Partner Exchange Day 3 – Tuesday (The Conference Officially Begins)

Today is the day that the conference officially began (yes, on my third day of being at the conference).  I started with the keynote by Carl Eschenbach.  Here are a few of the noteworthy topics that were covered:

  • VMware chose to have their global sales kickoff at Partner Exchange, because they consider the partner community to be a part of their sales force, not an extension of it.  This is a trend I’ve noticed as a partner, than VMware field sales will rely heavily on the partner sales teams.
  • Microsoft had a 22% decline in attendance for their 2010 partner conference, while VMware had a 70% increase in attendance.  He then provided a direct jab at Microsoft: “You can’t make money on a free product”
  • There are 28,000 attendees registered from 45 countries
  • VMware has made large internal investments during 2009 to prepare to take advantage of the eventual upturn of the economy.  New investments included vSphere, the vCenter suite of products and View (and we haven’t seen all the investments come to market yet).  Many product awards were the result of these investments.
  • VMware had revenue of $2.0B, up 8% from 2008
  • Greater than 85% of their revenue is through the partner channel
  • Virtualization and cloud computing are #1 & 2 (up from #2 & 14 in 2009) for CIOs (unfortunately I didn’t catch the source)
  • As I mentioned in Sunday’s post, and was reiterated today, Cloud is not a destination, but an architecture that includes efficiency through automation, agility with management and freedom of choice
  • Microsoft disrupted the Mainframe with PC/Client-Server computing.  According to Rich Jackson, VMware Chief Marketing Officer, it is “time to disrupt the mainframe of this decade”
  • “Don’t be afraid of the cloud” –Carl Eschenbach, EVP Field Operations
  • 85% of companies have or will deploy desktop virtualization in 2010
  • More Microsoft applications virtualized at VMware than any other

All told, it was a very aggressive, “go and get ‘em” message.

The first session I attended was presented by John Dodge about View Design Methodology.  There was a lot of great information about both the current product and the next release that will definitely find its way into my best practices.

My second session was almost a repeat of the first, and was a bust for me.  It was unfortunate, because the title of the session held a lot of great possibility.

The third session was all about selling virtualization to the CFO, since this is the person who has to be convinced to write the check.  It was a great session that covered a topic I’m not entirely comfortable with, so it really helped to expand my horizon.  The essence of his message was that CFOs today don’t care about soft cost advantages, only the hard costs.  I don’t know if I entirely believe that (at least in the Midwest), but I think it is a great way to approach the discussion.

My last session for the day was about the customer journey to the cloud.  VMware has been interviewing a lot of their successful customers to find out what has worked well for them in implementing and expanding virtualization in their environments.  Many great lessons learned that will be finding their way into VMware Services documents.

After all the sessions were over, we had an informal vExpert meeting where we had the opportunity to speak with the person who runs the channel partner program at VMware.  We discussed the event, which her team puts on, and how they could better utilize social media and blogging.

Day number 3 was a very successful day at Partner Exchange.  Most of my sessions were worth attending, which always makes me happy.