Disclosure: Pure Accelerate 2019

This is one of my regular disclosure posts. You can read more of them here.

Pure Accelerate 2019 was held in Austin, TX on 15-19 September 2019. I attended as a guest of Pure Storage.

Pure Storage was a PivotNine analyst client at the time of the event.

Sunday 15 September 2019

I headed to the airport bright and early at 6am using PivotNine’s regular car service, and had breakfast in the Qantas First lounge at Melbourne international airport. I struggled once again with the temptation of ordering something different, but stuck with my regular poached eggs, toast, grilled mushrooms, spinach and a side-order of smoked salmon, plus a coffee. And then a second coffee because good coffee is tricky to find in America.

I flew to LAX on Qantas in premium economy (flights to and from Austin were courtesy of Pure Storage) on an Airbus A380, which is upstairs and quite comfy. Pro-tip: economy class upstairs on the A380 isn’t vastly different from premium economy, if you can snag a seat there. There are only 20-odd seats, so pick your seat early if you can. It’s much quieter upstairs, and there’s one toilet at the back of the plane that you don’t have to queue for as much because premium economy and business tend to use the toilets in their section.

On my way to the lounge at LAX, I came across this piano that you can actually play! I had a go, and realised that it’d been a while since I’d practised at home so my ability to play Chopin’s Nocturne Op.9 No.2 was basically non-existent, and I could barely remember the Prelude in E-Minor (Op.28 No.4). I have resolved to practice more.

A baby grand piano at LAX international airport

A baby grand piano at LAX international airport you can totally play!

I had a long layover at LAX before my flight to Austin, so I caught up on email and did other work after a shower and a light breakfast.

My flight to Austin was on American Airlines, right up the back of the bus in economy.

I arrived in Austin around 7pm, and a driver organised by Pure took me to my hotel, the very nice Fairmont in downtown Austin. I shared the car with my friend Andrew Miller who now works at Pure, and after dropping my bag in my room I caught up with Andrew and Craig Waters from Pure in the hotel lobby for a cleansing ale and a chat.

Then it was off to bed to get a decent night’s sleep before a big conference week.

Monday 16 September 2019

After a disappointing lack of shower puzzle and ironing a few shirts, I had breakfast downstairs with my fellow Tech Field Day Exclusive delegates, paid for by the Tech Field Day folks.

There was nothing puzzling about the Fairmont's shower puzzle.

There was nothing puzzling about the Fairmont’s shower puzzle.

I spent the majority of the day in the Tech Field Day Exclusive going over the announcements in some technical detail before they were to be announced, under embargo. Rather than a regular Tech Field Day event where the session is live-streamed as well as recorded, this one was just recorded to be published once the embargo had lifted.

Lunch was catered by Pure Storage, a buffet that I’ve forgotten. I’ll have to get better at taking a photo of what I eat as all the bain marie buffet meals are starting to blur together in my memory.

After an embargoed press conference in the evening, we had an analyst and press reception at Banger’s Sausage House and Beer Garden on Rainey Street. The food was barbecue, but oddly didn’t include any of the sausage for which the venue is named. I had some pulled pork and some spicy pickles and also tried a smoked tofu that was singularly disappointing. A shame, as it showed potential, but it’s hard to have tofu by itself taste of much of anything. I say this as a fan of tofu when used appropriately, such as in Mapo Tofu or a variety of Asian soups like curry laksa.

The beer was good though. There were about a hundred on tap, but once I’d excluded the plethora of IPAs (I am boycotting IPAs until the too-much-hops-is-barely-enough trend abates) I had a more manageable list to choose from. I started with a simple light Pilsener (it was quite hot in Austin), and then had a couple of Amber Ales. To finish, I was encouraged to try the Real Ale Coffissar 2017 which was very tasty and had a distinct coffee flavour but at 9.8% ABV one was more than enough and I needed a bunch of water to counter its effects.

We wandered back to the hotel and I hung out in the lobby bar with various folk there for the event, and some local friends from Austin. I had an Amber Ale as a nightcap.

Tuesday 17 September 2019

For breakfast I met up with the folks from Clumio at the Corner restaurant at the JW Marriott for a briefing and had poached eggs and a properly decent espresso. So good I had a second one.

Then it was back to the keynote at the convention centre. I had to hustle a bit as I was running a little late.

Pure Storage CEO Charlie Giancarlo opens the Pure Accelerate 2019 conference keynote.

Pure Storage CEO Charlie Giancarlo opens the Pure Accelerate 2019 conference keynote.

Then I was in the press-conference session with Charlie and various executives to talk in more depth about the company’s financials, go-to-market strategy, and details of the product announcements.

I won’t go into huge detail here on the products (look for that elsewhere) but I found the FlashArray //C, FlashBlade update, and details around how Pure1 works to be the most compelling. We’d already covered things in quite some detail the day before in the Tech Field Day Exclusive.

I did notice that my fellow Tech Field Day delegate analysts were over-represented in the questions, which I found quite interesting. I wonder if it was because we’d had more time to digest the announcements than the press and other analyst folks, or if it was because we’re just generally more familiar with the technology and the field? Or maybe we’re just noisy.

I completely forget what I did for lunch, so I assume it was the catered lunch in the analyst lounge, whatever that was.

After a bunch more briefings and meetings and wandering around the show floor in the afternoon, I dropped my gear in my room and went to the analyst reception at the hotel. The food was a series of tables with various styles of food. The Vera Cruz fish taco station was a particular standout, as were the crab cakes that were circulating as hors d’hoevres. I had a couple of gin-and-tonics to accompany the food, and lots of conversations with people I knew and some new analyst folk from Europe I’d not met before.

After the reception finished about 8:30pm or so, I headed down to the lobby bar to hang out for a while with Keith Townsend and Ken Nalbone over a gin martini nightcap. Then it was off to bed ready to do it all again tomorrow.

Wednesday 18 September 2019

Breakfast was on the convention floor as part of a private tour of the booths offered to analysts. I had a ham-and-cheese croissant sandwich thing and a coffee.

After checking out the exhibits and chatting with fellow attendees, I headed into the morning keynote.

The presentation by Leland Melvin was outstanding. One of the best I’ve seen.

Leland Melvin assures us that the Earth is not flat. NASA checked.

Leland Melvin assures us that the Earth is not flat. NASA checked.

Representation matters, and equality doesn’t mean justice.

I had a bunch of work related calls interspersed with meetings and briefings, so I nearly missed lunch but managed to grab a shawarma bowl thing with rice and various vegetables from one of the food trucks that were on the conference floor for lunch. It was really good!

Then it was more meetings, with a short break for Amy’s ice-cream before being a guest on the Pure Report podcast. The ice-cream helped soothe a throat that was beginning to get sore after so much talking over two days. After the podcast recording I was a guest on theCUBE providing my hot take on the announcements from the show.

In the evening, I went along to the official customer party at Austin City Limits Moody Theater to see Weezer play. I had a selection of the food-truck style offerings accompanied by a couple of gin-and-tonics and bottles of water while watching the gig. It was a solidly fun set, very much like a pub gig that everyone just earnestly enjoys.

Weezer plays live at Austin City Limits Live at the Moody Theater in Austin, TX for Pure Accelerate 2019.

Weezer plays live at Austin City Limits Live at the Moody Theater in Austin, TX for Pure Accelerate 2019.

The band finished around 10:30pm and I walked back to my hotel, carefully avoiding the plague of electric scooters with enthusiastic, if not particularly skilled, riders flitting around all over the place.

Thursday 19 September 2019

I met up with a customer of Clumio for a briefing first thing in the morning, and Clumio bought me a coffee. I now have a much better idea of what Clumio are up to.

Then I checked out of the hotel to move up the road to the JW Marriott for the week, courtesy of Spiceworks, as I was due to attend their annual SpiceWorld conference the next week. I paid for my own transport, via Lyft, as my bag had developed a broken wheel and hauling it several blocks in 35°C heat didn’t appeal very much.

Swag, Etc.

  • A Pure Storage and Veeam co-branded water bottle, given to all conference attendees. I declined to take one of the backpacks.
  • A self-published commemorative book on Pure Storage’s 10 year history, called Flash Was Only The Beginning. It’s very heavy.
  • A bag of buttered popcorn that I ended up leaving behind in my room because I didn’t want to declare things to customs.
  • A bag of Cuvée coffee beans that I had to declare to customs when coming back home, thus completely negating the reason I left the popcorn behind.
  • A Porter ceramic travel mug.
  • A variety of Pure Storage stickers.

I once again gave away a lot of Humans Ruin Everything stickers I’d brought with me.

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