This was the first Monitorama event, held in Boston, and was a great chance to meet the people behind a lot of the software/blogs I follow. The first day was a single-track set of talks regarding open source monitoring and the second day a hackathon to help improve the state of open source monitoring. I contributed a bit to correct a small pain point I had. I didn't enter it into the judging partially because I believed it to be a rather simple hack and partially because I didn't want to have to rush to get back to Amtrak for my train back to NY. I was pleasantly surprised to see food always available including plenty of healthy bits.
PhillyETE was definitely a big change from Monitorama, more people, more talks, not as great of food. Part of the benefit for me to go to PhillyETE is the trip to Philadelphia to see my family, especially as an Easter trip. The best part of the conference had to be seeing the push for Clojure as an enterprise language, (and slightly less interest to me, Scala). Given that they are JVM languages they fit in very well and can work side by side for evaluation. I tried Scala for a bit since I wanted to try out Akka but ran into JVM memory issues during the Play "Hello, World!" tutorial which really soured me towards Scala.
Basho's sponsorship of Monitorama also helped convince me (with a 25% discount) to attend Ricon East. That may be the end of my conference going this year, I haven't decided yet about Surge.