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The best cloud and IT Ops conferences of 2021

Linda Rosencrance Freelance writer/editor

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the organizers of cloud and IT Ops conferences, along with organizers of all the other conferences scheduled for 2020, were forced to move their events online or cancel them altogether.

The good news is that the majority of cloud and IT Ops conferences will be held in one form or another in 2021. And that's important because the technology keeps moving even as IT pros stay home. Innovation hasn't stopped, so IT operations, cloud, and IT management pros need to come together so they can learn about the latest technologies, innovations, and trends in IT operations and cloud management.

Here's TechBeacon's shortlist of the best cloud and IT Ops conferences in 2021.


Data Cloud Summit

Twitter: @fedscoop
Web: fedscoop.com/events/data-cloud-summit/
Date: January 14
Location: Virtual
Cost: Free

At this event, which is presented by Cloudera, leaders and decision makers from the public-sector IT community will discuss the importance of developing a foundational enterprise data strategy. They will delve into how that can spark digital transformation and power new capabilities such as machine learning and rapid analytics. These experts will also explore how the cloud can be used to manage data across the enterprise, best practices for keeping government data secure at scale, and ways to effectively process and analyze streaming data.

Who should attend: Members of the public-sector IT community


Microsoft Ignite

Twitter: @MS_Ignite / #MSIgnite
Web: myignite.microsoft.com/home
Date: March 2-4
Location: Virtual
Cost: Free

Microsoft's popular Ignite conference offers developers and tech professionals a venue to explore the latest developer tools and cloud technologies, as well as learn new ways to code, optimize cloud infrastructure, and modernize an organization. Deep technical training is offered.

Who should attend: Microsoft developers, IT pros, makers, implementers, architects, developers, and data professionals


Twitter: @cloudfest / #cloudfest
Web: cloudfest.com
Date: March 23-25
Location: Virtual
Cost: Pay what you can

CloudFest is a series of conferences geared toward cloud, hosting, and Internet service provider professionals. Focusing on three distinctive pillars—growth, connectivity, and learning—the events offer attendees access to the latest technologies, innovations, and trends that make modern, digital, online communication possible. This year, CloudFest goes to the cloud for its first fully digital event.

Who should attend: People in the cloud service provider and Internet infrastructure industries and web professionals

Micro Focus Universe 2021

Twitter: #microfocusuniverse
Web: microfocus.com/en-us/events/microfocus-universe-2020/overview
Date: March 23-24
Location: Virtual
Cost: TBD

This event is largely for Micro Focus customers and partners. This year's focus is on "Winning in a Digital Economy," and Universe will be run as a virtual global event. Attendees will be able to register for the regional agenda of their choice (EMEA, Americas, or APJ). Within the virtual event platform, they can learn from Micro Focus experts, experience use cases, and hear best practices from customers and partners around the world.

Who should attend: Micro Focus customers, business executives and technical users, and alliance, channel, and reseller partners


Red Hat Summit

Twitter: @RedHatSummit / #RHSummit
Web: redhat.com/en/summit
Date: April 27-28, June 15-16, and a series of in-person events starting in September
Location: April and June, virtual; September, in person
Cost: TBD

At the April event, attendees will hear the latest news and announcements, ask experts their technology questions, and learn how open source is innovating the future of the enterprise. The June event will include breakout sessions and technical content geared toward the topics most relevant to the participants. Attendees will also be able to interact live with Red Hat professionals.

Finally, attendees can explore labs, demos, training offerings, and networking opportunities at in-person events that will be held in several cities.

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



Twitter: @KubeCon_ /@CloudNativeFdn / #CloudNativeCon
Web: events.linuxfoundation.org/kubecon-cloudnativecon-europe
Date: May 4-7
Location: Virtual
Cost: TBD

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.

Who should attend: Application developers, IT operations staff, technical managers, executive leadership, end users, product managers, product marketing executives, service providers, CNCF contributors, and people looking to learn more about cloud native

DockerCon Live

Twitter: @DockerCon#DockerCon
Web: docker.com/dockercon
Date (2020): May 28
Location (2020): Virtual
Cost (2020): Free

DockerCon Live is a one-day online event with three simultaneous streams for participants to choose from. The event includes Captains on Deck, one of the streaming channels, where Docker captains hang out, talk tech, and answer attendees' questions in real time. Captains on Deck was designed to virtualize that experience and make it last all day.

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


Cisco Live

Twitter: @CiscoLive / #CLUS
Web: ciscolive.com/us/
Date: June 8-10
Location: Virtual
Cost: TBD

Cisco's annual user conference is designed to inform attendees about the company's latest products and technology strategies for networking, communication, security, and collaboration.

Who should attend: Cisco customers from IT and business areas


Twitter: @Monitorama / #monitorama
Web: monitorama.com
Date: June 21-23
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 teach attendees about the tools and techniques that are used in some of the largest web architectures in the world.

Its 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

Google Cloud Next '21

Twitter: @googlecloud
Web: cloud.withgoogle.com/next/sf/
Date: June 28-30
Location: San Francisco, California, USA
Cost: TBD

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


Cloud Expo Europe

Twitter: @CloudExpoEurope / #CEE20
Web: cloudexpoeurope.com
Date: July 7-8
Location: London, UK
Cost: TBD

Hundreds of the world's leading suppliers exhibit at this event, which also includes over 250 speakers talking about industry trends; offering practical advice, tech deep dives, and lessons learned; and debunking some myths.

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


Data Center World

Twitter: @datacenterworld / #datacenterworld
Web: datacenterworld.com
Date: August 16-19
Location: Orlando, Florida, USA
Cost: Ranges from $1,395 to $2,295 (time-sensitive and AFCOM discounts available).

Data Center World delivers exclusive State of the Data Center research findings, in-depth workshops, keynotes from industry luminaries, the largest offering of data center technology solutions, and unlimited networking opportunities. Now in its 41st year, Data Center World is the longest-running data center conference, blending decades of experience with insight into today's and tomorrow's strategic issues.

Who should attend: Infrastructure managers, facilities managers, cloud architects, engineers, architects, consultants, operations professionals, network security, storage professionals, and C-level executives


Twitter: @VMworld#VMworld
Web: https://www.vmworld.com/en/us/index.html
Date: August 30-September 2
Location: San Francisco, California, USA
Cost: TBD

VMworld is a five-day conference with general sessions on the trends relevant to business and 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: System admins, IT engineers, software architects, vice presidents of IT, and CxOs



Twitter: @Spiceworks
Web: spiceworks.com/spiceworld
Date (2020): September 15-17
Location (2020): Virtual; 2021 TBD
Cost (2020): Free; 2021 TBD

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 admins

Oracle OpenWorld

Twitter: @oracleopenworld
Web: oracle.com/openworld
Date (2021): TBD
Location (2021): TBD
Cost: TBD

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.

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


451 Research's Hosting & Cloud Transformation Summit

Twitter: @451Research / #451HCTS
Web: spglobal.com/marketintelligence/en/pages/hosting-and-cloud-transformation-summit
Date (2020): October 6-22 (three-week virtual event)
Location (2020): Virtual
Cost (2020): Free

During the virtual event, attendees will receive insight, analysis, and actionable advice in multiple technology sectors from thought leaders across 451 Research. Because the firm is now a part of S&P Global Market Intelligence, the agenda will be expanded to showcase all aspects of the emerging technology landscape, beyond just cloud and hosting.

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

Interop Digital

Twitter: @interop / #Interop
Web: interop.com
Date (2020): October 5-8
Location (2020): Virtual
Cost (2020): Passes range from a $1,099 conference and certification pass to a free business hall pass

Interop Digital provides IT professionals a place to connect, learn, and discover the newest and most valuable IT strategies. Interop Digital includes two days of industry-specific trainings, certification courses, and eight conference tracks designed to help attendees strategize, network, and learn. The event also includes a business hall with solution providers and services.

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

Gartner Symposium/ITxpo

Twitter: #GartnerSYM
Web: gartner.com/en/conferences/na/symposium-us
Date: October 18-21
Location: Orlando, Florida, USA
Cost: TBD

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

Big Data & AI Toronto

Twitter: @BigDataAITO / #BigDataTO
Web: bigdata-toronto.com
Date: October 13-14
Location: Likely hybrid, with a physical presence in Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Cost: Expo, free; physical conference, CA$595 (tickets for a virtual conference will be lower)

A conference and trade show, Big Data Toronto, which is co-located with AI Toronto, brings together a diverse group of data analysts, data managers, and decision makers. The event features more than 150 speakers, over 90 exhibitors, and in excess of 5,000 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

Dell Technologies World

Twitter: @DellTech#DellTechWorld
Web: delltechnologiesworld.com/index.htm
Date (2020): October 21-22
Location (2020): Virtual; 2021 TBD
Cost: TBD

This event has evolved from Dell's EMC World conferences. Attendees can learn about what Dell sees on the horizon, 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


Service Management World

Twitter: #SMWorld
Web: www.smworld.com
Date: November 6-10
Location: Orlando, Florida, USA
Cost: TBD

This event is staged by HDI, an events and services organization for the technical support and services industry. The event includes an expo hall, training sessions, learning tracks, and keynote speeches.

Who should attend: Service and technical support professionals

AWS re:Invent

Twitter: @AWSreInvent / #reInvent
Web: reinvent.awsevents.com
Date (2020): November 30-December 18 and January 12-14, 2021
Location (2020): Virtual
Cost (2020): Free

AWS re:Invent is the Amazon Web Services annual user conference, which brings customers together to network, engage, and learn more about AWS. The virtual event features over 500 breakout sessions, keynotes, and live content.

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


Interop Digital Networking and Cloud Virtual Event

Twitter: @interop / #Interop
Web: interop.com
Date (2020): December 3
Location (2020): Virtual
Cost: Free

This free one-day learning experience centers around critical networking and cloud topics and issues.

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

Gartner Infrastructure, Operations & Cloud Strategies Conference

Twitter: #gartnerio
Web: gartner.com/en/conferences/emea/infrastructure-operations-cloud-ukgartner.com/en/conferences/na/infrastructure-operations-cloud-us
Date (2020): December 7-10
Location (2020): Virtual
Cost (2020): EMEA: standard price, €1,275; public-sector price €850, plus VAT: Americas: standard price, $1,450; public-sector price, $975

This conference primarily focuses on scaling DevOps, but also addresses 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, infrastructure and operations architects, and project leaders

Salesforce Dreamforce to You

Twitter: @salesforce / @Dreamforce / #DF20
Web: salesforce.com/form/dreamforce
Date (2020): Americas, December 14-17; Asia Pacific, December 15-18; Europe, December 15-17
Location (2020): Virtual
Cost (2020): Free

Sponsored by Salesforce, Dreamforce to You is a completely reimagined Dreamforce experience for the work-from-anywhere world. At the event, attendees will hear about Salesforce's customer successes. They'll also have some fun and learn from each other. This event will bring insightful and relevant conversations, and showcase innovations geared for this new, all-digital world.

Who should attend: Salesforce customers

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.

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 more information becomes available.

Image courtesy of @archyufa

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