Partner Exchange Day 1 – Sunday (PTAB Day 1)

VMware’s Partner Technical Advisory Board (PTAB) is an invite-only group of the top VMware partners (<2% of North American partners represented, but almost 50% of North America VMware partner revenue) that convene around VMWorld and PartnerExchange to discuss current and future VMware products.  It’s been a true honor to be able to sit on this board since PartnerExchange 2009.  Obviously everything is under a tight NDA (above and beyond the normal Partner NDA), so I can’t reveal a lot of the details of our discussions.

This first day of PTAB we spent talking primarily about datacenter products and more specifically about the Cloud.  We had, as always, a very lively conversation over all the topics presented to us.  A lot of information about future products or technologies was presented.  Part of each presentation involved the presenter (always from VMware) looking for our guidance and opinions for things that are on their roadmap.

We discussed futures for vStorage a couple of times, including a look into Storage DRS and potential off-loading of functions to the array.  There was lots of interesting things we discussed, and it was very clear that VMware is very focused on better integrating with the storage part of the hardware layer (and not just with EMC).

Most of the rest of the day was spent in some way discussing Clouds.  As we discussed the overview of how VMware plans to enable customers to migrate to a Cloud infrastructure, it became very clear that Cloud was driving many of the new features they are considering for future releases.  This is evident by VMware’s most recent acquisitions (SpringSource, Zimbra), enabling them to offer Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) as well as Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Software as a Service (SaaS).  One of the most important takeaways I have from our Cloud discussions was that Cloud is not a product or technology, it’s an architectural approach, and VMware’s vision is to provide us the products and technologies to enable this approach.  It was great to finally see some of the Cloud vision start to take shape into actual products.

PTAB adjourned in time for us to attend the Super Bowl party being thrown by Cisco and EMC.  It was a great time where I was able to participate in several great discussions.   A big thanks to both companies for a great time.