Going to data center events are difficult to figure out for a newbie. There is so much specialized knowledge and there are many sub groups that exist within the ecosystem. I met a company with lots of mechanical engineering expertise in cooling systems, but they are newbies to the data center industry. The following are events that I suggest they look at attending.
7x24 Exchange Conferences are a nice mix of data center mechanical types, interesting presentations, and plenty of time to socialize. http://www.7x24exchange.org/conferences.html
June 2-5, 2013
Boca Raton Resort & Club
Boca Raton, FL
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Data Center Dynamics are good for one day events that reach out to the locals from an area. Here are the USA events. http://www.datacenterdynamics.com/conference
Data Center World can be useful to understand the vendor ecosystem. http://www.datacenterworld.com/spring2013/
Uptime Institute Institute is another event, but if you go to 7x24 Exchange and DCD regional events, there is not really a pressing need to go to Uptime Symposium. I plan on skipping Uptime again. http://symposium.uptimeinstitute.com
Gartner Data Center Conference is oriented towards the users who subscribe to Gartner reports which in general is not a Mechanical systems crowd and is more oriented to the IT decision maker who runs data centers. http://www.gartner.com/technology/summits/apac/data-center/ I went to Gartner for a couple of years, but no longer go as few of my friends are subscribers of Gartner reports. Well, actually I can't think of any of the thought leaders I know who aren't vendors who go to Gartner.
Another conference which I have never attended is the Green Data Center Conference. http://www.greendatacenterconference.com I haven't heard from any friends with glowing reviews to get me to go, so I skip this one as well.
For thought leadership and more entrepreneurial companies i go to GigaOm Events. http://event.gigaom.com which are convenient given I do some work for GigaOm Pro. There are some data center vendors who are sponsors Dell, Terremark, Rackspace, Softlayer, Amazon Web Services, Dupont Fabros, Equinix