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Identity Vendor Soup – Gartner IAM Summit 2009 part 1

November 15, 2009 Leave a comment

Since there is so much to say about Gartner IAM Summit 2009, I wanted to break it up a bit. The first thing I wanted to do was get the vendor stuff out of the way. When I get to the topical stuff I’m sure some vendors will be involved, but there is much to say about what happened in exhibition hall.

Possibly the most talked about thing on the floor was the size comparison of the Oracle and Sun booths. Oracle had the biggest possible booth and, predictably, Sun had the very smallest. Sun was literally on the far wall alongside niche players and new entrants. Of course this just makes sense, but everyone was talking about it. I should have taken pictures. To add to this drama, the announcement about the EU’s objections to the merger was made while we were at the show and that just set people off talking about it all again after the booth comparison finally died down. The most sensible thoughts were all centered around the wisdom that it would be years before anything really happened to Sun’s IAM offerings. In fact, Gartner even said as much during the session about the magic quadrant. Yet many people were convinced, all wisdom aside, that this merger was going to be about Oracle raking Sun customers over the coals.

Aside from the Oracle and Sun drama, the show floor was not too exciting. Gartner always has a way of making sure their clients know the show is all about them – this time was no exception. All the booths were in the basement. That said, they only served lunch and drinks by the booths; so there was a captive audience at times. It seemed to me, watching the other attendees, that most folks didn’t really spend a lot of time talking to vendors. From my place in the center of the floor at the Quest booth, I could see pretty much everything. There was only 6 hours of booth time, and I’d say only half of that was really about vendor time (the other half was eating time). The people who came to our booth were either interested in something very specific, or on a mission to talk to everyone a bit and get the lay of the land.

The busiest booth seemed to be Aveksa’s. Sailpoint and Cyber-Ark got some good traffic, too. No surprises there. They are all in the sweet spots of their fields. The only booths I couldn’t see were Oracle and Novell. Of course, those were the biggest booths and they were right at the entrance of the floor. I’m assuming they got some good traffic just because of that.

It seemed to me the best user/vendor interactions were side meetings, which there were tons of, and the use cases that the vendors sponsored. That’s one of the very cool things about Gartner’s shows. The user is in the focus and everything is designed to make sure that it stays that way.

Next post in a few days (or sooner) and it will concentrate on what I took away from the sessions.

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