Tuesday, February 28, 2012

An Irreverent Look at RSA San Francisco 2012 – Suggested Smackdowns

Today is Day three of the Exhibition Hall at RSA San Francisco 2012 - The ceremonial exchanging of chotchkes among vendors will begin shortly after one o'clock and will continue until the show ends at three. The sprint through by some attendees eagerly hoping to build their t-shirt collection without attending a presentation may be out in full force.


Some Day two observations - Day one below. Qualys attracted huge numbers to their booth with their breakfast wraps. Impressed that people will stand in line for some of the hardcover book giveaways/autographed if you would wait (titles to be added later). Not as impressed with how long people will stand in line for a slider. No line at the same booth for a blue martini! Exhibition hall presentations in the booths were "okay" with respect to attendance. The theatre presentations inside the Exhibition Hall, mixed. Sympathies to the booths who had to view the sumo wrestler guy in one booth all day long. Long line to get into a casino party in the evening. Perhaps because after more than 20 minutes of the "start" time, they still weren't letting people in.


Nice study by NSS on next generation firewalls. Capture rates of bad stuff versus price/performance. SonicWall did extremely well. Palo Alto Networks, pretty well. Juniper Systems did not do well at all. Very high price per protected Mbps and a low block rate. Barracuda probably isn't pleased either. They barely finished above average values in the study. Fortinet - great block rate, but expensive (not as high as Juniper, though). This wasn't a single vendor sponsored study. Go to SonicWall's site to obtain the report and and check out the visual.


Day one of the Exhibition Hall at RSA San Francisco 2012 was relatively low key. The presentations were pretty well attended. The walkways weren’t packed. The show people FINALLY put booth numbers on the floor in front of the booths and on ceiling banners, mentioning some of the companies in that row. Bravo!


Many of the presentations were on mobility and security. See a Channelnomics posting, “RSA Conference Buzz is All about Mobility” for a discussion on this. http://channelnomics.com/2012/02/28/rsa-conference-buzz-mobility/


Walking Down the Aisles and Tchotchkes!


A few magicians. A booth with trade show “hostesses” in blue Kate Perry wigs. A handful of racecars. Now a smackdown of these on Howard Street in front of Moscone South where RSA 2012 would have been interesting. Barracuda had one in their booth instead of their tour bus. Interestingly enough, Go Daddy didn’t have a car in their booth. They had an almost life size figure of Danika Patrick and were showing product adverts and Go Daddy commercials in their booth. Sound bites from presentation attendees being filmed in the ESET booth.


Magicians. An eight-foot transformer in the FireEye booth. FireEye also had a packed event in the evening. Several golf games. Opportunities to win iPads. Opportunities to win Kindles. A drawing for a large screen LCD TV. A booth where you could punch some guy.


Complimentary drinks from five to six on Tuesday during the Expo Hall Pub Crawl... Most of these offerings seemed to be in the three digit aisles. Ditto with some free food. Popcorn compliments of Trend Micro. A handful of booths offering coffee drinks. About twenty-eight rows in the event.


Way too many pens. Lots of candy. A return of round stress balls. Lots of LBT’s, Little Black T-shirts (actually they tended to be on the large size). Pink ones seemed to be given out in one both. Did I say pens? Did I say candy? Money clip. Branding bags. Several booths handing out the abbreviated “Something” for Dummies books. These are actually informative. Thanks, Quest, among other companies.


The big keynote will be on Friday by former Britain Prime Minister Tony Blair. Perhaps attendees who purchased his biography will get a partial rebate. Informative, but not too exciting. Tuesday keynotes – Qualys’ CEO Philippe Courtot, McAfee Chief Technology Officer Stuart McClure and New York Times columnist David Brooks.


Some Suggested Smackdowns for the Next RSA San Francisco


These could add some excitement for next year. Instead of “he said, she said” spread across multiple aisles, put some competitors in the front of a room, and have add it. Audience applause for the winner. Losers split the cost of beverages for attendees.


Secure Web Gateway Smackdown - The formerly public traded company McAfee, the formerly publicly traded company Blue Coat Systems, Websense, and Zscaler.


Next Generation Firewall (NGFW) Smackdown - Palo Alto Networks, SonicWall, Check Point. BTW. NSS has put out an interesting study showing that the SonicWall’s largest NGFW firewalls have the best price/performance and capture rates of bad stuff.


Endpoint Security Smackdown (only companies with a booth eligible) - Symantec, McAfee, Sophos, Kaspersky, Ahn, G Data, Trend Micro.


A Suggested Required Drinking Game for Presenters


Every time the audience catches the presenter saying “next generation”, the presenter should have to down a shot of something.

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