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HPE Discover Las Vegas Attendees Win Big at the Hack Shack



Folks come to Las Vegas to win, and at HPE Discover ’19, it was no different. The HPE Discover Las Vegas Hack Shack welcomed about 1,125 guests, many of them developers, who came to try their hand at winning some cool prizes such as drones, Raspberry Pi kits, tee shirts, and hats. The Hack Shack proved to be a popular destination, with attendance surpassing even that of an interesting Disney booth situated at the entrance to the event. Here’s how some Hack Shack guests came away as big winners.


One opportunity attendees had to win prizes came from participating in Hack Shack technical coding challenges. These challenges ranged from writing simple scripts that displayed the words “Hello World,” to more complicated hacks that required the coder to enable a camera deployed at the network edge to failover in the event of an outage. This latter challenge proved very popular, as it featured products that attendees were keen to learn more about, such as Kubernetes, HPE Edgeline servers, and a fun and innovative facial recognition software app.


It didn’t matter which challenge guests attempted. The winners were chosen based on four criteria:

  1. Usefulness

  2. Uniqueness

  3. Creativity

  4. Completeness

First prize winner, Matt Burke, took the HPE SimpliVity API challenge, which required the coder to build a simple report that showed the status of on-going backups within a user-defined time period. Matt created a web application using NodeJs as a backend and designed a front end using HTML, CSS, and Javascript. What made his solution stand out was the attention he paid to making it visually attractive and user friendly.

Chris Price, who came in second place, completed an HPE OneView challenge using Python to programmatically find how many BL460 Gen10 servers had greater than 128 GB of memory. He included user interaction in his script, enabling the user to select various options, such as blades and memory size.

Perhaps one of the most impressive hacks was from third place winner, John Frakes, who completed an HPE OneView challenge using Python. When John arrived, he was unfamiliar with Python. But because he wanted to participate, he took it upon himself to learn some Python basics and not only completed the challenge but also included additional functionality. As part of the solution, John parameterized the queries so that users could change what types of servers were chosen, without having to change the code. He also took the time to ensure that the output was formatted nicely on the screen, instead of simple, plain text. In appreciation of the assistance he received from the HPE DEV team, who helped him find ways to familiarize himself with Python, John agreed to spend some time developing Python language bindings for the HPE OneView Global Dashboard and contribute them to the community.


Another way attendees could win prizes at the Hack Shack was to play the 8-bit arcade game, Hack Shack Attack! This cool, retro-style game focused on taming the IT Monster drew almost 1,400 game plays. The first day winner was Wayne Holland, although Wayne was quickly ousted from that spot the next morning by another attendee, Jared, on his first play through. Determined to regain the top spot on the leaderboard, Wayne played diligently until he became the ultimate winner, receiving his prize at the Wednesday night award ceremony, where beer, sunglasses, and popcorn were enjoyed by all.


While there was a lot of friendly competition going on at the Hack Shack, it wasn’t all fun and games. During the event, HPE DEV team members were on hand in the Hack Shack to help educate attendees and supply customers with information they needed to make purchasing decisions. Some of the most popular technical workshops featured HPE OneView and HPE SimpliVity, giving attendees a deeper insight on how to code and integrate these products into their businesses. Customers were delighted to have the opportunity to chat one-on-one with product architects. And while everyone was excited to take home a prize or at least a little swag, probably the most important takeaway guests appreciated was learning how they could extend HPE product capabilities through APIs. Learning that they could do more with their existing investments made all the participants feel as if they were winners.

For those of you who missed any of the sessions or just want to go back and review something, we’ve made all the workshop session presentations and challenges available on our HPE DEV Hack Shack HPE Discover Las Vegas 2019 site. Check it out. You can even still play Hack Shack Attack!, which is available on GitHub.