One of the biggest benefits to a customer with Cisco and Microsoft is that you are actually able to meet with a lot of experts on different topics and to have deep dives into technical topics.
With Fortinet this does not exist for a customer, only partner can apparently attend the Expert Academy, as well as the Accelerate was denied to us. Which I was lucky, because there were no deep dives, except for the pre-conf workshops that I have not heard about.
When will Fortinet offer customers access to this kind of material and sessions. I hope that I am not the only customer that would appreciate this greatly.
For the Fortinet Accelerate 2018, there are plans to opening it up to the end-user community. From the past, we had both business and technical tracks, with deep dive technical workshops.
If you are in the USA and Canada, we do have the FortiExpress Tour, which we have technical training workshop available for both channel partners and end-users The FortiExpress scheduled is on the public www.fortinet.com site.
There is an user forum and workshop, which will be kicked of in June. More information will be provided on this Fuse Community.
Thanks for the information. I really hope Fortinet continues to grow and build what others have done in the past, as I really believe that Microsoft TechEd or Cisco Live are excellent as they cover multi-purpose needs. Marketing, Solution presentations from 3rd parties, expert round tables, best practices, certifications, labs, pre-conf deep dive tech day, meet the expert, meet product managers, sessions from 100 (intro) to 400 (advanced).
When I was reviewing the slides of Accelerate I was disappointed by their content, not a single one went beyond 200. I cannot say anything about the pre-conf days, as I have had only a single feedback (which was great), but I would not be willing to attend a conference for a single day of depth and knowledge, where all other sessions were intro or slightly above.
But the Xpert Academy days seem to be the real deal. I only have seen some slides and would say they were level 300, not sure about the whole conference. But that could be depth, so a combination of Xpert Days and Accelerate in one conference would be going to be like Microsoft or Cisco. Both events are attended by Customers and Consultants from many companies including employees. Fortinet seems to be really segregated in terms of what is for customers and what is for partners, the xpert days require at least a NSE 4, (which I'm going to attempt next tuesday), but for many colleagues of mine they will never do a certification and still are experts and attend 400 level sessions without any problem. I do understand the need for a vendor to require partners to have certification levels, but maybe for customers the rules should be more lax. Moderation is the key to any good event, or platform, i.e. to ensure filtering out the spam.
Not sure that user groups are a big contributor, usually they lack some quality and are extremely dependent on a few key players.
I'm surprised by the many many different initiatives, which seem not coherent as of yet, but Fortinet is trying hard. Which is good.
Pat, Thank you for your valuable feedback. Good luck for your NSE 4 certification.
You're post thrilled me! I started with Fortinet as the Director of Events in January (the week after Accelerate), and the issues you bring up validate what I'm working on for the event next year. Mark you calendar for February 26 - March 1, and watch for more news coming soon.
Just wanted to know if there are any updates?
As of today Ím NSE4/5 and 7 certified, going to deploy around 8 FG1500D and 20 small E models and am craving for more in detail information.
It is a shame that we do not get access to the xpert academy slides and presentation as a customer.
We are doing tests with 5.6.2 and find quite a lot not properly documented, having to open support tickets and getting vague information to what it should actually do. Wating a good amount of our and the supports time.
Looking forward to getting more detailed and technical access also as a customer.
Pat, as Rodney mentioned, we are working on enabling the local user groups where customers can meet, network and collaborate with other customers on technical topics. Based on your location, I recommend you to join the Agora Group (Special interest groups) for Fortinet customers who are NSE 4 and above certified. Also, please stay tuned for a local user group that will soon be available for a city near you.