I had the distinct pleasure of speaking to about 50 customers at the Cleveland User Group last week.  Led by superstars Luke Lehman (Sales Engineer), Shane Coleman (Sales Engineering Mgr), Joe Curley (Acct Mgr), and Dawn Dull (Field Marketing), the northern Ohio team absolutely rocked it with their event planning, preparation, and execution.  A few other F5 experts joined the party as well...people like Michael O'Neil, Diane Cawley, and Alan Riedford.  We feasted on local fare from the amazing LockKeepers restaurant in Cleveland, and everyone enjoyed lots of great F5 giveaways as well.  It was a team effort, and everyone did their part to make this event an eminent success.

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The event started with Luke Lehman welcoming everyone and introducing all the F5 employees.  He also talked about our annual Agility event and discussed why everyone should make it a priority to attend.  At Agility, we have customer lab days where you can get hands-on experience with all the F5 technology.  We offer certification exams so you can be one of the coveted F5 certified experts.  And, we have breakout sessions where you can learn all about F5 technology and other relevant industry topics.  After Luke finished, a customer from PNC Bank (Glenn, pictured below) shared about his experience at Agility and said that he's been to the Agility event four years in a row!  He especially loved the lab days and he told us that the entire event was very worthwhile.

Glenn - PNC

 

Next, the F5 Worldwide Security Evangelist, David Holmes (pictured below) got more than a little animated when talking DDoS, IP Intelligence, SSL, and other interesting security topics.  He even showed us a map of every place he had travelled...and puked!  That picture alone was worth the trip to Cleveland.  David shared some great information on DDoS attack targets and trends, and he told us about a F5 DDoS customer playbook that tells you exactly what to do in the event of a DDoS attack.  He also shared about F5's Secure Web Gateway, WebSafe, and our recent Defense.net acquisition.  F5 is definitely focused on security!

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After David finished talking about security, Chris from Cisco (pictured below) shared about the benefits of Cisco's Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) integration with F5.  He talked about application provisioning, cloud migration, virtualization, and other important points regarding ACI integration.  He also discussed how F5 extends Application Policy Infrastructure Controller (APIC) multi tenancy to the application layer.  Chris did an outstanding job with his presentation, and it's just a reminder of the power and effectiveness of the new Cisco/F5 partnership.

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I was the last speaker of the day, and I focused on what else...DevCentral!  Our site has seen several changes over the past few months, and I wanted to walk everyone through the process of "Experiencing DevCentral".  I received lots of great feedback, and our team will remain focused on keeping DevCentral the best community in the world.  At one point, I asked if anyone had a question, and one customer asked "Why doesn't every company have a community website as awesome as DevCentral?"  I thanked him for the question, and I talked about how it was a testament to the quality and expertise of every member of this community.  So, thanks for being awesome, and thanks for staying involved!

I'll end with this:  if you ever have a chance to attend a User Group in your area, make it a priority and go!