VMware Partner Exchange (PEX) is an event for channel partners and service providers to unite, meet, learn and take forward insights from VMware and Technology partners.  4000 people, 80 countries, 1300 partners, 800 hrs of content. SolidFire headed up a presence that highlighted two new technology previews around our vision for VMware vSphere Virtual Volumes (VVOLs) and VMware vRealize Automation. Such vision garnered a keynote mention by Chris Wolf, VMware CTO of Americas, as well as key highlights in sessions by Rawlinson Rivera (STO4279: “Software-Defined Storage: The Key to Agility with Control”) and Tristan Todd (EUC4368: “Storage Best Practices for Your Horizon View Environment”).


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Whiteboarding in the SolidFire booth at VMware Partner Exchange2015

Dare to thrive

The theme of the conference was “Dare to Thrive.” VMware defined dare as “having the confidence to take on difficult tasks and to disrupt ourselves” and “bridged” it to how much Partner’s business would “thrive.” Taking the bridge idea forward, VMware cleverly expanded this into examples (Tappan Zee Bridge, the Bridge to Nowhere) of bridges that were far from efficient.



This concept is interesting and important because it outlines the move from old apps (client-server) to the new mobile-cloud era where apps are delivered through mobile devices and browser tabs.  At SolidFire, we have the history and strong partnership with VMware to be the “Storage Bridge of Efficiency.” SolidFire and VMware represent the bridge to customer value and time to value. Together we help businesses thrive in the cloud era by providing controls and efficiency that helps organizations consolidate, automate and scale.


Brave new IT

VMware presented  “brave new IT” that would be instant, fluid and secure where “One Cloud” serves any app on a common set of technologies.  They have their vision set, and as VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger put it they have “three years to execute.”  The four main priorities of the vision are:

  1. Make SDDC mainstream
  2. Establish vCloud Air
  3. Win in SDN
  4. Be a leader in business mobility

Announcements for PEX were related to NSX, vCloud Air, hyper-convergence and positioning toward Cloud Native Apps (containers without compromise). VMware is moving from products, to suites of products, to “as a Service” consumption.  More interesting to the platforms (current and future) were updates like the new vSphere 6 featuring Virtual Volumes (VVOLs), the new VMware Integrated Openstack (VIO), and improvements to visually intensive workloads for End User Computing (EUC).  Details can be found here, here, here, and here. We’ve summarized how this impacts the future of VMware Storage at Scale in a previous blog post here.


Social circles and coming together

SolidFire not only emphasized great technology, information and demos but also coming together as a community and industry.  We joined the community in VMunderground as a sponsor, invited everyone to join us with Cisco at #vBacon, held numerous briefings for partners with our CEO/Founder Dave Wright, hosted Technical Workshops on various key topics and captured attendee thoughts on video through interviews with our Roving Reporter, Josh Atwell. Stay tuned for that video series, coming soon.


As a preview, SolidFire’s Josh Atwell and Keith Norbie discuss the ongoing integration points between VMware’s vRealize and SolidFire’s storage solutions on the show floor at VMware Partner Exchange with the one and only Rawlinson Rivera. Watch the video below:



SolidFire and VMware – Where we go from here…

All announcements and strategies really point to a common driver for VMware and SolidFire together: Consolidate, automate and scale with controls. Together, SolidFire and VMware’s newest platforms present a combination not previously available for organizations looking to build the Next Generation Data Center and unlock new levels of end user IT consumption. Together SolidFire and VMware unlock six key “Dare to Thrive” values:

  1. Storage at scale: Combining SolidFire’s scale-out all-flash platform, QoS, multi-tenancy and Helix HA features with VVOLs functionality provides an unrivaled storage solution for the future by exposing unique capabilities to address workload profiles.
  2. Storage automation: VMware demonstrated SolidFire working with VMware vRealize by exposing capabilities through Storage Based Policy Management (SPBM) like QoS per application profile, encryption, and site protection through SRM.  No one else can deliver that combination for service catalogs.
  3. End user computing (VDI) and DaaS at scale: New VMware vSphere 6 capabilities for vGPU and performance to handle visually demanding workloads combines with SolidFire’s virtual desktops at scale on a storage platform that provides density (1000 users per rack U), controls to deliver user experience, and cost/desktop breakthroughs.
  4. Convergence of workloads: Together we break down traditional application silos with VMware’s new platforms and SolidFire Agile Infrastructure. We provide blueprints for building a VMware + SolidFire cloud and prove through test data how we run mixed workloads with QoS to consolidate those silos.
  5. A New Opportunity for OpenStack: VMware’s entrance into OpenStack with VIO offers a new vision for leveraging SolidFire’s innovation and integration in VMware Storage through SPBM and native vSphere drivers.
  6. “Fuel” for service providers: VMware and SolidFire present the combination of new vSphere 6, automation, and VDI/DaaS scale-out technologies applied through our Fueled by SolidFire program. This program fuels Service Providers not only through technology but via business design and planning.
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Our vExperts: Keith Norbie and Josh Atwell

VMware Partner Exchange offered many highlights, gatherings and product updates that pointed to bridges and asked you to dare to thrive. A partner or service provider can come away knowing there’s a new blueprint for success to build the most efficient Bridge to the Cloud Era. SolidFire and VMware have those solution blueprints, technologies and programs, along with SolidFire’s Cloud Builder Partner Program and Fueled by SolidFire Program, to help you build those bridges.


Keith Norbie

As a Sr. Manager of Business and Alliances Development for NetApp Next Generation Data Center (NGDC) BU, Keith works with NetApp Alliances to drive NGDC’s key objectives. Keith works on incubation of and alignment to strategic technology partnerships to deliver compelling solutions brought to market through direct, indirect and service provider sales channels. Keith has successfully lead and been part of launching NetApp HCI, FlexPod SF, and ongoing advanced projects to advance SolidFire via VMware Private Cloud, EUC, OpenStack, Docker/Containers, Service Provider, and DevOps.

Keith was part of SolidFire pre-acquisition helping establish Alliances and Business Development success. He also is a long time VMware vExpert and has spent the past 20 plus years in Solution Provider (VAR) channels most recently helping grow TIG in 1 year in both revenue but also development in major accounts, reps, solution architects, and multi-practice portfolio. He started out building practices in storage, networking, virtualization, and cloud. During that time he also specialized in demand gen by creating mobile vPods, VDI showcase, events like VDI Kung Fu, Cloud Skydiving, the MonsterVM shirts, the Flash Storage Forum, and the SDDC Rocks theme.