VMware Benelux has asked me to share my experiences with VMware Partner Exchange 2014. You can read that article (in Dutch) here. I figured I’d translate it to English and publish it on my blog, so here goes:

Partner Exchange

VMware Partner Exchange 2014 was held in San Francisco after being in Vegas the last couple of years. This VMware-partner oriented event was visited by over 4,000 attendees this year. It’s one of VMware’s main outlets of their vision and message. The most important strategic themes haven’t changed this year: ‘Software-defined Datacenter’, ‘Hybrid Cloud’ and ‘End-user Computing’. Products such as Virtual SAN, NSX, vCloud Hybrid Service, the Service Provider Program and the Horizon Suite embody these themes. A special mention goes out to the newly acquired: Desktone and Airwatch.

It’s good to see that VMware is holding up its strategic themes for another year; this allows for the entire company to put in significant effort into expanding and improving the partner program competencies and trainings for the new products and services. Soon, the Cloud Provider Solution and vCloud Hybrid Service Solution competencies will become available. This means partners can bring back this knowledge into their own organizations.

Virtual SAN

The big PEX news, for me at least, is a likely GA of Virtual SAN on the March 6th. This is coincidentally also the day the NLVMUG Conference 2014 is taking place. We invite all attendees to stay with us for some refreshments and watch the VMware NOW online event with us. Check out the NLVMUG website for more information about the Conference. In addition to this, we will have a guest speaker, William van Collenburg from VMware NL, to talk about VSAN and its ecosystem of VMware Virtual SAN Ready Nodes.

Combined with the evolution around NSX, VMware has a strong software-defined datacenter play, which goes hand-in-hand with the shift from IT Production to IT-as-a-Service. vCloud Director for Service Providers, vSphere Replication, vCloud Automation Center and vCloud Hybrid Service complete the Hybrid Cloud portfolio for Service Providers and should be interesting to enterprises and Service Providers alike to serviceify infrastructure, disaster recovery and backup and end-user desktop computing. Interesting to note is the lack of buzz around the vSphere (now vCloud) Suite; it’s almost as if it’s a given commodity.

Partners

Various software vendors in the ecosystem have chosen PEX to launch (new versions of) products. Some have done it independently, like Atlantis Computing and PernixData, others have teamed up with VMware, like Google. This last announcement was a big surprise to me, and focuses on accessing traditional Windows desktops and apps via Google Chromebooks leveraging VMware Horizon DaaS and Blast for client less access. The timing of this partnership signifies not only the VMware EUC product portfolio, but also the nearing XP-deadline: Windows XP support will be dropped very soon, which will force many organizations into a troublesome migration period.

AirWatch was a major player in the keynotes, since enterprise mobility is gaining traction. As Sanjay Poonen put it eloquently: “there are more mobile devices than toothbrushes”. Maybe it’s a good thing enterprise mobility can prevent you from being too close to your coworker’s horse breath.

A personal highlight was the guest speaker Salman Khan of Khan University. His presentation of how he went from tutoring his niece to a large, non-profit, free and online training program was very inspiring and very funny. I recommend you watch the video on YouTube as soon as it’s posted.

Bootcamps

I attended the VCAP and VCDX bootcamps on Saturday, hosted by the one and only John Arrasjid and his team. These bootcamps are meant for everyone (with a VCP certification) aspiring to succeed in the VCAP and VCDX certifications. I attended because I needed a dry run of the bootcamp materials. Together with Martijn Baecke (VCDX #103), Viktor van den Berg (VCDX #121), I will host a VCAP bootcamp during the NLVMUG Conference 2014 on the 6th of March. Want to know more about this bootcamp? Read up here or send us an e-mail at [email protected].

The community makes it worthwhile

All in all, I had a very successful PEX, not in the least because of the many community activities hosted by Nexenta, Azlan, Nutanix, Veeam, PernixData, the VCDX/vExpert crew, Cisco’s #vBacon and Sandisk. Thank you all!