Disclaimer: I work for Dell. I sell the Dell XC Series Nutanix appliance. I have a vested interest however those who know me know I like to be fair and as little cool-aidy as possible, unless its about Basketball. This is a personal post about my experience.

This last week I was fortunate to attend the inaugural Nutanix .Next user conference in Miami. I know what you’re thinking “Why was a Dell Storage pre-sales guy from sunny Brisbane there?”. Turns out a lot of people were wondering that because I got asked more than 20 times. Long before Dell announced the OEM partnership with Dell I have been following and learning about Nutanix tech because I have a few mates that have worked for Nutanix for a while and I trust their opinions.

I remember a while ago I asked one, “if you were a customer would you run this in your company?” and the response was “Previously, maybe not, but its rock solid now and yes I would run it”. This guy had never led me astray so that was high praise IMHO.

So why was I there? Because I’m an (unofficial) internal XC champion here at Dell and, full disclosure, I begged. :)

It was at the Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami, pretty cool location but bloody expensive. Apparently it has a deep history and the scene with the girl covered in gold paint in Goldfinger was filmed there, good excuse to watch an old bond movie again if you ask me.

There were just under 1000 people there and more than half were customers. Pretty short event, only 1 1/2 days plus a few drinks pre-event on the Monday night. They crammed heaps into that time, maybe a bit too much as some sessions seemed rushed. Food was very nice, although very carb heavy, but I guess that’s any event catering. Nightlife was excellent, although watching the Warriors lose two NBA Finals games was a downer. [edit, at time of writing its back to 2-2 with game 5 about to start, #GoDubsGo]

Side note, what is with the people who go to that hotel to hang out by the pool? Some of the best looking people I have ever seen in my life, male or female, also some of the biggest train wrecks. It’s apparently the place to be seen, but sometimes I saw a little bit too much.

There were a heap of announcements during the event, enough that it got it’s own post that I will finish next week. This will be a breakdown of the announcements and links to other blogs around the place.

Here is the video of the new announcements and demos

The sessions were ok, I am a partner and I have been on NPP training so I had already gone over a lot of the content but I just didn’t feel like I got as much as I could from the sessions. I also think I chose the wrong ones, e.g. It didn’t help I went to 2 containers/docker advanced sessions without really understanding much about containers. (I still don’t).

The storage session had so much potential but we just didn’t have enough time to delve into the nitty gritty. Reality is I doubt many people there wanted to get into the weeds on storage as much as I wanted to. Everyone was tired but I think we could have repeated a few more sessions, which was unrealistic because as soon as the .Next conference finished, the .Now partner conference started an hour later. I’m sure it will be better next year.

Dell had a large stand at the event and I manned the booth through the all-important welcome drinks session. We were right near the bar, good for customers, good for me :) (Dell sponsored BTW!). Alongside me were product management and some of the engineering team, great people and nice to spend time with. As an Aussie I can’t stress how useful it is to make face to face contact with marketing and engineers creating the products I have to recommend to customers. I wish it could be done more but the distance is a real barrier.

The coolest part of the stand was a massive touchscreen with up on the screen. It is a virtual rack that has all of the Enterprise kit listed with pictures and tech specs. I recommend checking out the site, its impressive – http://esgvr.dell.com/. The Aussie marketing team needs to get one of these ASAP. There were a number of Dell XC customers at the event too which was great.

Networking is always one of the best parts of these events and because the number of people wasn’t too large there were chances to have repeat conversations and not feel rushed. It was really great to meet a lot of people I only know from online, and i made a few new friends.

A bit of a fan boi shout out to the Nutanix exec team. I’m pretty sure I spoke to all of them more than once and they are very warm and made me feel very welcomed. Great guys and nice to meet them. But lets see what happens when I add them on LinkedIn :) Believe it or not, it reminds me a bit of Dell execs. One thing I have liked about my 4 years at Dell is that the management team are very visible and very approachable, which isn’t something I didn’t experience much at my time at other companies.

A big part of the event for me was Twitter. I sent more tweets in 4 days than I have in the last 6 months (sorry for your timeline abuse btw). I favourited heaps but here are some of the top ones.

Apparently @ccstockwell thinks I have some monkey in my jeans genes

On the last morning I finally made it for a swim in the Atlantic. Turns out I’m stupid for waiting because the water was glorious, although full of seaweed. The ocean was so flat it was eerie, I guess I’m just used to all the beaches in Australia having some form of waves. It was very peaceful. But the good thing is I’ve now swum in the Pacific, Indian, and Atlantic oceans now – tick on the bucket list.

The distance is a killer, door to door it was about 72 hours travelling in 7 days. In a word, Ug. All in all I found it very worthwhile week and I would love to make it to the event next year although there is low chance of that unless I change roles in that time.

A couple of photos from the week, excuse the ugly mug! p.s I took the photo at the top of the page believe it or not.

I’ll end with this video which is a short roudup of the week. I feature for about 1/millionth of a sec but I look like a troll, enjoy