In the wake of the deadly attack that left 59 people dead in Las Vegas on Sunday night, tech storage giant NetApp executives decided to go ahead with their annual Insight conference. One day’s events were cancelled. But the truncated event included an emotional address from CEO George Kurian who added an emotional personal story to the theme of the event: Data can save lives.

Kurian closed his keynote by recounting the story of how networking together doctors led to surgery that saved his son, who was 8 at the time.

“The child was diagnosed with a tumor that lay between his right eye and his brain. Doctors were mystified to find an instance of this particular form of cancer in such a young child,” Kurian said, according to Garry Kranz of Search Storage.

Oncologists generated sophisticates images and analyzed the data with colleagues from Canada and the U.K. “Over the course of numerous conference calls, surgeons painstakingly identified the source of the tumor and devised a treatment strategy,” Kranz wrote.

“A surgical operating theater was set up, including a series of life-sized television screens for projecting the medical images during surgery.”

The end result?


“For 14 ½ hours, the little’s boy’s life was in the hands of the best surgeons in the world. And now, I get to go home and see the power of data every evening in a happy, healthy, fully healed 13-year-old boy who loves me. He tells me every day, ‘Dad, I’m so happy when you come home,” an emotional Kurian said.

As for why NetApp went ahead with the conference, Kurian said the decision was far from easy.

“There are no easy right or wrong ways. … There is so much good that can come from this event that we decided to go forward,” he said, according to CRN. “And God knows we can use all the good we can get. We are not going to let one senseless act impact us.”

The Mandalay Bay was the site for the conference, and many of the attendees stayed there.

That’s the hotel from which the sniper struck.

Kurian has a big connection with the Triangle. NetApp operates one of its primary corporate campuses in RTP.

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