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Author's profile photo Michael Hill

Behind the scenes of TechEd Demo Jam

Tom Jung and I were prepped and ready to go for our 6 minute live demo for Demo Jam at TechEd 2007 Bangalore.  We are demoing Composition on Rails: Scripting and Rails on SAP NetWeaver.  This demo is presented in front of thousands of attendees on the keynote stage.  We had a flawless dry run on Tuesday afternoon and we managed to trim down our demo from over 8 minutes to just 5 minutes and 45 seconds after going through it about six dozen times on Monday and Tuesday.  We were ready!

Demo Jam Stage

Well, that was until the unexpected happened.  On Thursday, we had to bring our laptops to the stage at 4pm for setup.  I was presenting CE155, a 2 hour hands on session until 3:45pm and Tom Jung was presenting CD251 until 5pm when Peter McNulty would relieve him for the last hour so Tom could meet me on stage for the setup.

 Ok, no sweat.  I finished up CE155 and rushed over to the stage for setup right at 3:45pm.  I rebooted my laptop, like I always do before an important presentation, and started my J2EE engine.  It was all good until…  that nasty RED server icon showed up in my SAP Management Console.  I never hated that red color so much in my life.  After a moment of disbelief thinking this must be a bad dream from my jet lag, I looked further and discovered that my 30-day temporary license had expired!  Yikes!!!! What are we going to do!

 In a panic, I SMS Tom: “Tom, fire drill!!!! We need to use your laptop.  My J2EE engine will not start. Michael” … 10 seconds, 12 seconds, 15 seconds, no response.  Ok, SMS Peter: “Peter, my laptop J2EE engine will not start.  We will need to use Tom’s.  Please let him know. Thanks, Michael”

 Peter shows Tom my SMS message and Tom thinks Peter is playing a bad joke on him.  “No Tom, this is for real”.  Tom’s blood pressure spikes!  Peter tries to call me and our cell phones won’t connect, we can only SMS each other.  Peter SMS’s me: “Can u come to T2?”  I rush to T2 go into the session room, Tom is presenting and there’s no Peter.  The registration monitor tells me he just left.  So I rush back to the stage where Peter is by my laptop.  I explain the dilemma.  Peter so calmly tells me: “well, let’s go the portal and order a license key.  It will take some time, but we have time”

 No sweat, let me login to the corporate portal.  Where is my secureID card?  Peter, I think it must have fell out of my pocket when I went to the restroom near the speaker ready room.  My card is nowhere to be found.  The event staff tell me no problem, we have a SAP direct network connection right here with this cable.  Just turn off the wireless and plug it in.  I do, but I am not getting a 10.x.x.x network…After 3 IT people hover and check cables we figure out that I have a static IP address from an event I was supporting the week before.  10 minutes later, I have a network connection and we are on the portal.  Peter helps me navigate the portal in rapid fire to request the license key.  Ok, request submitted.  You will get an email when the key is ready.  So, I am waiting for the key and find my secure id card in a different pocket on my laptop bag.

Ok, Peter rushes back to T2 to relieve Tom.  Tom comes over with his laptop and turns it on and we setup the demo.  Ok, no sweat.  We go through a dry run and when we run it on Tom’s system, there is no data!  What, it can’t be!  You see Tom’s system connects to a different backend than mine, just in case HU2 is down.  So Tom tries to login to the server and gets the message: “Server down for performance testing for one day only.”

Meanwhile, Jeff Word is gathering people on stage for the Demo Jam photo and instructions of how to enter the stage.  He calls us all over.  No way am I leaving my laptop at this point!  I get the license key in my email and quickly install it.  I ask Tom, “Do I need to reboot for it to be effective?”  He replies, “I don’t know.”  We decide to restart the engine.  As it restarts, we then rush over for the group photos.  We have to leave the stage.  I haven’t tested the demo yet!

We go off stage and sit in the front row.  The SDN awards are starting and I ask Tom, “what did Jeff say?  When are we supposed to go on stage?”  Tom, then explains that we go on stage when Tarun Telang is demoing his winner from last year.  You see, we are first up.

Tarun starts his demo and Tom and I go up on stage and try out the demo.  Wow, it worked!!!  My new license is up and the demo is working.  We gave our demo, and because we were so focused on whether or not the demo was going to work, we forgot that there were thousands in the audience watching us.  We weren’t nervous about being on stage at all.

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      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      and you guys were so cool at the presentation. Great  stuff!!
      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      Hi Michael / Tom,

      I was present in T2 attending the hands-on.  I saw you entering the room.  I don't think you guys showed any panic when everything went wrong.  You kept your cool.

      Needless to say, your presentation was just too good.  For all the action that happened, I think you two are the clear winners of the demo jam.


      Author's profile photo Siddhesh Ghag
      Siddhesh Ghag
      normal day at IT operations.. 🙂
      Author's profile photo Suresh Datti
      Suresh Datti
      You indeed have some great narrative skills! enjoyed reading it..


      Author's profile photo Michael Hill
      Michael Hill
      Blog Post Author
      Thank you.  I am glad you enjoyed it.  I'm glad I was able to make something positive out of the experience 🙂
      Author's profile photo Rich Heilman
      Rich Heilman
      So you didn't even know if your j2ee engine was actually running till right before the demo?  Awesome!!!!!  Enjoyed reading this blog, I was "on the edge of my seat".  😉

      Rich Heilman