I just bought tickets to Dallas.

Ok, that in and of itself is not a big deal, so bear with me. Unfortunately, flying is part of the job and I log about 150,000 miles a year. That means I see lovely DFW about once a month.

But this is no average trip to DFW. I’m heading down for two of the best things I’ll do this year: 1) host our annual Infrastructure & Operations (I&O) Forum, which I’ll elaborate on below; and 2) get a tour of the new Dallas Cowboys Stadium. How cool is that?! I mean the NBA All Star game was just hosted there and it set a record attendance for a basketball game. Despite all the star athletes, it was the stadium that stole the show. And yours truly will be getting a tour, including the datacenter that powers the entire venue. I know it’s just blinking lights in racks, but it’s still some serious infrastructure firepower. How’s all this happening? Because the VP of Infrastructure, Bill Haggard, will be speaking at the I&O Forum and he has some eye-popping stats about the gear. I highly recommend you to attend his keynote if you want to get the stats and photos.

And that’s where the I&O Forum comes in. One of the best parts of my job is hosting our annual client event. I was the MC for last year’s inaugural event in San Diego and this year I’m hosting it in London for the first EMEA version (March 11 and 12) and then in Dallas (March 17 and 18). The event theme is “Back in black: Planning and executing your post-recession initiatives.” Our goal is to help you as a VP or Director of I&O to prioritize projects as budgets finally free up after 12 to 18 months of deepfreeze. The two day event breaks out as:

  • Day 1: Getting operations back in order. I’m sure you’re eager to tackle infrastructure initiatives like cloud computing, converged infrastructure, and more advanced virtualization projects. But before you jump into these multi-year engagements you first have to get the operations side of the house in order. That means implementing ITIL (for real, none of that partial stuff) and automation to streamline processes as well revamping organizational structures and staff resources to bolster the people side of the equation. Glenn O’Donnell and James Staten will be keynoting on this topic in London and Dallas, respectively.
  • Day 2: Tackling architectural disruptions. The second day will be more forward-looking and we do in fact get into all of those cool infrastructure trends, like cloud computing. In particular, Galen Schreck will keynote on “agile infrastructure,” which speaks to tying infrastructure to business capabilities. In my simple terms, it’s about paving the path to cloud and helping you prepare your own datacenters for internal cloud efforts — but without losing sight that all infrastructure deployments must be tied to business requirements. This can be particularly tricky since these projects won’t bear fruit for three years, but you’ll still need to kick them off in 2010.

All of this is tied together by presenters from the BAE Systems, Morgan Stanley, Northwestern Mutual, P&G, United Space Alliance, Visa, the itSMF, and the Dallas Cowboys, of course.

I hope to you see you there. But regardless of whether you attend or not you can follow all the action on Twitter (follow me here). I’ll be joined by about 25 other Forrester analysts who will be using the hash tag #FIOF10.

And don’t worry, I’ll try to send some cool twitpics from inside Cowboy Stadium if Bill let’s me.

By Rob Whiteley

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