Before I get into any thoughts or observations from PEX2011, I want to say THANK YOU to all the Cisco partners that attended our bootcamp on Monday. It was an all-day event, the day after the Super Bowl, and you turned out in force throughout the day. The bootcamp Q&A sessions and subsequent discussions at the Appreciation Party and within our booth were very insightful. Keep giving us feedback on how we can help drive your business into new opportunities in 2011.
Within the event, several key themes were prominent throughout the week:
- Cloud Computing is top of mind for CIOs across almost every vertical. With so many offerings in the marketplace, there are huge opportunities for partners to guide their customers through the Private Cloud, Public Cloud, and Hybrid Cloud pieces of their future IT portfolio.
- The leading customers have moved beyond virtualization for their infrastructure applications, “the low hanging fruit” (often 15-30% of all servers), and are now looking to move past cost-savings and onto agile ways to incorporate business critical applications. Partners with strong application practices have the opportunity to lead these conversations, as well as create the foundation for broader Data Center Consolidation, High-Availability, Application Mobility, Backup, Business Continuance, and Disaster Recovery architectural discussions.
- While traditional VDI has made progress in a number of use-case specific areas (call-centers, healthcare, financial services desks, education classrooms and labs, etc.), the new conversation was around evolving types of hybrid desktops. Or maybe it should be looked at as a new end-user experience that combines video, communications, SaaS applications, tablet “apps”, etc. It seemed to be shifting from a demand-side discussion (IT demanding lower costs or simpler operations) to a supply-side discussion to create a better, more flexible, more mobile user-experience. This is a HUGE opportunity for Cisco partners with strong Unified Communications practices because not only do you have the technology expertise, but you also have the experience of bridging operational silos within IT.
I was glad to see VMware announce vCloud Connector, helping enterprise/mid-market customers better coordinate with Service Providers. This reinforces Cisco’s Cloud Computing strategy to enable customers and Service Providers to deliver Private Cloud or Public Cloud services to best match their business and IT needs, wherever and however they need them.
With Cloud Computing being prominently discussed, I was somewhat surprised to not hear Security discussed more often. You’d think the #1 CIO interest would be married to their #1 concern. Maybe companies were holding off until the RSA Conference this week. Some of the Cisco partners I met felt like their existing security practices would naturally extend to virtualization. Maybe this is true, maybe not. When we discussed things like Nexus 1000v policies, vPath, Virtual Security Gateway (VSG) and Virtual Network Management Console (VNMC), many of them quickly realized that they might have some homework to do. Maybe this will help them (requires registration).
Finally, I’d like to congratulate all the Cisco partners that were recognized by VMware in their “Partner of the Year 2011” categories. We’re glad to contribute a small portion to your success in building great practices. We know you have a choice in your technology partners and we’re glad that you continue to trust Cisco to deliver products and solutions to meet your customers business needs. We appreciate the feedback, discussions and support throughout the year and we’ll see you again at Partner Exchange 2012.