As most of you already know VMworld 2017 was at Las Vegas and Barcelona this year. i had the privilege to be selected as a featured blogger this year for the Vegas conference. The Conference was huge, the booze was expensive and the memories where plentiful!
The Community presence this year was truly off the hook. You can feel that the conference while still being technology driven *Obviously* was alot more community driven. You had a big difference this year in the layout of the floor. last year the VM village ( The hang space ) was located on the second floor, Where it was really out of sight out of mind. This year it was in the same space as the Solution exchange, This led way to massive amounts of people not only participating in the community area of VMworld but also attending the fantastic community sessions at the VbrownBag Techtalk community.
That being said i also had the great privilege of being selected to speak at the VbrownBag Techtalks! If you want to check that out it is on YouTube below.
The Solutions Exchange
The solutions exchange was pretty standard this year. with a couple of great exceptions. First off the elephants in the room, Most of the well-known vendors came out in force, you had the Dell/EMC booth’s and the IBM of the world, but the real bread and butter for me was the new innovator booths. There was a lot of great small vendors this year accompanied with some really awesome tech.
Most of the smaller vendors i managed to get video interviews with that i am currently still working on and should have up within the week.
As always there was some fantastic Entertainers this year at the booth. Being in Las Vegas you have a lot of magicians and most of these guys are pro’s they are funny and truly amazing at what they do.
My personal favorite is Rob Strong @RobertStrong from the Lenovo booth. The guy is funny as hell and his tricks no matter how many times you see them really are top-notch and hard to catch onto. If you haven’t seen him go on twitter and give him a follow he is great.
And then probably the most surprising performer i saw this year was at the NetApp booth, they had an amazing violinist that was doing some crazy synth while drawing in huge crowds. I didn’t have the chance to catch her name but i did get a video of her performing Not a very good one but a video none the less.
The day one keynote was pretty good there was a couple of huge announcements made some we expected but confirmed. But first there was a crazy cello rock duo and a VR street painter fellow that did a pretty cool intro.
First off VMware on AWS was probably the biggest announcement of the Las Vegas show IMHO. I think it is just another way VMware is adapting to stay relevant. Working with AWS will ensure that VMware is relevant in the next era tech. It is a smart move on their part. But that was just one announcement.
There was also an announcement about App-Defense a cool feature that allows the hyper-visor Layer to look into the guest VM and establish a pattern of behavior for the guest applications. https://appdefense.vmware.com/
They were really pushing hard the NSX agenda VMware has been working hard on. which they should, IMHO if you do not run NSX you are behind on networking.
I attended three parties this year.
The VMUG party was pretty cool they had Michael Dell come out on stage and address the crowd which was cool for him to show his community love. I go to the VMUG party to put the faces to the names i see on twitter and touch base with some awesome networking opportunity.
The Zerto Party was off the hook they had a band called Voyage (A journey cover band) Which if i was a little more drunk i probably would have thought was actually Journey, that was an awesome party it was hosted at the house of blues at The Mandalay bay. I will try to get the video posted tonight or tomorrow.
This was my first Year as a VExpert and i had the opportunity to go to the VExpert party. It was by far my favorite party. Not only did i get to meet the titans of the VExpert community but it was a good time to just sit there and have a real chat with some true innovators and real community warriors. It was at the Pinball museum in Vegas which was awesome. they had over 100 different pinball machines from vintage to new. and also some very creepy dancing clown and Zoltar Machine. All in all the best party this year hands down.
In Conclusion thanks for an awesome VMworld this year. Hope to see everyone there again next year in Las Vegas.
1. Networking – This is a huge one every year close to 10,000 VMware geeks gather in one place for a 4-day extravaganza! They opportunity for networking is the best it will ever be, walking around talking to random people can be a little daunting but the best way to network is to sit at a random table during lunch. Everyone will welcome you and you just potentially made 8 new friends. If you only had one mission at VMworld I think this should be it. But there is a close second a VERY VERY close second.
2. Breakout session – These bad boys are the bread and butter of VMworld. If you are an introvert and hate talking to people but love technical content. This is where you will spend most of your days. The breakout sessions are sorted in a way from novice skill level to expert. If you want the most up to date information on the current technology of VMware and beyond the breakouts are the thing for you. Depending on the skill level selected you will get instructors that most of the time helped create the product the session is based on, and can tell you first-hand how it runs because they designed it. A lot of these breakout sessions are based on community speakers also. So, if you are looking for some career advice, or maybe just feeling a little stuck in your growth as a professional this is the place to be.
3. Hands on Labs – if the above is not an interest to you then the HOL section will surely do the trick. These bad boys are also available online. But at the HOL Section of VMworld they will have all the labs available and if needed they will have someone walk through them with you. I always love the HOL from VMware and an added bonus is they are nearly identical to some of the advanced professional level tests.
4. vBrownBag – vBrownBag sets up at every technology convention it seems like. But that by no means is a bad thing. If you haven’t heard of vBrownBag then I would look it up. It is a community driven project that is focused on technology, not just from VMware but a smorgasbord of companies. They will let anyone talk about any technology related subject (i.e. Certifications, Technology, Career, design) they are a pinnacle of the VMware community and you will get to see them in action the whole week.
5. Technology – Some people may be wondering why this isn’t higher on the list. I mean VMworld at its core is a technology conference, right? We’ll all the technology keynotes and announcement will be readily available across the world almost instantly. BUT that doesn’t mean it isn’t cool as hell when you hear the CEO of VMware announce something in the moment. And Most of the time there is an exclusive VMworld HOL or some sort of session that goes more in-depth about the product being announced. But even if we step back from the VMware products for a Second. There is A LOT of vendors at VMworld, some are big like EMC NETAPP and HP. But a vast majority of them are small vendors most still in ABC funding period. This is where the innovation is coming from, that is the future of technology in my opinion. So, going to VMworld to hear the keynote is great. But the real win is seeing the small vendors and vetting out the future technology we will be seeing.
6. Keynotes – The keynotes are great you get the announcement the moment it leaves the speakers mouth. And that is pretty cool. Being a newbie blogger I love getting that first tweet out about the new product someone announces or the awesome catchphrase someone used in a slide.
7. IT’S VEGAS BABY! – Going to VMworld is not an ordinary week. You will be talking, screaming, laughing and depending on how much you drink potentially crying. The whole climate of Vegas is just different. From the moment, you touch down at McCarran you see the big Historical “Welcome to Vegas” sign and from that point on where ever you came from will forgotten until the flight back. The lights are bright, the people are rude and the slots are noisy in Vegas. So, getting a chance to see a city that truly never sleeps is an awesome experience.
8. Discounts – This point might seem strange. Why travel to Vegas for discounts on VMware course material? Well that is because the course discounts and certification discounts are notable. There are discounts on VMware training, VMware certifications, Books, Potential Vendors products and much more. All vary in size. If I recall last year there was 50% off Exams and 20% off all books in the VMware store. Also, that isn’t even going into the savings from vendors if you meet with them and have a meaningful conversation. How much can you potentially save on that SolarWinds license if you have a 30-minute conversation with the engineer who made it?
9. The Parties – Out of all the tech conferences I have been to VMworld has the best parties by far. And it’s not just VMworld ran also. There is a lot of vendor and community parties available the whole week. The best vendor party by far and one that must be attended is the Veeam party. It is off the hook. About 1000 people good music awesome food and a river of alcoholic beverages. If you are a VMUG member there is a VMUG party also It is smaller but still awesome. There are people from all over the VMUG nation attending and usually have some special guests show up also. The big shabang is the VMworld Party. Last year it was at Las Vegas speedway and they had Fallout Boy headlining which was OK but the place was cool. In the vender of the speed way they had 2 DJ’s and people were allowed to go on the track in some underpowered track cars.
10. Tax Deduction – If your employer wont front the cost of going to Vmworld that is OK because it is all tax-deductible. So you may get a portion of that expense back. Just make sure you save your receipts! Obviously, I am not a tax professional so check with them. But in Massachusetts it is a tax deduction.
Last chance to get the Early bird discount for Vmworld Ends Monday 6/12/17 Register below!
I was interested to see if they would make any major announcements about private cloud offerings, maybe something like a major VSAN upgrade. But maybe that is too small for a major conference keynote but I don’t think so!
One major announcement at VMworld was Cross-Cloud platform VCloud. I thought this was awesome announcement managing all your cloud environments through VCloud will give VMware customers the ability to not only have a familiar platform for their cloud services but also not feel tied down to a single cloud service or having to manage multiple cloud services all from different locations. I truly believe a hybrid solution of private and public cloud will be the future for IT and business. It just makes sense. have the tier 1 apps private and have dev and lower tiered apps running public.
All in all the announcements were good but not really what I wanted to see.
This was my first VMworld and also my first conference of this size. When I walked into the sponsor showroom it was kind of overwhelming at first. never really seen booths this big in size and very elaborate. It seemed like these vendors all brought their A game for VMworld, full-size demo’s, product reviews every hour on the hour. and awesome giveaways for attendees. It also seemed like every vendor had a magician, which was awesome. most of the time they would do some cool tricks without even giving a product pitch. If I had to rank one vendor who went above and beyond this year it had to have been Veeam. their booth was awesome. Their Magician was amazing and their sales and tech staff were able to answer every question I had.
As for the technology that was front and center this year, One was converged infrastructure. VCE/EMC was Showing off top tier products at top tier prices, VXrail, VMax, and VBlock. Truly a great solution depending on the business you are running but also expensive. Hyper-Converged infrastructure was heavily present. With great companies like Simplivity, Nutanix, and VMwares VSAN. I was personally interested in learning these products just to expand my own knowledge of the technology and products.
The gatherings where awesome this year I met a lot of really smart and cool people. The Veeam party was off the hook, an awesome DJ, some wicked cool violinist, and cellist. Not to mention the full bar which is awesome. They had these awesome synchronized bracelets that were controlled by the DJ so the room was lighting up together it was a really cool to see! Whether or not you use Veeam as a product or not one thing is clear, THEY THROW AWESOME PARTIES!
VMworld was an awesome experience. The networking, the atmosphere, and the venue were a sight to see. Will I be going back next year? Most definitely I can’t wait. if you love technology and shooting the shit with people then VMWorld is an awesome experience and one that you should have..