VCE Gearing up for Cisco Live – Gear, Demos and People

With Cisco Live only days away, I wanted to give everyone an overview of what VCE has going on at the show and where you’ll be able to find us to get questions answered.

VPLEX DemoFirst off, I’m excited to announce that we’ll be reprising our Workload Mobility Demo from EMC World and Cisco Live London on the floor of the show.  If you haven’t seen it yet, you definitely need to check it out.  We’ll have a total of three Vblock systems on the floor of the show, and using vSphere 5, VPLEX and an OTV-enabled Cisco Nexus backbone we’ll demonstrate an active/active VMware cluster between Vblocks, and then actually fail one of the Vblocks to show failover and mobility.  The demo has been a huge hit at previous shows, with the Cisco, VMware, EMC and VCE teams putting on a good show as part of the event!

VPLEX whiteboardIn fact, the VPLEX demo at EMC World became part of VCE lore.  After watching the demo go live and without a net, a customer engaged with the team in the booth.  Over the next couple hours we whiteboarded out his requirements and designed a solution, and at the end of the day had a handshake agreement on the purchase of two Vblocks in place.  This was a customer that we’d engaged before and had discussions with, but it was seeing the technology in action that sealed the deal.

Think about that for a minute.  There’s a lot to digest there:

  • We did a full demo of a complex, topical technical solution live on the floor of the show that included:
    • Three Vblock systems
    • Six VPLEX engines
    • Multiple Nexus 7000-series switches with a fully-implemented OTV-enabled design in place
    • Multiple vCenter instances with both stretched and local vSphere clusters
  • We had the right people in the booth to be able to have a deep, technical design session live and without any props but a whiteboard.
  • We had a tool that allowed the VCE vArchitect to build, validate and price a rough configuration for a multi-vendor converged infrastructure on the floor and live in front of the customer.

TomonaVblockThis is the kind of investment that VCE chooses to make at the core events.  We look at these events as  a chance to connect with customers and partners, and that’s not just a job for the marketing teams.  Customers and partners want to have in-depth, hard-core, technical and design discussions, and they want to have access to SMEs that can help them understand how to solve their business challenges.  No offense to the marketing teams, or to some of the “technical marketing” groups out there, but that’s a job for the geeks, and we make sure they are present and accounted for!  It means you need gear on the floor, and it has to be operational!  What good is a rack of gear that isn’t powered on?  It means you have to invest in doing live demos in front of customers.  It means you have to invest in doing cross-vendor demos with the technology that customers want to see.  It means you have to invest in a team that is comfortable communicating in front of customers in a very chaotic environment.  It’s not easy, and it’s not cheap, but it’s something we have bought into from top to bottom.  I’ll put our showing at Cisco Live against any other converged infrastructure in terms of number of people, technical ability of those people and amount of gear on the floor for customer to see and touch.

Overall, VCE is sending a total of 58 people (!!!) to Cisco Live with more than 40 of them serving in technical or design capacities.  Sure, we’ll have the executive team there as well, and rumor has it we’ll get to give John Chambers a tour of the VCE booth, but the core of our commitment it at a technical level.  Cisco is a fantastic partner and parent company, and the mutual respect that the teams have for each other and the success we continue to have together easily justifies the cost involved.

Here’s a partial list of some of the social media folks we’ll have at the show.  If you see any of us, feel free to stop us and ask hard questions!

This page will be kept up-to-date with the official VCE schedule:

Are you going to be at Cisco Live as well?  Hit me up on Twitter and we’ll find time for a drink and some Vblock conversation!