Are you an IT Professional with a passion for VMware? Do you have an interest in Virtualization? Do you want to learn more about VMware?
What is VMworld and why should you attend
If you are involved with Virtualization in any shape or form, be it: a customer, partner, reseller, techie, operations, design, architect or business decision maker then you will stand to gain a great deal from attending the conference.
You will be able to: rub shoulders with the vRockstars, learn what’s new, receive hands-on-training, get certified, attend technical deep-dives, review partner solutions, network with others in the industry and come away with a wealth of experience that will benefit you in your career as an IT Professional. There are usually big announcements made at the Keynote speech which puts you at the absolute forefront of emerging technology. There is literally something for everyone which is what makes it such a great event to be at…and there is also an awesome party on the penultimate evening which is a blast!
The main points on the agenda this year are:
- Software-Defined Enterprise
- Public and Hybrid Cloud
- End-User Computing
- Cloud Native Applications
The problem I had, when I went, was that there was so much to do and see but only one of me. I was torn between technical sessions, labs, visiting the solutions exchange and many other activities. One of the best things about VMworld is that the sessions are recorded and labs are made available so you can go back and participate in the ones you missed a later date, which means you don’t have to miss out on anything!
My previous experience
My first experience of VMworld was back in 2013 when I was lucky enough to be sent by my employer. The Fia Gran Via in Barcelona is a massive place and the buzz there was fantastic.
I was not prepared for the welcome and mass organisation of the event as a whole. Turning up for registration was a really smooth process and being given a free backpack with a few goodies in was a nice surprise; I still use the backpack and water bottle to this day (much to my wife’s dismay!)
There is so much information readily available beforehand, it makes it really easy to prepare for the event. This year’s sessions are all listed in the VMworld 2015 Content Catalog and are available to view now. When I went, I used the online Schedule Builder to book my seat on a number of sessions that interested me. This year’s sessions and labs will be available to plan through the 2015 Schedule Builder which is going to be released on July 21st for USA and 18th August for Europe.
Being at the event and seeing the big news around version 5.5 and NSX was invigorating. It grew my excitement around the products and gave me a thirst to return back to work ready to take on new challenges and technologies. Not only this, but I feel that my company benefited from me going as I came back with fresh ideas and motivation to make improvements and recommendations. Luckily I didn’t have to work hard to convince my managers to let me attend, as they understood the benefits having previously sent other colleagues. However, if you need to provide a little extra persuasion, the convince your boss template that VMworld provides is ready on hand.
There is a lot to take into consideration when planning to attend the conference. In order to help you get the most out of it, here are my top 10 tips:
- Register for the event early – If you can, get the early bird pass, as there is a nice discount for early registration. Even if you don’t get the early bird it can still work out cheaper the sooner you put your name down.
- Book a hotel quickly – I signed up late in 2013 and I had to commute in 20 minutes from my hotel as most places nearby had been booked. It wasn’t the end of the world but would have been nice to be closer to the main event.
- Arrange Travel – I tried to fly from an airport close to me rather than one out of London. This didn’t work out so well as I had to stop off in Amsterdam and my return home flights were delayed. I’d have rather flown direct to a bigger airport in hindsight.
- Use Schedule Builder – Take time to research what sessions there are and which ones you want to attend. Make sure you build that schedule and book your place ASAP. The popular ones can fill up fast!
- Download the App – There is a useful app for iPhone and Android which syncs your event calendar. It really helps organise your day and you’ll always know when and where you need to be.
- Don’t rush home – I booked a flight on the Thursday afternoon/evening to return home. I wish I hadn’t as I missed out on the last session of the day as I didn’t want to miss my (DELAYED!) flight. Make sure you experience the whole event.
- Don’t cram sessions – It’s very tempting, with all all the great sessions available, to over schedule your day. My downfall was that I booked so much I gave myself too little time between sessions. Whilst it was awesome to learn so much, I struggled to get from session to session as the conference is massive and I started to tire out a little on the third day. Give yourself a break, sessions can always be watched later. Make sure your day has variety: take some time to sit and digest, go get hands on with a lab or partake in a QuickTalk!
- Attend the party – The big party on the Wednesday was great fun: bands were playing, drinks were flowing, people were chatting and networking. Don’t be scared to get involved!
(Party goers removed to protect their identity)
- Visit the Solutions Exchange – There are a lot of big name partners at the event. Make sure you visit any who you are interested in and talk to their sales/tech guys. A lot can be learned from a 10 minute conversation and might make the difference when making your next purchase! There are also some prize giveaways and swag to be had if you keep your eyes peeled!Disclaimer: This swag was not all commandeered by me, it was a team effort!
- Meet the Experts – Head over to the expert area and talk with the guys who are most passionate about VMware. Ask those difficult questions that no one else can answer or just get honest advice. This is your prime opportunity to talk with people at the top of the game.
I am super excited about attending this year, especially as I have the opportunity to see the event on its home soil! I’ve been to San Francisco once before when I was a teenager so being able to go back there is going to be great. I’m hoping to meet new people, learn new things and perhaps make some new friends along the way – as that is what the event is all about!
I’ll be posting more of my experiences as I continue to make arrangements for this year, so please watch this space!