What's in Store for 2021's Major Tech Conferences

What's in Store for 2021's Major Tech Conferences

In 2020, many technology providers — including Red Hat, VMware, Dell and IBM — moved their events to virtual formats, while some others like Google canceled theirs outright. For the 2021 conference season, we can expect more of the same: Lots of digital gatherings, as organizations and communities continue to work around the COVID-19 pandemic. A few in-person events are also planned as we continue through the year. Let’s look at what’s on the horizon for the big 2021 technology conferences.

Red Hat Summit 

When: Apr. 27-28, 2021

Where: Hybrid — mostly virtual, with some in-person events for September-December TBA.

After hosting its first-ever all-virtual conference in 2020, Red Hat is planning a multipart “Virtual Experience” in 2021. The first portion will be Apr. 27-28, 2021, and will include keynotes, live demos and access to Red Hatters. The second part, running June 15-16, promises more technical content via breakout sessions, Q&As and a virtual expo hall. Finally, a limited number of in-person gatherings, in select cities, may be held from September to December, with 1:1 meetings, trainings and labs, pending public health developments. Further details were still TBA as of Jan. 11, 2021.

IBM Think 

When: May 11-12, 2021

Where: Entirely virtual

IBM is planning a fully virtual Think 2021, to be held May 11-12, 2021. Hybrid cloud and artificial intelligence will be the major focus areas. IBM is promoting a personalized, AI-crafted curriculum for attendees, along with forums and collaboration with experts via the IBM Garage. The IBM Think Academy will also be available to help attendees with their ongoing credentialing and education.

RSA Conference 

When: May 17-20, 2021

Where: Entirely virtual

RSA Security had originally planned to hold its annual conference in-person in February 2021. It then moved the date back to May 2021 in hopes of still hosting a physical event, but in November 2020 it decided to go all-virtual for RSA Conference (RSAC) 2021. This virtual event is designed to build on the success of RSAC APJ 2020, which was also all-digital and which RSA found to be more accessible to its global community. RSA is planning to offer educational content across 20 tracks hosted over 300 sessions, including keynotes, seminars and sponsor briefings.

Black Hat Spring Trainings 

When: March 15-18, 2021

Where: Entirely virtual

This set of cybersecurity trainings will cover topics related to cloud infrastructure hacking, code injection, red teaming, incident response and much more. These courses can help attendees earn continuing professional education credits via (ISC)2 and COMPTIA.

Black Hat USA 

When: July 31-Aug. 5, 2021

Where: In-person, at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center, Las Vegas

As of Jan. 11, 2021, Black Hat USA 2021 was still planning an in-person event for midsummer in Las Vegas.

Gartner IT Symposium/Xpo

When: Oct. 18-21, 2021

Where: In-person in Orlando, FL, specific site still TBA

Gartner’s IT Symposium/Xpo gathering is a staple in the schedules of many CIOs and IT executives. After hosting an entirely virtual event in 2020, Gartner is planning to resume an in-person meetup in Florida in fall 2021. More details about the location and content of the summit will be released as the event approaches. For now, the focus areas are listed as “business,” “technology” and “inspiration.”

Dell Technologies World 2021

When: TBA

Where: TBA

Dell held an all-virtual conference in 2020, featuring hundreds of demos, breakouts and labs that were subsequently made available on-demand. As of January 2021, the format and dates for Dell Technologies World 2021 were still TBA.


When: TBA

Where: TBA

VMworld 2020 was a completely online event that produced plenty of on-demand content. It remains to be seen if VMworld 2021 will follow the same format.

AWS re:Invent

When: Jan. 12-14, 2021

Where: Entirely virtual

The first portion of AWs re:Invent was held virtually in December 2020. The second half follows the same setup, with hundreds of sessions that can be registered for online and then viewed on-demand.

Cisco Live Americas

When: Mar. 30-31, 2021

Where: Entirely virtual

Cisco has scheduled Cisco Live 2021 as a virtual two-day event featuring keynote speakers, labs, education and even live music. Cisco Live Americas starts one day before Cisco Live for other regions.

Microsoft Ignite

When: Mar. 2-4, 2021

Where: Entirely virtual

Microsoft’s annual developer conference, held every year since 1993, will once again be all-virtual in 2021. This event is actually the second half of Ignite 2020, which featured the announcement of new features in Microsoft Teams and Microsoft Search.


When: Jan. 11-14, 2021

Where: Entirely virtual

CES 2021 is the first all-digital version of the conference. Approximately 1,800 exhibitors are listed for the event, down from the more than 4,000 who participated in-person at CES 2020. An exclusive performance by pop singer Billie Eilish is also slated for CES 2021.


When: Apr. 22, 2021

Where: In-person, at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, CA

This conference, focused on innovations in the IoT, blockchain, robotics and hardware design, is planned as an in-person event featuring speakers from firms including IBM, Intel and AutoDesk.

As we get further into 2021, we can expect firmer plans for both Dell Technologies World and Vmworld and other conferences not listed here. Until then, stay in touch with InfoSystems for help with your IT projects across infrastructure, cybersecurity, optimization and more.

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