If there was ever a conference that appears unnecessary, it is the Linux on Wall Street (former HPC on Wall Street) conference. After all, Linux got it's mojo from the Wall Street crowd. There are visible community projects such as AMQP (open source messaging), OpenFabrics (transport) and Real-Time Linux launched and maintained by consortia of vendors and Wall Street customers.
However, this small show seems to pull it off each year. It has a nice mix of high-profile attendees plus a cross section of middle managers and vendors to keep it interesting. It is a good conference when you get to spend a little time with Bubba, Birnbaum & Bechtolsheim. Like a good house party, the conference shoehorns people into backward spaces that forces them to interact and creates a chemistry of its own.
It is a bit of old home week to see where the musical chairs of jobs and careers has landed people. You find out about competitor's strategy, new acquisitions and which vendor thinks they are making it out of the Wall Street POCs and into the data center. A couple of items I picked up of note include the optimism of the 10GbE vendors and yet-another optical switch company.
Unfortunately, the sessions themselves (and this includes mine) tend toward the vendor pitch. They are clearly sponsored and too short to have the very well informed audience play stump the panel. If I ever get to chair a panel, I am not having anything but audience questions.