Part 2 in the vHeroes series vHero 3: David Bieneman

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Vizioncore growing and expanding as a company and a team!

In 2005 I switched jobs and start working for PQR. As you could expect the Vizioncore software was already a part of the PQR Portfolio. I used a backup procedure called 1-2 Backup as I already described in the Vhero series part 1 Scott Herold.

David visited the PQR office January 6 2006 with the VP of Global Sales Chris Akerberg. From that day PQR was officially a Vizioncore partner! A few weeks later I received this message:

Greetings to all Vizioncore partners!

I’ve been running around the country / world lately evangelizing Vizioncore and VMware. Growth in product, sales and people inside Vizioncore is happening fast. We have about 1000 VMware clients now and over 13,000 esxRanger licenses out there. Additionally, esxRanger Professional is now Virtual Center aware, has database recording & reporting and policy based runtime rules!!!!

Thanks to you all and to the community for backing us and helping to make our products better!

Questions to David: What would you say were the best things about Vizioncore from a technology development perspective?

DSC02477

The best thing was that we just managed to assemble a really great group of people on the development side who were not intimidated by anything. I give Jason Mattox and Dave Feathergill major props for that, especially when you think about how young we all were. We did not take the traditional path – but it seems we were made out of entrepreneurial stuff even then.

So, if we could imagine a software product or feature, the next thing was to go ahead and create it. No barriers, no red tape. We didn’t have anyone telling us, ‘No, that what we wanted to do was not going to fit into some corporate business model somewhere.’ Another point I want to make is that our competition helped keep us sharp. There was a product that popped up called esxPress. It was rumored they were creating a backup product like ours that also used differential technology. Well that put a fire under us and got us moving even faster with the threat of backups being much smaller and faster over our full image backups. So we pushed to develop our own differential technology and then our own in-the-guest quiescing technology. That really kept us ahead. But the community was part of the driver for all the innovation. Ideas were coming from everywhere.

Questions to David: What would you say were the best things about Vizioncore from a people perspective?

There are just so many good things to say about all the people who were associated with Vizioncore from the beginning. First, we were really lucky to get Chris Akerberg to head up our sales operation. I had worked with Chris previously, and I just had tremendous respect for the way he focused on business. Once we convinced Chris to come over, he brought many of his sales colleagues with him, and put a great internal team in place, who, by the way, did not understand virtualization either at the beginning. It was just so new at the time. So our early team deserved high marks for how quickly they got up to speed on something hardly anyone understood at the time.

We knew too, being a little start up, that our success depended on having a really strong channel, and I have to say, in this regard, Chris really stepped it up and deserves recognition for pulling that together and making our partner network so strong, as he did even from the beginning. That’s how I was able to meet so many great people all over the world, like you Peter, who share the passion for technology. Some of my best, longest relationships are still with the partners we recruited in the early Vizioncore days. I have had so much fun along the way.

There’s another point I want to make about the way our people worked together then and the way we continue to work together now. We see our partners as an extension of our internal staff. There is no separation. Our success is their success and vice versa. When you are starting out in an early adopter market, you have to surround yourself with very smart people, and we did that both with our employees and with our partners.

In the picture the 2007 Vizioncore Chigaco Crew.

2007 Vizioncore Chicago crew

The final thing I want to really stress is that integrity and loyalty are also very high on our list. We believe in relationships for the long haul — that are enduring – and you can only keep relationships strong by keeping faith with others’ interests as well as your own.

Chris en David

David and Chris Akerberg President and COO @ Liquidware Labs

Scott en David

Vizioncore was a company that had an awesome crew. Too much names to mention them all but one name stands out for me! Scott Bennett the big guy, not only in size andweight 😉 but certainly in passion to make the company he works for successful. I had the pleasure to meet members of the Vizioncore crew on several occasions in the US and across Europe.

Question to Scott Bennett: Could you describe how you have experienced the adventure called Vizioncore?

The “Adventure called Vizioncore”? Wow, to honestly and thoroughly address this question would take a book (hmmm…now there is an idea J). To try to summarize it as briefly as possible, I would say it started back in late 2004, right before the large “Virtualization Server Evolution” took place. At that time, Dave was a consultant at a very large bank in Chicago and realized that if they were going to implement server virtualization as part of their long term strategy, they would need a simple, effective and reliable way to back up these Virtual Machines, something that wasn’t readily available back then. Originally meant as a “break fix solution” for his important client, Dave and a few friends created a quick and easy backup product for the bank. From there, the “Light bulb” immediately went off as he quickly realized that his early version worked so well (a number scripts covered by a user friendly GUI) that he soon realized that anyone globally (from SMB to Enterprise) would be tasked with the same challenge and now would have a way of backing up VMs without costly or complex agents…..and so began…the “Vizioncore Adventure”!

Shortly after that point, I joined Vizioncore (with several other former colleagues of David) in late 2005 and then I would say that the “perfect storm of events” took place. In other words, we were able to bring the right backup product (Easy, reliable and affordable) to the market with the right team (Sales, Marketing, Support, Operations and Development) at the right time (just after VMware started growing astronomically) and everything started taking off like a “Rocket Ship” for ourselves! For me personally, the thing that really escalated our success (specifically in Europe) was the channel model we implemented and the amazing partners we recruited and aligned with (like PQR at the time in the Netherlands). All these factors contributed into making Vizioncore (ESX Ranger) the most successful and popular back up tool for the VMware platform Worldwide at its time. Of course we added other solutions to fill other needs (i.e. Monitoring, replication, automation, etc.) but Ranger was truly the main catalyst that jumpstarted and kept “The Adventure” running throughout the main Vizioncore years.

Looking back, those were the most amazing times in my professional career. Because of this “Adventure”, I have had the honor and pleasure of meeting so many talented individuals and organizations in the industry as well as experiencing incredible successes with partners and customers. In addition, there were milestones like winning countless awards for innovation, having “legendary parties” with partners/customers and doing cool things like having great giveaways at events (i.e. I once had the pleasure of raffling off a Harley Davidson back at VMworld 2009 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ErtVZzcpvFY ). Of course, the biggest satisfaction overall in all of this was taking a company “virtually from scratch” and building it into a global company with YOY triple digit growth and ultimately being acquired by a large Software Vendor. So….unfortunately our adventure came to an end several years ago and I will leave it up to bloggers and “speculators” on what contributed to that and how that happened but in the end, it was an “Amazing Adventure” and I am proud of what we were able to achieve together and that I lived/contributed to pretty much all of it 🙂

And what is making it special to work with David?

Well, to start off, he is a very special and unique person! I remember David as a teenager (he was our Network Admin at our old Local Distribution company in the Chicago area in the Mid 90s (back in the old “Build a white box PC days” and when it was actually profitable). Back then as he was fixing my workstation/PC, I could tell that he was “beyond his years” and always had an answer to ANYTHING technical I would ask him and I sincerely mean that, in fact I don’t think there was ever something that he couldn’t answer at the time. Furthermore, he “Spearheaded” many new strategic technical initiatives for us at the time like bringing in Terminal Services with Citrix and introducing a very high end server line (with multiple RAID configs) that were quite new and innovative at the time so he was already “thinking about the future challenges back then and how to address them with the latest technology”.

Fast forward during our time at Vizioncore (and now at Liquidware Labs) he was and is always looking for ways to improve technology and help users solve problems “ahead of their time”. Even today or during our peak years at Vizioncore, he was never too proud or busy to “get his hands dirty” and would always “rip apart the software himself” when he found the time to help look for bugs or to try to make the software more intuitive and user friendly. He takes everything personal and if his software does not perform to the standards that he would expect it to perform as if he developed it he will go back to development/QA and ask for changes… so there is always the drive to improve every aspect of it, no matter how minute the detail.

However, if I had to use one main characteristic that makes it “Special” to work with David Bieneman I would use “Passion”. He is so inspirational and I don’t think I have ever met anyone more passionate who sincerely believes in what he is doing and how he wants to help remove barriers and innovate the world we live in. You can already tell that once he gets going in one of his speeches about our solutions or where the market is heading, you can feel the passion in him and it is 100% legitimate….no “Snake Oil Salesman” act and he truly believes in everything we (he) are trying to achieve as an organization and genuinely cares about what we do and how we do it. This passion and care doesn’t end with technology…it translates to how he treats us as colleagues and his workforce as well. As a family man, David understands the pressures of our daily lives and he has always made sure (whenever possible) that we have “Family events” so we can step back and realize that there is more to our daily stresses and tasks of our work and to take the time to appreciate each other as human beings and colleagues including our families.

Finally, I have known David for about 17 years now and I have nothing but respect, admiration and love for his contributions to the technology (more specifically virtualization) market and hope that we can last another 17 years together. We are currently at the beginning of a new (The “Liquidware Labs Adventure”) and there is no doubt in my mind that in time, we will mirror the success of Vizioncore and even if/when that adventure comes to an end someday, I have this sneaking suspicion that (just like “Indiana Jones”) there is always time for one more exciting adventure to embark together in the future!

I really appreciate the input and time Scott Bennett put into this interview! Some relationships with US companies are based on a virtual friendship but not whit Scott! He became a real friend during the years we worked together!

The next few years I worked as a consultant at PQR with the Vizioncore tools. Not all of them where successful but always with the support of the Vizioncore crew. Vizioncore became a part of Quest and Invertus became a part of Vizioncore. September 2007 I even considered working for Vizioncore as a SE.

September 2008 David left Vizioncore. David took a sabbatical year and spend quality time with his familiy and friends.

I lost contact for a short period of time. En then David suddenly surfaced again! In a small booth at VMworld he promoted two things Liquidware Labs and VDI.COM. Pleasure an excitement all over the place!

Want to know more? Stay tuned for part 3 of the David Bieneman vHero adventures!

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