Inside ASE 1998 San Diego
Day Four: Wednesday August 19th
After a relaxing night, the final full day of the ASE conference started. We had no idea what was in store for the day. We had another great breakfast then attended a breakout conference on Hot Plug PCI technologies and Windows NT. The session included a demo of dynamic changes of settings in NT 5 that didn't require a reboot. That drew a standing ovation from the crowd. Even though it was an early beta of NT 5, we could clearly see how much better it is going to be than NT 4.
We then took another trip to the Living Lab. There we got lots of great demos on clustering technology on different operating systems. The first was a multi-node shared SCO UNIX solution that was created by the Tandem team. It could support up to 64 machines in a clustered environment. Next we saw a solution for Novell based on a products from Vinca. That technology really wasn't that impressive. There was a booth with products from a company in Virginia that has a product that can mirror data across WANs. It is a lot like Octopus in operations, but it is cluster-aware, meaning it knows how to handle the varied names a cluster may offer. The last solution we saw was the Himalaya Non-Stop SQL demo. It was very technical and very cool. There are some Himalaya systems that have been running for over 10 years with zero downtime. The layers built into the system are mind-boggling. Our heads started to hurt trying to comprehend the systems.
Next on the agenda was lunch. It was a great buffet. Compaq definitely will never be accused of starving its engineers. We tried to get into some breakout session for the early afternoon, but they were all full. We were however able to get signed up for a 4 o'clock session. To kill the couple of hours until the session started, we decided to rent Jet Skis. That was a blast. There was hardly any traffic on the water, and the ocean was very calm. We were able to haul across the open seas. We zipped up and down about 5 miles of beautiful beachfront. We went from the Coronado bridge down to a docked aircraft carrier down the harbor from our hotel.
After getting back in and taking showers, we headed down for the class. We were sworn to super secrecy for this session, so all I can tell you is that we saw some seriously cool clusters. They could support multiple machine failures and barely skip a beat. Everyone in the crowd was amazed. Henry stood and bowed to the spectacle before him. If this stuff ever makes it to market, Compaq has a sure winner on their hands.
After class it was time to get ready for the final night of festivites. We all boarded buses and they drove us out to Miramar Marine Base. It used to be the site of the Navy's Top Gun Academy. We had no idea what was going to be in store. We drove towards the flight line and it started to become clear what the plan was. We turned a corner, and the setup layed before us. While F-14s were taking off on the runway, a set of Marine aircraft was setup in front of a hangar. There were four F-14s, a couple of Huey heliocopters, and a pair of large transport helicopters. All of the craft were opened up for us to see. There also were many different kinds of armaments setup to see. There were bombs, missles, and guns set up to check. But that was only the beginning. Just outside the hanger, there were food and drink booths setup. For food there was corn on the cob, baked potatoes, chicken, ribs and steaks. Inside the hanger there was more food and much, much more. At one end of the hanger was a band that was incredible. At the other end was a huge entertainment area. There were video games, ping pong tables, pool tables, foosball, pinball machines, and assorted carnival games. It was wild. Everyone had an incredible time. There was dancing and merriment until late into the night. It was a great end to a very enjoyable week.