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By David Davis

One of my favorite yearly events (besides VMworld) is VMware Partner Exchange (PEX). Much more intimate and more "top secret" than VMworld, the partner-only event offers unique advantages.

Who Attends VMware Partner Exchange?

PEX doesn't have as many attendees as VMworld and I’ve found it to be lower stress and a more concentrated dosage of VMware Kool-Aid than its larger cousin.

First, VMware Partner Exchange is only open to VMware partners. Large partners like EMC, Cisco, Dell, VCE, NetApp, and HP have their own training days before PEX begins (called "pre-conference boot-camps). Many sessions and keynotes revolve around becoming the most successful (and profitable) VMware partner you can be.

If you are a VMware partner then there is no doubt that you need to be in Orlando, Florida between February 8-11.

If you aren't a VMware partner but you or your company sells, supports, integrates, develops related software, or manufactures related hardware then you need to, first, become a partner and then make sure you attend this invaluable event. There is even an option to become a free VMware partner called a Technology Alliance Partner (TAP).

Finally, if you are a VMware customer then continue to learn more about PEX, and ask your local VMware partner about PEX when they return. Also, make sure you have VMworld 2011 in Las Vegas on your calendar for August 29-September 1, 2011 because that is the event for you.

Five Reasons to Attend VMware Partner Exchange

If your company is or can be a VMware partner then here are five reasons why you need to attend PEX:

1. Learn how to make your company more successful – you'll find keynotes and sessions that educate, empower, and motivate you to be the best partner you can be (more on sessions below).

2. Gain the training on new technology that you must have to be successful – prior to the conference you'll find VMware training boot-camps that cover vSphere Design, View 4.5 Design Best Practices, and desktop virtualization. Additionally, you'll be able to perform VMware labs to gain the hands-on experience you'll need to implement VMware's products quicker and easier.

3. Network with the best in the virtualization world – VMware company executives like Paul Maritz, & Steve Herrod will be there as well as well known names in the virtualization world like John Arrasjid (VCDX001), Duncan Epping (VCDX007), and John Troyer (VMware Social Media Evangelist).

4. Get certified – VMware will be offering a free certification training boot-camp on the VMware Technical Sales Professional (VTSP) and there are special sessions on VCP and VCDX. Last year, I paid $150 extra to attend John Arrasjid's VCDX preparation workshop (which is available this year as well). Plus, you can attempt your VCP, VCAP-DCA, or VCAP-DCD certification exam, onsite at PEX. Learn more about certifications at PEX here.

5. Go to Disneyworld – Okay, don't tell your boss about this one but PEX is inside the Disneyworld campus and if you have an extra $80 you could go to one of the parks before or after the conference. (Remember – it's the happiest place on earth.)

Must See PEX Sessions

I've already built my schedule for PEX and you'll see it below. While I have booked every session that I possibly can, there are some speakers and sessions that I consider "must see". They are:

  • John Arrasjid – covering vCloud BC/DR solutions (TECH-BC-202) & vCloud Architecture Design Workshop(TECH-CLD-201),
  • David Hill – Private vCloud Architecture Technical Deepdive (TECH-CLD-300)
  • John Troyer – Social Media Optimization for Marketing (SAL-MKT-200)
  • Brenton Badger – Tier 1 Applications in VMware vCloud Director (TECH-CLD-203)
  • Pang Chen – VMware vCloud and vCloud Director 101 (TECH-CLD-101)
  • Thomas Christensen – Don't be afraid of the Cloud (SAL-CLD-100)
  • Ryan Sweet – vCloud APIs bringing new integration partner opportunities (TEX-CLD-204)
  • And many more vCloud-related sessions.
PEXSchedule

The public content catalog for PEX 2011 is located here.

See you there!

I'll be staying at the Disney Coronado hotel for PEX from February 7-11. For anyone reading this who is attending – I would be glad to meet you there. I'll be attending as much training and as many sessions I can but I also plan to make time to do some labs and network with as many people as I can. Additionally, I'll be blogging and doing video interviews. If you are at PEX and would like to meet or do an interview, let me know via Twitter (@davidmdavis). Look for more upcoming posts on VMware PEX 2011!

Learn more and register for VMware Partner Exchange 2011 here.