Game On, Eh? 20 Scenes From Fortinet Americas Partner Conference

Welcome To Fortinet's North American Partner Conference

Welcome to the Fortinet Partner Conference, held in beautiful Vancouver, B.C. During the three-day confab, 160 partners flew in from all over the Americas to get a glimpse of how the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company plans to make further inroads into enterprise accounts, beef up marketing and support and embark on the managed and hosted services bandwagon. Meanwhile, Fortinet channel partners managed to have a little fun in the process. Here are a few scenes from the event.

So-Dubbed 'The FortiTorch'

The Fortinet Partner Conference was held at the posh Fairmont Pacific Rim, strategically adjacent to the Olympic torch used in the opening and closing ceremonies during the 2010 Winter Olympics. Known among the channel partners as the FortiTorch, it was used as the company's symbol for drive and competition as executives prepared to take on challengers Cisco Systems and Juniper Networks in the networking security, wireless and managed services arenas.

Game On

Mike Valentine, Fortinet senior vice president of Americas sales, welcomes about 160 partners attending the conference during the opening night dinner. The theme of the conference was Game On, which acknowledged Vancouver as the site of the 2010 Winter Olympics but also referred to Fortinet's ambitions to meet and exceed industry expectations with its recent IPO, the creation of a brand-new data center, and recently launched products including the new FortiGate 3950 and the FortiGate 3951B appliances.

Ramping Up

Pedro Paixao (left), Fortinet vice president of Latin America, and Marcio Joly, director of Sao Paulo-based TRTEC, get comfortable and adjust to the rainy Vancouver weather as they do a little networking at the Fortinet opening reception.

Having Fun

(From the left), Brian Gilbertson, senior director of sales for North America and Denny Fitzgerald, product marketing manager, both at Alternative Technology, based in Englewood, Colo., are enjoying free wine and cocktails, hors d'oeuvres, and some good jokes during the welcome reception at the Fortinet North American Partner Conference.

Hanging Out

Torren Craigie Manson, senior consultant for Burnaby, B.C.-based Sudden Technologies; George Puyssegur, inside sales and project manager at Foreseeson, based in Richmond, B.C; Paul Thresher, vice president of Toronto, Ont.-based Secure Links; and Brian Cherrin, Foreseeson general manager of technology distribution, take advantage of the off-campus work trip to hang out and reconnect while drinking some beer from the open bar.

Growing Stronger

During a partner conference keynote, Fortinet CTO Ken Goldman explains to partners that despite the worldwide economic recession, the company experienced 12 percent growth in billings while growing revenues by 19 percent, boosted, in part, by the IPO in November. IDC also ranked Fortinet as the leader in UTM devices with 14 percent of the market share. Goldman said that the company planned to focus on key verticals over the next 12 months as it expanded its enterprise presence, including financial services, retail, health care and technology.

Executive Interview

Mike Valentine (left), Fortinet senior vice president of Americas sales, 'interviews' Fortinet CEO Ken Xie during the Fortinet Partner Conference Q&A format keynote. Among other things, Xie talks about the company's plans to expand its product line, address new threats, and add functionality to UTM devices, while delving further into the managed services space and enhancing marketing and branding strategies, which partners have said historically have been on the weak side.

Stepping It Up

During a conference speech, Mike Valentine, Fortinet senior vice president of Americas sales, tries to overcome public perception that Fortinet is an SMB company while reinforcing to partners that they needed to step up their sales strategy to reflect Fortinet's growing enterprise presence. In an attempt to help partners get their foot in the door of larger customers, Valentine said that Fortinet already served seven of the Top 10 Fortune 500 companies, five of the Top 10 Global 500 in the EMEA, and seven of the Top 10 Global 500 in APAC.

"We've got to take a whole new mindset. We can't lose that work ethic, but we need to puff up a little bit. It's game on. It's time to go. We've got to change the mentality on how we go to market," he said. "We don’t want to hear 'FortiWho?' We're a market leader."

Long Day

(Clockwise from the left), George Puyssegur, inside sales and project manager for Foreseeson, based in Redmond B.C..; Dean Townson, director of business development for Calgary-based ACSI; James Balderson, Fortinet Western Canada regional sales manager; Jason Hendricks, director of Technical Services for ACSI; and Robert Deitz, CEO of CVTech Solutions, based in Shingle Springs, Calif., find ways to relax and unwind with some conversation, laughter and good food at The Boathouse, in a celebratory dinner concluding the conference.

Field Trip To Fortinet Data Center

Fortinet executives lead a small group of channel partners on a tour of the new data center during the last day of the conference. The new 9,000 square foot data center, located in Burnaby, B.C., is touted as the largest in Western Canada, containing 2,400 amps at 600 volts of available electrical power, supported by three 750Kw UPS generators.

Chiller Towers

During the data center tour, Fortinet channel partners get a "Cliff's Notes" briefing on its three chiller towers -- two for capacity and one on standby for redundancy, which power 400 tons of cooling system.

Generating Power

Solution providers peer at one of the three Cumming 750kw generators, each with double-walled 700 gallon fuel tanks that provide 1,500kw power capacity.

Cooling Down

Justin Kallhoff, CISSP at Lincoln, Neb.-based Infogressive, looks on with interest at the new Fortinet data center cooling room on a comprehensive tour the last day of the Fortinet conference. The Mechanical Room houses data center pumps, including three chilled water pumps and three condenser pumps. The three chiller pumps -- two simultaneous chillers along with a stand-by chiller -- handle the chill loop to cooling towers, each touting a 200-ton cooling system capacity.

Room For Growth

Channel partners take a gander at the copious rack space that's yet to be filled. Fortinet's 9,000-square-foot data center is capable of housing 140 American Power Conversion server racks.

What's In Here

Fortinet channel partners wander into the cooling distributed units, which provide server racks with cooling.

Wave Of The Future

Fortinet's Data Center electrical panel controls and distributes 2,400 amps at 600 volts each.

In Case Of An Emergency

David Edmonds, Fortinet vice president of quality assurance, stands near one of five Sapphire agent canisters, which provide fire suppression delivery. In the event of a fire, the canisters release an agent at approximately 300 pounds per square inch through dispersing nozzles.


David Edmonds, Fortinet vice president of quality assurance, explained that the Fortinet Data Center, among other things, hosts a 24/7 Network Operation Center, supported by security professionals trained to monitor and maintain the health of the units and protect customers against security threats such as malware, spam and DDoS attacks.

Personal Touch

Fortinet CEO Ken Xie accompanied the data center tour to help give channel partners some insight into the company's future plans for the data center and cloud strategy.

Cool Sights

The Fairmont Pacific Rim, the location of the Fortinet Americas Partner Conference, was just a 10-minute walk from Vancouver's 1,001-acre Stanley Park, famous for its brilliant rose gardens, nature trails and, of course, totem poles.