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Tech Forum adds 1:1 access to HP experts

If the keynote speaker events haven't changed much since the HP Technology Forum started, the June conference is adding a new connection to Hewlett-Packard. The meeting is now letting attendees schedule one-to-one time with HP experts.

Once you register for the show, you're able to request a meeting time with an HP "subject expert."

Discuss your unique IT environment and objectives with HP developers, engineers, product managers, and strategists during one-to-one meetings that you may schedule in advance. Schedule early to reserve time with specialists in your areas of interest. Once registered, you can access the list of HP participants and immediately request a one-to-one meeting.

The Forum has not expanded much on the concept of an HP executive giving a rally speech in a big tent event. But giving its customers a way to access conference-grade expertise is a significant lift. The conference organizers are showing off a big list of prospective expertise, although what's on tap remains to be seen. Registrants are the only ones allowed to look over the list for 2010.

The details of the big-tent events at the Forum have been easy to judge, for anybody who's still on the bubble about attending. We know that Roger Daltrey of the Who, plus comics Jim Gaffigan and Jake Johannsen, will be available. Then there are those keynoters.

As for the "might be available" list of technologies, with experts to cover then, the Tech Forum offers this list today of areas that have been available in the past. You didn't have the 1-to-1 scheduling feature, however, until this year.

• Business intelligence / data warehousing / data integration
• Client systems / OS / HW / FW / SSD
• Client virtualization / Thin Clients / Blade PC / Blade Workstation
• Clustered Gateway
• Enterprise storage products—XP, EVA, NAS, VTL
• Enterprise Virtual Array family
• ExDS
• Green IT
• Hard drives / memory / solid state / power & cooling infrastructure
• HP ProLiant ML/DL
• HPC and scale-out computer
• LAN / wireless LAN / LAN security
• Migration
• MP servers
• MS SQL Server
• Networking
• NonStop
• OpenVMS
• Polyserve
• Power management / data center power and cooling
• Rack power
• Scalable NAS
• Storage and data management
• Virtualization

If a useful meeting consists of 20 minutes, HP could schedule perhaps 20 of these a day. If the Tech Forum covers about three days of time, the best an attendee could hope for might be 60 slots worth of 1:1 -- unless the topic merits more than one expert.

This is technical pre-sales talk time, of course. But making that available from HP to the customer is a rare thing for the company buying less than $1 million. One HP reseller partner said that a customer company needs to be making at least $4 billion in revenues to earn a call from an HP direct sales enterprise rep. "Everything else goes through the channel," he said.

The $1,495 fee to attend and schedule a 1-to-1 seems like a lot easier accomplishment to get direct access to HP by comparison.