Another week on the road, after spending some "quality" time in New Orleans at HP Software Partner Enablement Galaxy last week I've come away with a few thoughts to share here. It's good to have a little time to reflect on it since I've been on the road most of October and my thoughts were largely focused on just getting back home.
To give a little background, HP Software PEG was a "by invitation" event where just over 100 consultants who are HP Software partners gathered to learn more about the current state of HP Enterprise Systems Management Software, and get some specific skills ramp-up on one of five product sets of which advanced & condensed "boot camp" style training was being offered.
Partners in attendance were from "the Americas" but primarily from the US. I met about 8 other Canadians, and a small handful of folks from Central/South America.
So, now to the meat of my thoughts... After the first day I was worried this was going to be more sales oriented than technical training. The first half of the day was spent with some "rah rah" speeches about selling software and the HP Software roadmap in very general terms in a general session. After the morning's session, we broke into our various classrooms. Personally, I choose to take the Business Availability Centre basic/intermediate level training. Again, the second half of day one ended up being an overview of the various components that make up the HP "BAC" suite, and some fairly high-level information. We each were given an HP laptop to work off of for the week, pre-set with VMWare Player and a couple of VMs. As the week progressed we got way more hands on and the teacher/subject matter became more interesting and challenging. The real challenge, however, was practical hands-on learning.
As it turns out, BAC depends on 3 core servers (Gateway, Data Processing, DB) which can run on two separate servers, but are reasonably resource intensive. The once we got to distributing the probes for various types of data gathering and synthetic transactions, we ran into some serious configuration and performance problems running those on the VMs on the laptops. That really slowed the learning curve.
Also, there were no formal printed course materials for us to take. After complaining about this at the end of day one, we were quickly provided the following morning with hardcopies of the various Power-Point slide decks, but without any accompanying notes other than those we'd take ourselves. So, to walk away from the bootcamp without demo or eval software or course materials has made it a big challenge to try and keep up the learning curve since I've returned to the office. Plus, trying to knowledge share to other folks on my team is also a challenge.
I'm planning on summarizing some high-level info on BAC for a presentation at my local Vivit chapter this Friday, but beyond that it's getting to be a bit of a challenge to leverage the week of heads-down learning into expanded corporate skill sets.
The technical challenges with the laptop based VMs I suggested at the time could be dealt with by having HP actually ship a rack of 1U servers for each classroom, and have the class break into small groups who work together implementing a BAC solution. Add to that some sort of training materials and demo software we can take with us back to our offices and then we've got a great solution.
So, was the week in New Orleans worth my time? This time I'd say yes. But if I go again in Feb where-ever they are planning on hosting the sessions, I'm hoping that they address some of the issues myself and fellow students flagged in the course reviews to ensure that we can have more productivity during and after the classes.