VMworld 2014 – Day 3

Wednesday was incredibly productive. After a good start to the day with Scott Lowe and the gang, I headed to breakfast and then into the “What’s new in vSphere?” session. This was mainly about enhancements to come out in vSphere 5.5 Update 2. There were also some forward looking views into vSphere 6, but not much more than what we already know about FT and vMotion improvements.

After that, I went to another partner session, “SDDC Toolbelt”. This ended up being one of the most valuable sessions for me. It was all about utilizing several tools by VMware to help build the business and drive revenue. Some of it overlapped with the vSOM session on Monday, but there was much deeper content especially around the toolkit product to be made available for partners. It was remarkable information which really spurred some thoughts about how to incorporate these tools within my company to grow our data center business. I made a note to reach out to the presenters to leverage their expertise with these resources.

After that, I was motivated to learn more and made a beeline toward the Partner Lounge to gather even more tips on valuable resources. There was so much to pick up. I can’t believe all the resources available to us partners that we might otherwise be unaware of. The Partner Central site is chock full of tools for account managers, presales, and implementation engineers. While in the Partner Lounge I managed to make some great connections with a couple personnel who offered to facilitate the sharing of the material to my staff to help everyone get on board. How cool it is to have a team behind us. I guess all vendors do that to some degree for their partners, but VMware really has put together a solid force and set of tools to make it easier for their partners to get out and make an impact. Of course, the bottom line is still the bottom line and it’s no secret this is to drive more sales. But when we consider the value these technologies bring to our customers, we’re simply looking at better ways to educate and deliver these solutions to help drive their business.

I did hit one more session that day which was the, “What’s new in VMware Workstation” session. This was a sneak peak at some of the advancements coming to the next release of Workstation, version 11. There are some neat features coming, but mostly around support of the latest OS platforms. Here’s a secret though for anyone who has never attended the Workstation or Fusion sessions at VMworld. The presenters typically offer free license keys for these respective products. I usually make it a point to make it to these sessions, primarily for this reason. Both products are remarkable and I especially use Workstation quite heavily on my loaded up laptop.

After that, I hit the floor again and spent the rest of my day meeting some of my vendor contacts and checking out some new vendors. I missed speaking with Data Gravity, but I heard they had an amazing product and won “Best of VMworld” for it. I will definitely have to look them up. One particularly cool meeting was with PluralSight. I love their training and try to evangelize the value of their product to anyone who has an interest in training. I loved TrainSignal before they were acquired by PluralSight last year and that acquisition just multiplied our choice of courses without costing a dime more. Not only do they provide infrastructure training (networking, virtualization, systems, etc.) but also programming, scripting and development courses, AND soft skill courses, like public speaking, career building and blogging. I sang their praises and they gave me half a dozen 30-day trial licenses. I plan to distribute these to my coworkers in the hopes of getting them hooked like I am.

After the floor was closed, I grabbed a small bite before going back for the big party. As expected, VMworld really set the bar high last year with their knockout event at AT&T Park. At that event they hired two hit bands, Imagine Dragons and Train, which were a huge draw for most attendees. So… in comparison, this year’s party paled a bit. The Black Keys performed this year and I got the sense that I was in the majority of folks who were either unfamiliar with them or simply not fans. Nevertheless, the band choice never pleases everyone and it was still fun to get out and mingle and enjoy a night of entertainment with 22,000 of our new friends. And in the interest of keeping this positive, I thought one good thing that came out of the party was the number of people who ended up in line to help with vGiveBack. There was a long wait to throw paper airplanes to help the VMware Foundation’s vGiveBack initiative. With the additional donations made on behalf of all the airplane builders and flyers, the VMware Foundation raised almost $250,000. Not too shabby. Great job community!

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