VMware Partner Exchange 2013


VMware puts on three big events all year.  They are VMware Partner Exchange, VMworld US and VMworld Europe.

I had the distinct honor to attend my first, VMware PEX 2013.  Including the Pre-Conference Boot Camps, which I’ll get to later, the event spanned February 23rd-28th.

Coming to PEX was certainly exciting.  VMware and the Partners put on a great show, from the Boot Camps, to the Sessions, Keynotes, and of course the Sponsor floor.  The amount of information you can obtain seems endless.

VMware also gives you great details on the sessions and bootcamps so you can create your own learning plan well in advance of the event.  What I did find, however, is that certain bootcamps and sessions do fill up, so it’s in your best interest to sign up for the ones you want sooner than later.  VMware’s PEX website provides a session scheduler as well as an iPad/iPhone app to track your sessions, events, etc. so they do make it easy to navigate the event.

Logistically, it wasn’t as bad as I expected.  I’ve been to Vegas before but only for brief periods when I was in the Military, usually just passing through.  Having everything in the Hotel was great.  To be frank, i’m not fond of Vegas, hate to throw hard earned money away at a game, but I do like to eat, great food, good restaurants and Vegas has’em.

We arrived on Saturday night for a Sunday morning Advanced Tech Express session.  Here was the view from our Hotel room at Mandalay Bay:

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After taking in the view of the “dust bowl” I proceeded down to my Sunday session for vCenter Operations Manger: Advanced Tech Express.  On the way to the Conference center they had posters up..etc:

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“Take Charge” was the theme at this year’s PEX.  I liked..it it was sharp and to the point.

The Sunday session was great and really opened our eyes to what vCenter Operations Manger brings to the table.  In the market segment I cover as a VMware partner, we are finally seeing two big changes, though it would seem that our customer would’ve been already doing these things as it’s been discussed and pushed, we are finally seeing Customers Virtualizing Tier I applications as well as putting a strong focus on End User Computing.

Since virtualizing these areas is very risky, customers needed a Monitoring tool that would be a change from the norm.  Rather than presenting static information on static counters etc within vCenter, they needed a product that would learn their environment and analyze their environment then alert them on key areas, Health, Risk, and Capacity.  vCenter Operations Manager brings a very power ful analytical engine and very simple to understand “Badge” interface that shows information on those key areas.  This provides a proactive approach in managing your Virtual Infrastructure.  Not only do you get analytics but you also get to drill down into the relationships of your Virtual machines, vApps, View desktops…etc. Since IT managers are usually held to SLA’s, bringing in Tier 1 applications into your Virtual Infrastructure required a whole new way of handling Health, Risk, and Capacity.  I have been implementing vCenter Operations Manager for the past 6 months or so and now that the Foundation version is part of the vSphere software, there is really no excuse for not leveraging it to your advantage.  I have yet to see a customer complain once about it and I see mostly praise.  That’s not to say it’s not a complex product. It certainly can be when you start looking at the higher tiered packages through Enterprise. I give my customers a walk through then tell them to use it daily.  It’s there to provide them a better handle on managing their Virtual Environments to include VDI, and Cloud.

Here is a pic from our class.  The instructors were great!  Very knowledgeable, and answered all the questions and provided a discussion type setting.

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The following week I was booked with sessions and in-between I hit the Vendor floor and had several great conversations and a lot of information sharing.  Here you see my boss talking to a Cisco engineer about the  Office-in-a-Box solution, Cisco UCS-E.  Since we are a rather Large Cisco partner, we spent a fair bit of time around their newer products to include the virtual software networking components such as Virtual ASA, Gateway, etc.

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We also had some opportunity to attend some Partner Hosted parties.  Belonging to a Dell partner I was able to attend the Dell Partner Appreciation party at the MIX lounge. The view was incredible:

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Some of my favorite Keynotes of past have been done at PEX.  I  attended all of them and they were all pretty great.  The main focus was the Software Defined Data Center…yeah..I know…more lingo..but I truly believe that this is the next logical step and VMware does not miss it.  They understand that they need to also virtualize the network and storage to become completely mobile where workloads are not tied to Hosts, Clusters, DataCenters, or even Clouds..they need to be mobile and those workloads need to retain the same features in each of those areas, security, configuration..etc.  SDDC will be the icing on the cake so to speak for the virtual world.

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On the last day of the conference, Thursday, I took the VCP-DT exam and passed.  What a way to end the work week!

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Our flights did not leave until late Friday night so we had a great Dinner Thursday, best steak I ever had.  Smith & Wollensky filet.mmm.

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On Friday we rented a car and headed to Hoover Dam.  It was really amazing to see it in person:

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What a great way to close out the trip.  Can’t wait until next year in San Francisco!!

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