The VAR Guy just got home from VMware Partner Exchange. He'll recharge for the next day then continue on to IBM PartnerWorld (Feb. 15) before checking out the new MSPmentor 100 list (Feb. 16). Busy times, but fun times. Here are six channel partner blog entries The VAR Guy didn't have time to write for the week ending Feb. 11, 2011.

7. Strangely Silent: What ever happened to Microsoft's Small Business Server code-named Aurora? The release was supposed to link SBS to a range of cloud services. But Microsoft hasn't said much about the SBS hybrid cloud effort in recent weeks. Intel is working on a similar effort, aptly called Intel Hybrid Cloud. The VAR Guy is seeking updates on both items.

6. The Channel's Best Friend?: SMB Nation has unveiled Astro, a wood statue (see photo) on Bainbridge Island, Wash. Astro is an English Springer Spaniel company mascot. The VAR Guy is warming up his chain saw and contemplating his own piece of wood art.

5. Ante Up: The VAR Guy has confirmed plans to attend the Intel Solutions Summit channel partner gathering Feb. 27-28 in Las Vegas. Our resident blogger couldn't turn down the opportunity to be around all those chips...

4. It's a Blue World After All?: The VAR Guy is heading to IBM PartnerWorld in Orlando on Feb. 14... not exactly a romantic destination for Valentine's Day. But there should be plenty of updates on IBM's channel strategy in the next few days. Stay tuned.

3. Reality Check: Cisco Systems' latest earnings outlook disappointed Wall Street. Cisco blamed the weakness on a a government IT spending slowdown. But some folks wonder if Hewlett-Packard is putting some competitive pressure on Cisco. Hmmm... Perhaps some answers will surface at Cisco Partner Summit (Feb. 28-March 3, New Orleans). The VAR Guy is checking...

2. Gathering feedback: Microsoft is surveying channel reporters and even anonymous bloggers to get their perspectives on the software giant and the Microsoft Partner Network. The VAR Guy offered some feedback today. Our resident blogger will share more details with readers next week.

1. Check the Headline: This remains a top-six list. Always has been. Always will be. So there is no number one.

Time for The VAR Guy to unplug... just for a little bit. Thanks for reading.

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