While attending CPX 2014, I had a mini-epiphany. This twitter thread got me thinking, “Why is CPX so much different than VMworld?” There’s an obvious size difference – 1600 attendees vs 28,000 – which leads to less sessions and smaller parties, but that’s a given. “Why is the InfoSec community different than the Virtualization community?” This is the real concern, the cultural differences between the two communities that have the most overlap with my job responsibilities and personal interests. One notable difference is that in InfoSec, there aren’t many well known practitioners of security, though there are heroes and rockstars. It also seems to be a less vocal community, and when it does speak, it’s in generalities and news, such as 5 Common Attack Vectors or Who Was Hacked This Weekend. In Virtualization, there’s a lot of public recognition for people, even the niche topics, and the community gets down and dirty and shares very practical information in addition to higher level concepts. So, why this startling difference?
Security Practitioners can be insular
Many of you reading this probably first visited this site for virtualization content – which makes sense, as my first posts were on PowerCLI and Auto Deploy. As such, you’re probably familiar with the drill for conferences: get caught up on your timeline by 7am, then prepare for it to be blown up all day long. Check out the feeds for Storage Field Day 5 (#SFD5), the OpenStack Summit (#openstacksummit), and of course, VMworld (#vmworld, #vmworld2013). Dozens, sometimes hundreds, tweet about each keynote, allowing those not attending the pleasure of knowing what’s going on in near-real time. You can sometimes even convince an attendee to ask your question of the presenter! This extends past the keynotes, which are sometimes streamed, to the individual sessions, which are frequently not streamed and sometimes never recorded or put online. Even if you attend, it’s still interesting to read because inevitably another attendee caught something you missed or saw it differently, giving you additional insight (who else learned from Twitter that Cisco wasn’t on the NSX announcement slide at VMworld 2013?). These interactions create a lot of content ancillary to, but just as important, as the conference agenda itself.