When SolarWinds hosted its first virtual event, THWACKcamp in 2012, about 250 very active THWACK® community members attended, along with technology managers from a few large customers. There were a handful of sessions, with topics concentrated largely around network monitoring best practices, with a nod to IT systems management. THWACKcamp returns this October 18-19, and will mark the sixth year in what has grown to become a live, multi-track event for thousands of skilled IT professionals. It now spans expert advice in everything from networking, to automation, to hybrid IT, to cloud-native APM, DevOps, security, and even MSP operations. And, again this year, IT professionals will be at THWACKcamp’s core, collaborating (and occasionally commiserating), but learning and sharing ideas that make IT more reliable, innovative, and perhaps even fun.

 

Moon Landing

 

Being voluntold that you’re supporting a physical tradeshow booth can be nerve-wracking. First, the whole endeavor is, at its heart, a marketing thing. You must specify and configure demo gear that must somehow be squeezed into impossibly designed sets without overheating. You also become a Cord Master, asked to improvise never-before-seen cabling and connectivity, like HDMI to ½” pipe-thread. On top of this, add Layer 8 configurations, live code that attendees can actually see and touch that’s also interesting. Finally, throw the whole mess into crates months before the event, aware that forgetting even something small might mean five days of blank screens. Event tech is not IT’s comfort zone. I know I certainly prefer to have the safety of a hardware lab and dev team nearby.

 

While THWACKcamp has the advantage of being a virtual event, (more than a few admins have said that attending in shorts and a T-shirt working from home is the way to go), it is nonetheless a live event. And this year, as more technologies and topics are included than ever before, the Q&A and open chat conversations will be wider-ranging and more technical than ever. It’s not limited to what we can fit into a few crates. It’s an opportunity to interact with IT of all types, including very small businesses that rely on Managed Service Providers, midsized businesses managing the complexity of hybrid IT on a budget, to the largest enterprises with hundreds of IT professionals. It’s an open congress of some of the sharpest admins in IT, just as eager to attend and engage as the presenters are to share and learn something new.

 

Over-provisioned Geek Prize Closet

 

IT professionals attend technical conferences to learn, talk, and network, but they also certainly enjoy swag. Awesome geek giveaways return in 2017, along with THWACK community status points and bragging rights for those attending live. And for 2017, THWACKcamp attendees may earn up to 20,000 THWACK points for participating in activities, mini-missions, and, of course, attending sessions.

So, whether you’ve never missed a session of THWACKcamp, or you’ve never even been to a technical learning event, be sure to check out the registration page when it goes live in August. Maybe even set a reminder to register, because you can’t attend, chat with others, win prizes, or earn THWACK points if you don’t register. We look forward to seeing you live at THWACKcamp 2017, October 18 and 19!