

Twitter: @AgileTD / #AgileTD
Web: www.agiletestingdays.com
Date: Dec. 5-8
Location: Potsdam/Berlin, Germany
Cost: From €700 to €2,700

Göran Kero, an agile tester who has attended this conference three times, twice as a speaker, called it “the” conference for those who are into agile, testing, or both, and praised the event’s atmosphere.

The organizers “create the perfect setting and the amazing people attending do the rest to create the including atmosphere that is so unique for ATD. Everybody is just so down to earth and willing to both learn and share,” he wrote in his blog after the 2015 conference.

Alexandra Schladebeck, an agile tester and consultant who gave a keynote speech at the conference, wrote in her blog that the event was “a mad ride,” which left her with many new ideas and a “renewed vigour for all things testing and agile.”

Considered one of Europe’s main software testing events, Agile Testing Days is aimed at companies interested in gaining an edge through “early, rapid and iterative application releases.” Judging by reactions from past attendees, the conference offers a mix of fun interludes and serious sessions that make the experience both enjoyable and worthwhile.

Uwe Gelfert, an official at conference organizer Diaz & Hilterscheid, said the 2016 edition of Agile Testing Days will offer opportunities to learn by doing via DIY experiments in a warm, collegial, friendly, and fun atmosphere.

Who should attend? Anyone involved with software testing—test managers, designers, analysts, consultants, architects, quality directors—as well as software architects, application developers, IT managers, CIOs, CTOs, software engineers


STAR Software Testing Conferences

Twitter: @TechWell / #StarEast / #StarWest
Web: https://www.techwell.com/software-conferences/star-software-testing-conferences
Dates / Location
Star East: May 1-6, Renaissance Orlando at Sea World, Orlando, Florida
Star West: Oct. 2-7, Disneyland Hotel, Anaheim, California
Star Canada: Oct. 23-27, Hyatt Regency, Toronto, Canada
Cost: Price is currently available only for Star East, and it varies widely, since there are many package options, ranging from under $700 for a 1-day Testing & Quality Leadership Summit ticket bought before March 4 (Super Early Bird) to almost $3,800 for a 5-day conference pass with 3 days of training classes bought after April 1

These conferences, organized by TechWell, are designed specifically for testing and QA pros, touching on topics such as test management and leadership, software testing techniques, mobile app testing, test automation, certifications, QA methodologies, tools, agile testing, performance testing, exploratory testing, DevOps and software testing, and QA tester careers.

Writing recently on TechBeacon, Gerie Owen, a test architect, called these Star conferences “among the most prestigious QA and testing conferences in North America” and “suitable for junior-level testers as well as seasoned test professionals and test managers.”

According to the organizers, the conferences are geared toward practical knowledge that attendees can apply immediately at work, and include short sessions, half- and full-day tutorials, multi-day in-depth training, and a Leadership Summit.

Who should attend? Software and test managers, IT directors, QA managers and analysts, test practitioners and engineers, development managers, developers, CTOs


Google Test Automation Conference

Twitter: @googletesting / #GTAC2015
Web: https://developers.google.com/google-test-automation-conference/?hl=en
Dates: Early 2017
Location: Not available
Cost: Not available (the last one in 2015 was free)

GTAC, first held in 2006, is hosted by Google, draws engineers from industry and academia. and focuses on the latest technologies and strategies in test automation and test engineering. The 2015 conference featured speakers from (of course) Google but also from many other companies and universities, including Georgia Tech, Intel, LinkedIn, Lockheed Martin, MIT, Splunk, Twitter, and Uber.

In a summary of what went well and not so well, Google organizers said 76 percent of attendees rated the overall event as “above average,” with particular praise for the venue (Google’s Cambridge, Massachusetts, offices), the food, and the “breadth and coverage of the talks.” Still, 11 percent of survey respondents expressed frustration with “event communications,” and many of the long-form comments asked for a more balanced mix of technologies—apparently mobile was over-represented in the talks.

Attendee Alister Scott, a software tester from Automattic’s WordPress, blogged that his main insight from the conference was that there is a tendency in his field toward complex solutions. “We need to keep asking ourselves: ‘what’s the simplest thing that could possibly work?’ If we have complex systems why do we need complex tests?,” he wrote. “We need to take each large complex problem we work on and break it down till we get something small and manageable and solve that problem. Rinse and repeat.” 

Who should attend? QA and test pros


Software Test Professionals Conference & Expo

Twitter: @SoftwareTestPro / #STPCon
Web: http://www.stpcon.com/
Date: April 4-7
Location: Westin San Francisco Airport, Millbrae, California
Cost: Ranges from $595 to $2,095

Organizers say that this conference, “designed by testers for testers,” is focused on testing management and strategy, to let attendees improve their techniques, get up to speed on the latest tools, discuss trends, improve processes, and better understand the testing industry.

Michał Stryjak, a QA manager at PiLab, attended the 2015 fall conference in Boston and found it insightful with regards to industry trends and practices. It also reinforced his company’s approach to testing and QA. “Working in a context-driven testing team is a challenge and forces us to learn a lot of new things in a very fast pace,” he wrote. “Each tester has to be an expert, a craftsman who can select the best tools, utilize many skills, or switch methodologies depending on the context.”

After returning from the spring event in California in 2013, Matt Heusser from SmartBear concluded that testing is “melding into the overall development experience,” which means the role is being taken up by others in the IT organization—and that’s a good thing. “Over the next few years, there may be less ‘pure’ testers, but the conference is, if anything, getting stronger, attracting people who contribute to test and quality in other ways,” he blogged. “The test community is not going away; it is getting wider.”

Who should attend? QA and testing professionals


Did we miss any conferences or events?

We've done our best to compile this comprehensive list of the top performance and testing conferences to attend in 2016, but this is a "list in progress."

Please let us know in the comments below if there are any other events or conferences you think we should add to our list.

We've also put together several other lists of conferences:

Download 65-Page GuideBest of 2016: Tech & Software Conferences Guide
Topics: IT Ops