Symantec vExpert Briefing Day 29th March 2012

Symantec, I am so sorry.

There, my apology is out there. Now I ought to explain it…

Back in March I responded to a thread on the vExpert forum about a briefing day that Symantec were planning to host at the headquarters in Mountain View. (I’m actually a former Symantec employee – via an acquisition – but that’s not exactly relevant.) Fortunately I was working in the Bay Area at the time and, as I was due to fly back the following day, my workload was light enough to allow me to attend. What follows is a description, or review, of the day. Obviously I should have posted this about 5 months ago (hence the apology) but things got a little busy around then and this has been sitting in my Drafts since then.

Now you know and it’s time for me to get back to my brief review of the day…

The day was organised by Jordan Pusey (@JordanPusey), an Alliance Marketing Manager for Symantec. He coordinated getting everyone there. The criteria that had been set was that the vExperts had to be US based and, except for me, they were. I was one of six vExperts and we were more than outnumbered by people from Symantec! 🙂 Present were:

  • Shane Williford (@coolsport00) – A virtualisation guru on Experts Exchange
  • Bilal Hashmi (@hashmibilal) – Author of cloud-buddy.com
  • James Bowling (@vSential) – Author of vSential.com
  • Chris Nakagaki (@zsoldier) – Author of zsoldier.com
  • Ryan Makamson (@virt_pimp) – VMUG leader

And on the Symantec side there were numerous people whose names I didn’t catch (another apology to Symantec) as well as:

  • Kristine Mitchell (@kmitchel) – NetBackup Product Marketing Manager
  • Renee Carlisle (@SymRenRPM) – NetBackup Product Manager
  • Abdul Rasheed (@AbdulRasheed127) – Technical Marketer
  • Sean Doherty (@SeanDinfo) – CTO of Symantec’s Enterprise Security Group (and a fellow Brit)
So, what was the day all about? Well this was the outline plan that we were given:
Time Topic Speaker
12:00 – 12:30 Reception/Lunch Dale Zabriskie, Symantec Evangelist
12:30 – 1:15 Virtualization Security Todd Zambrovitz, Sr. Product Marketing Mgr, VirtualizationColin Gibbens, Principle Product Manager, Information and Security Group
1:15 – 2:00 Virtualization Security discussion Dale Zabriskie, Moderator
2:00 – 2:30 Break
2:30 – 3:30 V-Ray and Virtual Backup George Winter, Staff Technical Product Manager, Backup
3:30 – 4:30 Virtual Backup Discussion Dale Zabriskie, Moderator
4:30 – 5:30 ApplicationHA Desmond Chan, Sr. Product Manager, Storage and Availability Group
5:30 – 7:00 Dinner with the vExperts

On the face of it I was slightly worried that this might have been a bit of a sales-oriented day but I need not have been concerned. Right from the outset the purpose of the topics was set out. Basically Symantec wanted to talk about their products and solutions in the context of how such technologies were being used day-to-day. So, taking backup as an example, they wanted to understand what challenges we perceived there were in the virtual infrastructure backup space. Yes, we talked about the various pros and cons of their products but as people who use such technologies and implement them. Essentially you could say that we were helping them fine tune their products a bit through some very interesting discussions.

Besides backups, we talked for quite some time about virtualisation security, anti-virus and HA. There was quite a long discussion about the merits and demerits of agentless anti-virus that I made quite a few notes on.

So what did I get out of it? Well, I wasn’t paid to be there. I ought to get that out of the way straight off. Aside from meeting some very well switched on people at a major vendor, I met 5 other very knowledgable and opinionated vExperts and I got to talk about technology with them all. That for me is what I wanted.

I did take away several thoughts that I won’t share now but that might become the subjects of future posts (when I get the time to research them and write it all up). Oh, and I also walked away with a portable battery that helped power my iPad on the flight back 🙂

It was a great day, I enjoyed it a lot and I’m grateful to Symantec for inviting me along.

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