Few industry professionals can debate that the7x24 Exchangeexcels at providing networking opportunities. Its format includes meal breaks, snack breaks, and somewhat shorter days than other conferences. Hospitality is the rule in the evening. And as a colleague of mine noted, the food reminds him of a party and just seems to put everyone in a good mood. In addition, organizers kick off the event with an inspirational keynote. Former Apollo 13 commander Captain Jim Lovell received a standing ovation for his remarks this week. And the locations encourage golf outings and other good times.

Still, food and entertainment are not why professionals come to events. Although the lobster was terrific here, it is widely available nationwide. Networking, too, is not an end in and of itself. Companies and individuals will want to realize a return on investment for supporting 7x24 events.

Quality presentations are the meat of conference events, no matter the organizers. Hence the mission critical industry supports a number of conferences in addition to 7x24, including Uptime, Datacenter Dynamics Converged, Data Center World, and Gartner.

So the 7x24 Exchange ought to be pleased with itself for delivering on its conference theme, Thought Leadership, this time around. Two presentations that wrapped up Tuesday epitomized leadership.

At 2:30, Dennis DeCoster of Mission Critical West delivered a rejoinder to thoughts on data center operations delivered at several previous sessions by Steve Fairfax of MTechnology. Steve has made several provocative statements about how reducing maintenance can lead to improve reliability and discussed a mathematical method for determining how to do so.

At 4:00, Paul Marcoux, senior vice president of Branch Bank and Trust, and Jerry Sumrell, an associate partner at Syska Hennessy Group spoke about alternative UPS battery technologies.

At first, these sessions might sound like typical conference presentations, but both these sessions describe original research done pro bono by the presenters. And that’s what makes them leadership examples. DeCoster led a team that assembled and mined a database of incidents looking to confirm or refute causes of downtime identified in early sessions by Fairfax.  DeCoster disagreed strongly with many of Fairfax’s conclusions and wanted to do something about correcting the record. His voyage, conducted with Steve’s cooperation led to findings that often corroborated the original results. DeCoster made his white paper available to 7x24 Exchange end users. He will also be offering it for sale. It will make good reading.

Similary Marcoux and Sumrell sought to clear up confusion about new UPS battery technologies. Their work took many hours, beginning with assembling a table comparing battery performance, but also including research that examined how the technologies would work in limited test conditions. Manufacturers of these battery types should be pleased by the results. A final white paper has been promised for the fall.

Presentations like this would stand out at any conference. 7x24 Exchange should be proud to have hosted them and proud that these professionals chose their venue to make their presentations.

I’ll have more as time goes on about 7x24 Exchange, when these white papers are published, but now I have to leave for a private party with Harry Potter, thanks to 7x24 Exchange and the event sponsors.