L.A. Awe: Scenes From XChange Solution Provider 2012

X(Change) Marks The Spot

XChange Solution Provider 2012 was held this week in Los Angeles. CRN parent company UBM Channel, XChange brought more than 200 solution providers together with top and emerging vendors in the IT industry to examine today's latest trends and hottest technologies. Here's a look at some highlights from the event.

Making It Rain

The XChange Solutions Pavilion has a number of alluring booths this week, including this offering from ConnectWise Capital, which was literally showering attendees with cash.

Show Me The Money

ConnectWise allowed attendees to step into its cash machine, which blew forced air throughout the enclosed booth while guests attempted to grab as many bills as they could (it was much harder than it looks!).

Tough Enough

At the Panasonic booth, the new A1 ToughPad was on display. The new ruggedized tablet comes with the Android 4.0 operating system, a 10.1-inch display, a 1.2 GHz dual core processor and 16 GB of storage -- all in durable frame.

Microsoft Does The Big Easy

During her keynote address Sunday night, Cindy Bates, vice president of U.S. Small and Medium Sized Businesses at Microsoft, not only teased new products like the forthcoming Windows 8 but also excited the audience with a big announcement for the channel -- the return of The Big Easy, a popular incentives program for partners.

Cloud Services Boom

During his opening keynote, UBM Channel CEO Robert Faletra highlighted the big gains made by many solution providers offering cloud services. A number of solution providers in attendance, including New York-based Nimbo, Fusion Networks of Seattle, and NetsWork of Midland, Texas, were seeing incredible success with cloud services.

Elvis Has Entered The Building

During XChange Solution Provider's Quick Fire Sessions, where vendors get a few minutes to pitch the solution provider audience and make a lasting impression, a representative from Tanberg came on stage dressed as Elvis Presley.

Gotta Wear Shades

On the XChange Solutions Pavilion, the spotlight was so bright the guys from Blue Coat had to wear shades.

Demo Time

At its booth at the Solutions Pavilion, HP showed off a number of new products, including one of the recent additions to HP's laptop family. HP officials at the show said the company had the strongest hardware lineup it's ever had.

HP's Comeback Plan

Mike Parrottino, Hewlett-Packard's vice president of Personal Systems Group (PSG) U.S. Channel Sales, said during his keynote that despite the company's struggles in 2011, it now has "the most compelling, strongest product portfolio in the history of Hewlett-Packard." Specifically, Parrottino touted new products like the Folio ultra-thin notebook and the Z1 all-in-one workstation. Parrottino also told CRN that HP would continue to invest in partners to grow its channel sales.

On Your Mark, Get Set...

Fortinet's demo room at XChange Solution Provider 2012 featured a race car theme. Fortinet earned the XChange Xcellence award for Best Demo Room.

Leave IT To The VARs

Larry Bonfante, CIO of the U.S. Tennis Association and founder of CIO Bench Coach, an executive coaching practice for IT executives, told the audience that today's CIOs should be business leaders and focus less on technology. That, Bonfante said, creates big opportunities for solution providers to fill the technology gap for CIOs.

Mad Money

ConnectWise flashed some cash at its XChange demo room. The vendor was nominated for an XChange XCellence Award for Best Demo Room.

Cream Of The Crop

Paul Dippell, CEO of Service Leadership Inc., said during his keynote that the top 25 percent of managed service providers in the industry make an incredible three times the profits that the rest of the MSP market generates.

Church Laughter

During the XChange Quick Fire Sessions, a representative from Ruckus Wireless took the stage dressed as a priest and engaged in some (un)holy high jinks. Ruckus won the XChange Xcellence award for Best Quick Fire Session.

Everybody Clap Your Hands

XChange Solution Provider 2012 saw more than 225 solutions providers of various sizes, specialties and business models come to Los Angeles from all over North America.

Channel Champs

Richard Hutton (left), Samsung's senior channel marketing manager, sports an Eli Manning jersey and poses for a photo with Ron Longfellow of ACG Technologies, Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif. Notice the Eli Manning autograph in the background?

The Big Picture

Epson's Kathleen Nguyen shows off some of her company's newest hardware products at the Epson demo room at XChange Solution Provider 2012.

The Big Shot

Mike Coffey of Gravity Networks in Tennessee gets ready to shoot at Eaton's booth on the XChange Solutions Pavilion.

One On One

Mike Coffey (left) of Gravity Networks joins Brad Amano, solutions marketing manager at Eaton, for a game of hoop shots. Samsung earned the Overall Best In Show prize at the XChange Xcellence Awards.

Business Transformers

Wilfredo Sotolongo, vice president of IBM's North American business partners midmarket segment, said his keynote that customer buying patterns showed CIOs are moving their IT dollars toward business intelligence, mobility and cloud solutions. Sotolongo said IBM is helping its partners transform their business models to take advantage of these trends.

Tongue Tied!

Don't worry – that's not his real tongue. An AVG employee went to extreme lengths during the XChange Quick Fire Sessions.

Buy! Sell!

Frank Albi, an expert on channel mergers and acquisitions, said most VARs don't really know what their business is worth and therefore are at a disadvantage when suitors come calling to talk about acquisitions. Albi encouraged solution providers to accurately assess their bsuiness' worth and to explore M&A opportunities.

Caped Crusaders

Dakota Backup representatives bust out the capes for their XChange Quick Fire Session.

Cloud Specialization

Tim Chou, an author and cloud computing lecturer at Stanford University, told the audience during his keynote that the cloud computing revolution was just beginning. He predicted that cloud service offerings will continue to get more specialized based on vertical industry needs, security layers and performance levels.

Microsoft At The Mall

Denali Advanced Integration's John Convery (left) and Malcolm Moses stop by the new Microsoft retail store at a nearby mall in Century City, Calif.

Calling It A Career

Garry Gillam (left) vice president of Xerox's North American Channels, stands with Bob Stegner, vice president of marketing at Synnex. Gillam, who is retiring this year after a long career in the channel, received an ovation from solution providers and vendors alike during the Channel Champs and XChange Xcellence Awards ceremony Tuesday evening.

Play Ball!

A Qlogic representative sports the zebra stripes and gets ready for a ballgame during an XChange Quick Fire Session.

Oracle's New Look

Longtime HP executive Tom Larocca made his debut at XChange Solution Provider as Oracle's new vice president of worldwide programs. Larocca spent more than a decade at HP before leaving to join Oracle, where he now is courting solution providers for Oracle's new channel push.

Are You Ready For Some Football?

A Samsung rep gets ready to throw a Hail Mary during the company's Quick Fire Session at XChange Solution Provider.

Rock The House

Justin Crotty, senior vice president and general manager and general manager at NetEnrich, rocks out during a Quick Fire Session at XChange Solution Provider.

Elvis Has Left The Building

Thanks to all who made XChange Solution Provider 2012 a success. We'll see you at the next XChange!

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XChange Solution Provider 2012 Coverage
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Microsoft Revives Popular Partner Subsidy Promotion
Cloud Providers Posting Big Sales Gains