Best IT Conferences in 2017

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2017 is upon us, and if IT managers have likely already secured their new budgets, which hopefully include a healthy amount of funding for IT training. That budget should include sending IT pros to training courses and buying coursework books, but going to a relevant IT admin technology conference should also be an available option.

IT Conferences are great places to get a birds-eye view of the business technologies used to support a company. Whether it’s a general cloud computing conference, or a vendor specific event, the end-goal is to come back after the show with a whole new set of ideas and contacts that are just as important as learning some basic skills. But some companies are leaning toward canceling these events. For instance, Intel recently announced it would be pulling the plug on its annual developer’s forum.

Most, if not all, conferences are composed of packed keynote sessions, technical workshops, hands-on training, vendor expos on a showroom floor, and lots of after-hour networking events. Be prepared with good pair of walking shoes, a dependable power bank for your phone, business cards and light bag to carry all the swag you鈥檒l be getting. These are the 15 you should plan to attend.

Red Hat Summit

Red Hat was one of the first distros to bring Linux to the enterprise and has since then pioneered the operating system’s integration into today’s cloud computing market. The Red Hat Summit provides customers and partners with more than 200 sessions and hands-on-labs, as well as non-technical presentations and keynotes that address the company’s position in the consumer and IT marketplaces. Driven by an enthusiasm to make Linux and open source a common feature in data centers everywhere, the Red Hat Summit is a constant source of high energy.

Next Show: May 2-4, 2017 in Boston

IBM Interconnect

Cloud computing’s impact across the IT landscape continues to leave its mark in so many ways. Whether it’s SaaS, PaaS or IaaS, companies are deploying cloud-based solutions almost as fast as they鈥檙e created. Interconnect is IBM’s answer to how it keeps customers up to date with its own current line of cloud and cloud-supporting services. From its in-house solutions like Watson, Bluemix or SoftLayer, to general topics like hybrid cloud, IoT, security and business strategies, Interconnect has it all covered when it comes to the Cloud.

Next Show: March 19-23, 2017 in Las Vegas

Dell EMC World

After Dell’s acquisition of EMC and all its subsidiaries, both EMC World and Dell World were combined into a single conference. Now with the presence of both companies under a single roof, attendees can expect a more diverse lineup of products, services and presentations about solutions supporting cloud, storage, big data and convergence. If you’re a Dell or EMC customer, you’ll be interested to see, touch and learn what Dell EMC and its network of partners have in store.

Next Show: May 8-11, 2017 in Las Vegas


Known as the bad boy of tech conferences, Defcon is the largest collection of hackers to congregate in one place. And even though it’s not really an IT show, Defcon can be informative, while also being an uninitiated IT security manager’s worst nightmare. Just exiting its 24 year, Defcon’s last attendee count reached 22,000 people, including corporate visitors and government agencies. Those planning to attend Defcon should know that there is no pre-registration 鈥?it’s onsite registration and cash-only.

Next Show: July 27-30, 2017 in Las Vegas

HPE Discover

and Hewlett-Packard Enterprise (HPE). Now catering exclusively to the enterprise, HPE Discover is a showcase of IT products and services, as well as a gathering place for third-party companies that partner with HPE. With HPE dipping its hands into technologies ranging from cloud to networking to end-point computing, current customers (aka, HP houses) heavily invested in HPE will definitely want to see what is next on the company’s roadmap.

Next Show: June 2017 in Las Vegas: exact date is TBD

Cisco Live

Cisco Live is the largest networking related conference. The focus is clearly on Cisco, but because the company partners with hundreds of other vendors, there’s quite a variety of things to see and do at the show. Topics tend to include networking, software-defined technologies, mobility, IoT, security, cloud computing and collaboration. With Cisco certification being a highly-sought after resume line item, job seekers and enhancers will be interested in the conference’s certification sessions and testing center.

Next Show: June 25-29, 2017 in Las Vegas

Black Hat

Founded by Defcon founder, Jeff Moss, Black Hat is considered the more corporate version of these two security conferences. Black Hat focuses on trainings and briefings for those interested in information security, primarily those in the frontline responsible for security, privacy and identity management. Black Hat is held around the same time as Defcon, so it would be worth someone’s time and effort to take an extended trip and attend both conferences.

Next Show: July 22-27, 2017 in Las Vegas

Interop ITX

Formerly simply known as Interop, Interop ITX sprung from humble beginnings as a TCP/IP workshop in Monterey, CA, but eventually grew and expanded its scope beyond simple networking. Now in its 31 year, Interop ITX focuses on the interoperability of systems found in the data center. Focusing primarily on infrastructure, Interop ITX is an eye-opening experience for those interested in networking, cloud computing, data analytics, security and DevOps.

Next Show: May 15-19, 2017 in Las Vegas


Hosted by VMware, VMworld offers sessions, hands-on workshops, certification testing, and opportunities to directly meet with vendors working in the virtualization/cloud computing market. Ranging from SMB to enterprise-sized solutions, VMworld targets both the hands-on IT professional and C-level decision-makers, particularly those interested in finding out what’s up-and-coming in today’s cloud-related arena.

Next Show: Aug. 27-31, 2017 in Las Vegas

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Linux is the unsung hero every data center uses in one form or another, and as usage grows and more vendors (even Microsoft) link their products to the open source OS, the relevance of knowing, understanding, and incorporating it into IT will continue to grow. LinuxCon isn’t a huge event, however it does bring together a tight community of vendors, customers and enthusiasts wanting to see the operating system grow. For the DevOps side of the IT house, 2016’s LinuxCon North America also included ContainerCon, a separate conference focusing on container technology and its spreading influence in business computing.

Next Show: Sept. 11-13, 2017 in Los Angeles

Microsoft Ignite

Ignite, a recently combined product of past Microsoft’s conferences (TechEd, MMS, SharePoint, Exchange, etc.) is the destination for IT training, certification and exposure to products and services related to Microsoft’s Windows-based ecosystem. A great conference for hands-on IT professionals, Ignite promotes education through it numerous labs, sessions, and events. Going on into its 24th year, Ignite is also one of the few annual IT conferences that jumps around from city to city.

Next Show: September 25-29, 2017 in Orlando, Florida

Oracle OpenWorld

Oracle’s small beginnings started with its first RDBMS, and since then the company has grown into a corporation with more than $112B in assets and $37B in annual revenue. The span of products in its inventory range from enterprise database, cloud computing hardware and software, and business products like ERP, CRM and SCM tools. Reflective of all of Oracle’s products, OpenWorld caters to customers and other technologists from all levels of the IT hierarchy with more than 2,000 technical workshops and sessions.

Next Show: Oct. 1-5, 2017 in San Francisco


It’s hard to classify Salesforce’s annual conference for hands-on IT professionals, especially since business-related software-as-a-service solutions tend to circumvent IT. However, as a destination for company IT decision makers, Dreamforce is a good opportunity to see solutions out on the market that could streamline business practices, including products that monitor IT processes, provide help desk services, or facilitate project management workflows.

Next Show: Nov. 6-9, 2017 in Las Vegas

AWS re:Invent

Amazon helped push cloud computing into the forefront, but many in IT have resisted trusting the cloud. Starting in 2012, AWS re:Invent was created to show the possible use cases for cloud computing. Designed for all levels of expertise, sessions at re:Invent cover topics as small as Alexa to large-scale cloud infrastructures. Aside from the main show, “mini cons” for big data, containers, IoT, security and server-less computing are also available to help highlight these topics.

Next Show: Nov. 27-Dec. 1, 2017 in Las Vegas

IBM Edge

Edge is one of several smaller, but significant, conferences held by IBM. Even though the company sold its core server business to Lenovo, IBM still has plenty of infrastructure-related products to sell. From its power-based systems, to mainframes, to storage, and cloud, there are plenty of products and services to check out at the show’s breakout sessions, vendor expo and customer-based keynotes and case studies.

Next Show: Date and place is TBD

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