The week the European NonStop Community came to Edinburgh
BITUG was proud to host the first annual European Technical Boot Camp (ETBC) in Edinburgh, Scotland on 13-15 May this year. Following up on the success of the last European event hosted by BITUG, eBITUG 2017 in London, we had a lot to live up to and expectations were high. The BITUG Committee need not have worried! Due to painstaking effort and planning – all in a volunteer capacity – the results suggest we certainly pulled it off!
We kicked off the event with a couple of typical Scottish activities on Monday afternoon. As Edinburgh is just a stone’s throw away from the head office of TCM (a Platinum Sponsor), they kindly sponsored and hosted a TCM Golf Day. Remarkably, the weather gods must have listened to us. What normally might have been a very wet drab affair weather-wise, turned out to be unusually warm, sunny and without any wind! In fact, golfers were very surprised by the lack of usual course conditions of 50mph crosswinds and lashing rain – they even got sunburnt – in Scotland??!? Meanwhile, BITUG sponsored a ‘Whisky Tasting’ experience for those interested.
Monday evening was the real kick-off for ETBC, and we had a full-house of attendees join us for the Platinum Beer Bust at the BrewDog Pub located conveniently next door to our Sheraton Hotel host. This was sponsored by our Platinum Partners – HPE, Intel, TCM, OmniPayments, NTI and XYPRO.
Tuesday morning launched a full day of presentation content by HPE, NonStop customers, and the vendor community. We arranged for Justin Wren to kick of the program with his keynote presentation and video – Fight For the Forgotten. Justin spoke in detail about his fight for the forgotten pygmies in the Congo (who are still under slavery), and how he was able to empower some of them to get out of slavery. It really was very eye opening to us all, and we am sure there was more than one teary eyed soul in the Plenary room listening to his story. His message was one of empathy and how ultimately people can help people regardless of industry, business or technology, which even relates to the NonStop community.
In parallel to the main conference this year, HPE also ran a Customer Council where invited customer CIO’s and other senior staff were provided private presentations on relevant topics. Neil Davis and Teresa Sorg hosted a remarkable group of customers who dined together, and even enjoyed a fabulous Scottish sunset to get a group photo!
After a full day of presentation content and an excellent lunch provided by Sheraton, most of us journeyed to a magnificent building just down from the Castle at ‘The Hub’ for a ‘Taste of Scotland Gala Dinner’. We were all greeted by a Scottish piper, and after a welcome drink were led through a hall of statues to the main dining area where we enjoyed an excellent Scottish dinner. This was incomplete, of course, without the ‘addressing of the haggis’ and a wee dram of Whisky, followed by Ceilidh dancing where some of us were brave enough to have a go ourselves – with the assistance of professional dancers, of course. Well done to Moore Ewing for donning the full tartan kilt ensemble and showing us all how Ceilidh dancing is done! A fun night had by all.
Next day was back to the serious stuff again with a keynote to kick off from Franz Koenig regarding HPE IT’s migration to NonStop X and vNS. HPE really is eating its own cake by consuming NonStop in its own Business.
Further presentations followed and throughout the day, and on more than one occasion I saw a room for 30 people overflowing with NonStoppers keen to listen to what the presenter had to say.
Of course, we also have to thank all the vendors who sponsored the event and hopefully we did them justice by having a much larger exhibition area this year compared to 2017.
We closed the conference by presenting a memento to Dave Ross and Dan Lewis as a sign of gratitude from the rest of the BITUG Committee for their commitment and time over the years; they have now decided to hang up their boots and concentrate on other things in the future.
So, as BITUG chairman for 2019, my heartfelt thanks go to all the vendor sponsors, HPE, Intel, and of course Connect — not to mention the many hours in planning and preparation by my BITUG sub-committee team comprising of Iain Liston-Brown, Damian Ward, Kevin Poultney and Neil Barnes.
Thanks everyone and we look forward to hosting another big European-based conference in 2021!