Partner Exchange 2013

I managed to weasel my way into another awesome VMware Partner Exchange conference.  This year, HP provided myself, along with another four social media darlings, an all expenses paid trip.  Thanks HP!

This year PEX seemed a bit more tame than previous years.  VMware has done a great job describing their three pronged vision (End User Computing, Software-Defined Data Center and Hybrid Cloud) publicly, so there wasn’t a lot to add directly to the partner community other than to reinforce the vision and discuss some strategies.  And serve Kool-Aid.  You know I love the Kool-Aid. Much of the Kool-Aid is “inside baseball” stuff, as John Mark Troyer likes to describe it, so I won’t bore you with all those details.

In my opinion, the most important announcement for the general public is a big change to the partner accreditation program.  While partner organizations have had the ability to differentiate themselves by attaining accreditations in specific disciplines like desktop virtualization, business continuity and business critical applications, until now there was no way for individuals in the organization to differentiate themselves.  There are two programs for sales and presales engineers respectively: VMware Sales Professional (VSP) and VMware Technical Solutions Professional (VTSP).  Both programs allow individuals within partner organizations earn the designation in specific disciplines (desktop virtualization, business continuity, business critical applications, etc).  This is not a certification exam, so the VTSP is not equivalent to the VCP or VCAP, but the new program VMware is rolling out will make the VTSP accreditation much more technical than it was previously.  This is an important program for the general public to understand because it can be used to identify individuals that have different competencies and/or focuses.

I didn’t make it to any session, except the HP Boot Camp.  Much to my disappointment, I didn’t make any labs either (guess I’ll have to push myself a bit harder to start participating in the Project Nee beta).  I ended up being pretty busy with various impromptu conversations, meetings and hanging out in the Solutions Exchange.  For those of you familiar with the VMworld Solutions Exchange, the PEX version would look like a mini version of the VMworld one: much smaller set of presenters, with smaller booths and far less swag/gimmicks.

A couple of the conversations revealed to me some futures that I think I can take advantage of.  Unfortunately can’t talk about any further than those. 🙂

I was also given a very healthy push by a few of the VCDXs to start the final steps of my own journey to the VCDX.  I have not officially made that decision yet, but I’m closer to pulling that trigger than I ever have been.

Ultimately, the week ended with the highlight of the trip.  Thanks to an introduction in the bar Wednesday night by Andre Leibovici, I was able to have a very awesome chat with Mark Benson, the original creator of what has evolved into VMware Horizon View.  Hoping I made a good impression!

I had originally turned down Partner Exchange this year in order to attend a different conference, until HP offered me the opportunity.  After this week, I don’t think I could say no to Partner Exchange next year.  Especially since it won’t be in Vegas.