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The best cloud and IT Ops conferences of 2019

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John P. Mello Jr., Freelance writer

Maintaining and transforming data center operations is a tough job. Whether you've got public, private, or hybrid cloud infrastructure and services, each case presents unique challenges.

That's why people in ops, cloud, and IT management need to share their stories. If IT pros can learn from one another, everyone gets better—and attending conferences is a crucial part of doing that.

Here's our shortlist of the most popular cloud and IT Ops conferences in 2019. We've listed them all, although not all dates, locations, and pricing were available at publication time, especially for those events taking place later in the year.

In those cases, we have provided historical information on the event to give you an idea of what to expect and what you'll get out of attending. And keep checking back. We'll update this guide as information becomes available.

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January

Microsoft Ignite | The Tour

Twitter: @MS_Ignite / #MSIgnite
Web: microsoft.com/en-ca/ignite-the-tour/toronto
Date: January 10-11
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Cost: Free; registration required

Microsoft is taking its popular Ignite conference on the road this year, offering developers and tech professionals a venue to explore the latest developer tools and cloud technologies. Attendees will also learn new ways to code, optimize cloud infrastructure, and modernize an organization with deep technical training.

Other cities on the tour are Washington, DC; Singapore; Sydney, Australia; Hong Kong; Seoul, South Korea; Mumbai, India; Tel Aviv, Israel; Johannesburg, South Africa; Milan, Italy; London, UK; Amsterdam, The Netherlands; Dubai, UAE; Stockholm, Sweden; São Paulo, Brazil; and Mexico City, Mexico.

Who should attend: Microsoft developers

February

Micro Focus ITOM Summit

Web: http://cwt-me.cvent.com/events/micro-focus-itom-summit-2019/event-summary-53b4de4b3512478e8a9a75e9af4755c9.aspx
Date: February 5-7
Location: Phoenix, Arizona
Cost: Admission to the event is free for Micro Focus customers. $400 for partners. 

This two-day event brings together industry and IT experts to solve hybrid IT issues and share best practices. Session tracks include multi-cloud management and migration, enterprise and IT service management, data center automation and compliance management, network management and compliance, backup and disaster recovery, and operations management.

Who should attend: IT operations management professionals, managers and executives.

DataWorks Summit

Twitter: @DataWorksSummit
Web: dataworkssummit.com/melbourne-2019/
Date: February 6
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Cost: A$399 to A$699 (time-sensitive and alumni discounts available)

The DataWorks conferences are hosted by Hortonworks, an open-source data management platform provider. They focus on how organizations are using advanced analytics, data science, and artificial intelligence to transform the way they deliver customer and product experiences.

Tracks at the conference include artificial intelligence and data science; cloud and big data architecture; data warehousing and operational data stores; and the Internet of Things and streaming analytics. In addition to the Melbourne summit, 2019 forums will also be held in Barcelona, Spain, and Washington, DC.

Who should attend: Developers, data scientists, business managers, security pros, app development, architects, and storage managers

Pink19

Twitter: @theitilexperts / #Pink19
Web: pinkelephant.com/en-ca/Pink19/Home
Date: February 17-20
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
Cost: Standard pass, $2,295; platinum pass, $2,595

With over 120 sessions,12 tracks, and an assortment of half-day workshops, the Pink IT service management conference has something for everyone, whether they be interested in strategic, tactical, or operational subjects. It mainly focuses on the business management aspects of IT operations. Topics covered include ITSM, ITIL, lean IT, agile, Scrum, DevOps, COBIT, organizational change management, and business relationship management.

Who should attend: C-level executives, IT directors, vice presidents, IT service and support managers, service desk managers, IT infrastructure managers, process owners, senior support analysts, quality managers, service level managers, project or program directors and managers, IT auditors, IT consultants, IT suppliers, and vendors

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March

Cloud Expo Europe

Twitter: @CloudExpoEurope / #CEE19
Web: cloudexpoeurope.com
Date: March 12-13
Location: London, UK
Cost: Free

More than 500 of the world's leading suppliers exhibit at this event. It also includes 600-plus speakers talking about industry trends; offering practical advice, tech deep dives, and lessons learned; and debunking myths. Your free ticket is also good for visiting the following co-located events: DevOps Live, Cloud & Cyber Security Expo, Smart IoT, Big Data World, Blockchain Technology World, and Data Centre World.

Who should attend: Technologists, business leaders, and senior business managers

Data Center World

Twitter: @datacenterworld / #datacenterworld
Web: http://global.datacenterworld.com/dcwg18/Public/Enter.aspx
Date: March 19-22
Location: Phoenix, Arizona, USA
Cost (2018): $1,395 to $2,595

Each year, more than 1,000 data center, facilities, and IT infrastructure professionals attend this conference, sponsored by the Association for Computer Operations Management (AFCOM). Its agenda is crafted by its more than 3,500 members.

Topics on the 2019 agenda include data center design and management; IT infrastructure technologies; modern data center strategies; security; data sovereignty; risk management; the Internet of Things, blockchain, AI, and edge data centers; professional development; digital transformation; and data center industry talent acquisition.

Who should attend: Data center and IT infrastructure pros

Strata Data Conference

Twitter: @strataconf / @OReillyMedia / #StrataHadoop
Web: conferences.oreilly.com/strata/strata-ca/
Date: Training and tutorials, March 25-26; keynotes and sessions, March 27-28
Location: San Francisco, California, USA
Cost: Conference passes, $1,445 to $2,245; training, $2,145 to $3,345 (time-sensitive discounts available)

Formerly known as Strata + Hadoop World, the conference now called Strata Data was created in 2012, when O'Reilly and Cloudera brought together their two successful big-data conferences. Topics cover cutting-edge data science, artificial intelligence, big data, and new business fundamentals.

It's a deep dive into emerging data techniques and technologies. You'll dissect case studies, develop new skills through in-depth tutorials, and share emerging best practices in data science. Sister shows are being held in London, UK, and New York City.

Who should attend: Business analysts, strategists, architects, developers, data scientists, data analysts, CxOs, venture capitalists, entrepreneurs, product managers, marketing pros, and researchers

April

Google Cloud Next

Twitter: @googlecloud / #GCPNext
Web: cloud.withgoogle.com/next18/sf/
Date: April 9-11
Location: San Francisco, California, USA
Cost (2018): $999 to $1,499

Google Cloud Next focuses on Google's infrastructure- and platform-as-a-service cloud computing services for businesses. Tracks include infrastructure and operations, app development, and data and analytics.

Who should attend: IT Ops pros and developers using Google Cloud Platform services

DockerCon U.S.

Twitter: @DockerCon
Web: docker.com/dockercon/...conference
Date: April 29-May 2
Location: San Francisco, California, USA
Cost (2018): $930 to $1,150; workshops, $150 each

DockerCon is a multi-track conference sponsored by Docker and focusing on that platform and its ecosystem. It includes keynotes, workshops, hands-on labs, and a "hallway track" for conference-goers to find like-minded people with whom they can share ideas in a structured way. The family-friendly forum offers childcare services for attendees and activities for spouses.

 

Who should attend: Developers, DevOps engineers, CxOs, and managers

 

Dell Technologies World

Twitter: @DellTechWorld / #DellTechWorld
Web: delltechnologiesworld.com/index.htm
Date: April 29-May 2
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
Cost: $2,095 to $2,495 (time-sensitive discounts available)

This event has evolved from Dell's EMC World conferences. Attendees can learn about Dell's vision for the future, as well as develop new skills and strategies to advance their careers and refine their road maps for the future. They'll also get hands-on time with the latest technologies from Dell and meet up with experts who work on the technology.

Who should attend: IT pros, business managers, Dell customers, and partners

May

Red Hat Summit

Twitter: @RedHatSummit / #RHSummit
Web: http://www.redhat.com/en/summit
Date: May 7-9
Location: Boston, Massachusetts, USA
Cost: $1,300 to $1,895 (time-sensitive discounts available)

This conference focuses on Red Hat's technology strategy and newest open-source products, with participation from the company's product and technology leaders. There are also customer panel sessions, technical sessions, and hands-on labs.

 

Who should attend: Sysadmins, IT engineers, software architects, vice presidents of IT, and CxOs

 

Interop ITX

Twitter: @interop / #Interop
Web: interop.com
Date: May 20-23
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
Cost: All access, $2,499; summit and workshops, $1,699; conference, $1,699; and tech fair, $49

A venerable tech conference, Interop delves into topics such as application deployment, cloud computing, collaboration, networking, IT leadership, security, software-defined networking, storage, virtualization, data center architecture, and mobility. The forum offers five tracks: infrastructure, security, emerging tech, DevOps, and IT strategy.

Who should attend: CEOs, CTOs, CIOs, developers, software architects, site reliability engineers, and system architects

June

Monitorama

Twitter: @Monitorama / #monitorama
Web: monitorama.com
Date: June 3-5
Location: Portland, Oregon, USA
Cost: $700

Monitorama has become popular thanks to its commitment to purely technical content without a lot of vendor fluff. The conference brings together the biggest names from the open-source development and operations communities, who then teach attendees about the tools and techniques that are used in some of the largest web architectures in the world.

The focus is strictly on monitoring and observability in software systems, which the organizers feel is an area in much need of attention. The goal of the organizers is to continue to push the boundaries of monitoring software, while having a great time in a casual setting.

Who should attend: Developers and DevOps engineers, operations staff, performance testers, and site reliability engineers

Gartner Infrastructure & Operations Management Summit

Twitter: @Gartner_Events / #gartnerio
Web: gartner.com/en/conferences/emea/infrastructure-operations-cloud-germany#
Date: June 4-5
Location: Frankfurt, Germany
Cost: Standard conference price, €2,775 plus VAT; public-sector price, €2,125 plus VAT (time-sensitive discount available)

This conference primarily focuses on scaling DevOps along with cloud computing and operations automation. Attendees come to learn about the biggest IT infrastructure and operations challenges, priorities, and trends.

Who should attend: Infrastructure and operations executives and strategists, IT operations managers, data center and infrastructure managers, I&O architects, and project leaders

Cisco Live

Twitter: @CiscoLive / #CLUS
Web: ciscolive.com/us/
Date: June 9-13
Location: San Diego, California, USA
Cost: $625 to $3,195 (time-sensitive discounts available)

Cisco's annual user conference is designed to inform attendees about the company's latest products and technology strategies for networking, communications, security, and collaboration. The conference draws about 25,000 attendees and 200 exhibitors and features about 600 sessions.

Who should attend: Cisco customers from IT and business areas

Velocity

Twitter: @velocityconf / #VelocityConf
Web: https://conferences.oreilly.com/velocity/vl-ca
Date: June 10-13
Location: San Jose, California, USA
Cost: N/A; past prices have ranged from $825 to $2,500; expo passes have been around $100

Velocity focuses on real-world best practices for building, deploying, and running complex, distributed applications and systems. It includes keynote speeches, training courses, tutorials, and technical sessions, as well as an exhibit hall featuring the latest tools and products. If you go, you can expect to experience a technical, performance-minded, operations-centric conference where developers, ops, and designers converge. The European edition of this conference is scheduled for November 4-7 in Berlin.

Who should attend: Site reliability engineers, software architects, developers, DevOps engineers, academics, CxOs, and managers

Big Data Toronto

Twitter: @BigDataTO / #BigDataTO
Web: bigdata-toronto.com
Date: June 12-13
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada 
Cost (2018): Expo free; conference, C$500 to C$1,000

A conference and trade show, Big Data Toronto brings together a diverse group of data analysts, data managers, and decision makers. The event features more than 100 speakers, over 60 exhibitors, and in excess of 4,000 attendees—making it one of Canada's top conferences for networking with other data scientists.

Who should attend: Data scientists, data analysts, and business analysts

CloudEXPO

Twitter: @CloudExpo / @SYSCONmedia / #CloudExpo
Web: dxworldexpo.com/event/cloudexpo/
Date: June 24-26
Location: Santa Clara, California, USA 
Cost: $195

This conference offers attendees firsthand experience from industry experts about choosing and evaluating cloud-based systems, as well as the benefits and pitfalls of moving to the cloud. Conference-goers can also learn about finding a cloud provider that can secure their data and applications and about transforming a traditional data center into a cloud computing environment that is secure, virtualized, and automated.

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

August

Gartner Catalyst Conference

Twitter: @Gartner_Events / #GartnerCAT
Web: gartner.com/en/conferences/na/catalyst-us#
Date (2018): August
Location (2018): San Diego, California, USA
Cost (2018): $3,050 to $3,575 (discounts available)

Featuring more than 50 Gartner analysts, Catalyst promises a deep dive into the digital enterprise's architectural requirements, touching on areas such as mobility, cloud architecture, data analytics, enterprise-scale security and identity, software-defined data centers, 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 can return to their workplaces "with a blueprint for project planning and execution."

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

VMworld

Twitter: @VMworld / #VMworld
Web: www.vmworld.com
Date: August 25-29
Location: San Francisco, California, USA
Cost (2018): $1,795

VMworld is a five-day conference with general sessions on the trends that matter most to the business and to IT. The conference also includes breakout sessions, group discussions, hands-on labs, VMware certification opportunities, expert panels, and one-on-one appointments with leading subject-matter experts.

Who should attend: Sysadmins, IT engineers, software architects, vice presidents of IT, and CxOs

September

Spiceworld

Twitter: @Spiceworks
Web: spiceworks.com/spiceworld
Date: September 23-25
Location: Austin, Texas, USA
Cost: $199 (early-bird pricing)

Spiceworld brings together thousands of IT pros, dozens of sponsoring vendors, and hundreds of tech marketers for three days of practical how-to sessions, tech conversations with key vendors, in-the-trenches stories from IT pros, networking, and "tons of fun," according to the organizers.

Who should attend: IT managers, operations engineers, help desk staff, and system administrators

451 Research’s Hosting & Cloud Transformation Summit

Twitter: @451Research / #451HCTS
Web: 451research-hcts.com
Date: September 24-26
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
Cost (2018): $1,199 to $2,695 (time-sensitive discounts available)

The theme for the 2019 conference will be how digital transformation will impact organizations that aren't technology-centric. Topics at the event will include making infrastructure invisible by simplifying the jumble of clouds, containers, and venues; looking at the data center of the future; building value to avoid the commodity trap; and discovering what customers want in multi-cloud and hybrid IT.

Who should attend: Service providers, hardware/software vendors, and investors

CloudNative-London

Twitter: @skillsmatter
Web: beta.skillsmatter.com/conferences/11723-cloudnative-london-2019
Date: September 25-27
Location: London, England, UK
Cost: $1,195 (time-sensitive discounts available)

This conference covers everything cloud-native, from containers and schedulers to Kubernetes and DevOps. Forum organizers offer a diversity scholarship plan to support those from traditionally underrepresented or marginalized groups who may not normally have the opportunity to attend the event. Videos from last year's conference can be viewed for free here.

Who should attend: Developers, site reliability engineers, system and network architects, software engineers, CEOs, and CTOs

October

Gartner Symposium/ITxpo

Twitter: @Gartner_Events / #ITxpo / #GartnerSYM
Web: gartner.com/en/conferences/na/symposium-us
Date (2018): October
Location (2018): Walt Disney World, Lake Buena Vista, Florida, USA
Cost (2018): Conference, $6,000; public sector, $4,425 (group discounts are available)

Gartner Symposium/ITxpo is aimed specifically at CIOs and technology executives in general, addressing topics from an enterprise IT perspective. These include mobility, cybersecurity, cloud computing, application architecture, application development, the Internet of Things, and digital business.

Who should attend: CIOs and senior IT execs

IT/Dev Connections

Twitter: @devconnections / #ITDevConnections
Web: itdevconnections.com/dc18/Public/Enter.aspx
Date (2018): October
Location (2018): Dallas, Texas, USA
Cost (2018): $1,299 to $2,699

IT/Dev Connections is a deep-dive technical conference designed for IT professionals and developers looking for hands-on training without marketing messages or pitches. The conference focuses on topics such as big data and business intelligence, virtualization, DevOps, enterprise management and mobility, cloud and data center, development platforms and tools, and enterprise collaboration. Emphasis is on Microsoft products, including Azure, Exchange, SQL Server, and SharePoint, although other vendors are also discussed.

Who should attend: Developers and IT pros

Cloud Data Summit

Twitter: @clouddatasummit

Web: clouddatasummit.com

Date: October 16-17

Location: online

Cost: $497 to $1.297 (time-sensitive discounts available)

This conference bills itself as a conference about the cloud in the cloud. The virtual forum emphasizes the practical aspects of cloud computing and focuses on the experience of companies that have migrated their data platforms from on-premise operations to the cloud and how they've redesigned those platforms to take advantage of the endless storage and computing power of the cloud.

Who should attend: CxOs, data professionals, Chief Data Officers

Oracle OpenWorld

Twitter: @oracleopenworld
Web: oracle.com/openworld
Date (2018): October 28-November 1
Location (2018): San Francisco, California, USA
Cost (2018): $1,450 to $2,050 (time-sensitive and government discounts 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. Sister conferences are also held in Singapore and Dubai, UAE.

Who should attend: Oracle customers, partners, developers, and IT Ops pros

November

AWS re:Invent

Twitter: @AWSreInvent / @awscloud / #reInvent
Web: reinvent.awsevents.com
Date (2018): November
Location (2018): Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
Cost (2018): $1,799

AWS re:Invent is the Amazon Web Services annual user conference, which brings customers together to network, engage, and learn more about AWS. The event features keynote speeches, training sessions, certification opportunities, technical sessions, an expo floor, and networking activities.

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

Microsoft Ignite

Twitter: @MS_Ignite / #MSIgnite
Web: microsoft.com/en-us/ignite
Date: November 2-8
Location: Orlando, Florida, USA
Cost (2018): Full conference, $2,220; academic, $1,395; student, $995; 2019 prices to be announced in the spring

Microsoft created Ignite in 2014 to consolidate several smaller conferences: Microsoft Management Summit, Microsoft Exchange Conference, SharePoint Conference, Lync Conference, Project Conference, and TechEd.

 

Ignite covers architecture, deployment, implementation and migration, development, operations and management, security, access management and compliance, and usage and adoption. Although the conference is organized by Microsoft and focuses on its products, it also draws more than 100 vendors that participate in the expo and as sessions speakers.

 

Who should attend: Microsoft developers

 

O'Reilly Velocity Conference

Twitter: @clouddatasummit

Web: conferences.oreilly.com/velocity/vl-eu

Date: November 4-7

Location: Berlin, Germany

Cost: €745 to €1,095, plus VAT (time-sensitive discounts available)

Velocity focuses on cloud-native systems and is devoted to cloud native infrastructure, DevOps, Kubernetes, and more. In addition to keynote presentations, the forum offers training courses and tutorials on subjects such as building cloud native applications and fast tracking chaos engineering, as well as technical sessions covering both practical and emerging issues.

Who should attend: Systems and site reliability engineers; systems architects; application developers; DevOps practitioners; researchers and academics; teams engaged in operations, infrastructure, and cloud ecosystems; CTOs and CIOs seeking to streamline operations

Service Management World

 

Twitter:  #SMWorld2019

Web: www.smworld.com

Date: November 9-13

Location: Orlando, Florida, USA

Cost: $1,899 to $2,599 (time-sensitive discounts available)

 

This event is staged by HDI, an events and services organization for the technical support and services industry. It includes an expo hall, training sessions, learning tracks, and keynote speeches. Topics on tap for the 2019 general sessions include How Digital Transformation Is Shaping the New World of Work, Establishing a Trusted Partnership between IT and the Business, and Augmenting Human Creativity in the Age of Artificial Intelligence.

Who should attend: Service and technical support professionals

KubeCon + CloudNativeCon

Twitter: @kubeconio / @CloudNativeFdn / #KubeCon / #CloudNativeCon
Web: events.linuxfoundation.org/events/kubecon-cloudnativecon-north-america-2019/
Date: November 18-21
Location: San Diego, California, USA
Cost (2018): $150 to $1,100

KubeCon and CloudNativeCon are a single conference sponsored by the Linux Foundation and the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF). The conference brings together leading contributors in cloud-native applications, containers, microservices, and orchestration. The conference also focuses on open-source projects, including Kubernetes, Prometheus, OpenTracing, Fluentd, Linkerd, gRPC, CoreDNS, containerd, rkt, and CNI.

In addition to the San Diego conference, forums are also planned for Barcelona, Spain, and Shanghai, China.

Who should attend: Application developers, IT operations staff, technical managers, line-of-business leaders, end users, service providers, CNCF community ambassadors, CNCF contributors, and people looking to learn more about cloud-native computing

Salesforce Dreamforce

Twitter: @salesforce / @Dreamforce / #dreamforce
Web: salesforce.com/form/dreamforce
Date: November 19-22
Location: San Francisco, California, USA
Cost (2018): $1,999

Sponsored by Salesforce, Dreamforce is a four-day event and one of the largest software conferences in the world. It includes more than 2,700 breakout sessions, featuring world-renowned leaders, Salesforce experts, and hands-on training.

Who should attend: Salesforce customers

December

Gartner Data Center, Infrastructure & Operations Management Conference

Twitter: @Gartner_Events / #GartnerDC
Web: gartner.com/en/conferences/na/infrastructure-operations-cloud-us
Date (2018): December
Location (2018): Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
Cost (2018): $3,400 (public employee discounts available)

Guided by the latest insight from Gartner and IT operations experts, this conference covers strategies around a variety of topics, including cloud computing, the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, DevOps, containers, microservices, and serverless computing.

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

Review the options and make your choices soon: Prices may vary based on how early you register. Also, remember that hotel and travel costs are generally separate from the conference pricing.

What are your favorite conferences and why? Post your comments below. And let us know if there are any other events or conferences we missed.

Main image courtesy of Monitorama.

[ Ready to manage your hybrid IT future? Download Crafting and Managing Hybrid Multicloud IT Architecture to get up to speed on unified infrastructure management. ]