If you are in the IT Industry and have done anything with virtualisation, then you’ll know about VMworld. This blog post isn’t going to explain what you should bring to VMworld, what to do and what parties to attend… as that will be covered by lots of other people across the world. This blog post is more about reminiscing about previous VMworlds that I have attended.
For those of you that do not already know, VMworld is a customer conference organised by VMware. It runs twice a year, once in the US and once in Europe. It is the perfect opportunity for customers to meet with different vendors/partners to understand what technologies are coming to market. It’s also where VMware will make their major announcements of the year – similar to an Apple launch event. The conference is so much more than that though, there are hands-on labs that can be taken, there are breakout sessions available to learn about key topics… you can even sit an exam if you wanted. One of the main benefits of VMworld is the networking opportunities.
So as we head into VMworld season again, I’d like to go back to my first VMworld… this was back in 2011 at the last VMworld Europe to be hosted in Copenhagen. I remember being excited to be going to VMworld, although I was also a little nervous as I would be travelling to the conference on my own and wasn’t sure whether I would know anybody. I didn’t have any reason to worry, though… VMworld, just like my current employers VMware, is just a big family. I had spoken to and met with a couple of vendors before and therefore I bumped into some of those guys whilst taking in everything. Being an early adopter of Veeam Backup & Replication in the UK, the big party planned in Copenhagen was the Veeam party. This was staged in a relatively small bar, but at the time, the customer base for Veeam was quite small as well. There are a couple of memories from that party… from the larger than expected queues to get into the party, to the decision that the drink of the evening was Mojitos – but the bar could not cope with the time that it takes to make a Mojito. There were Russian ladies wearing outfits with letters on them that spelled out Veeam and bottles of Vodka being passed around to drink with the management team.
So those are my main memories from my first VMworld. I returned to VMworld Europe the next year when it started to be staged in Barcelona. This was a different experience altogether… firstly because the weather was distinctly warmer in Spain than Denmark. I remember the first time that I walked up to the Fira in Barcelona, with the curved glass walkway most prominent in my mind. The big VMworld stickers plastered all over the place and the shuttle buses running from the Fira to the subway station. I would say that it has taken a few years for VMworld Europe in Barcelona to develop and utilise the facility in the best way. Back during that first one in Barcelona, the breakout sessions were in the same place (as that’s the most logical place for them to be), the solutions exchange was over in the other part of the Fira (quite a long walk away) and the keynotes (and party) were hosted on the floor above the breakout sessions. The hands-on labs, partner lounge and alumni lounges were scattered over where the entrance for the current VMworld is located and the hang space was over that area as well. This didn’t seem to work very well and it’s good to see that the current design seems to work quite well.
I could go through and talk about each VMworld I have attended over the years but the stories would be similar to most experienced by people who have attended before. I have been lucky enough to have attended a VMworld in the US in 2015, the last one in San Francisco before it was moved to Las Vegas (and subsequently back to San Francisco this year). In fact, each VMworld has meant something different to me and has changed me in some way. Since 2011, I have attended a VMworld each year and the irony of it is, that the one year that I am unlikely to be attending, is the first year that I have actually been working for VMware.
VMworld can help you to make your mark… you just have to let it!!
VMworld US is taking place at The Moscone Center, San Francisco between 25th August 2019 and 29th August 2019
VMworld Europe is taking place at Fira de Barcelona – Gran Via between 4th November 2019 and 7th November 2019
You can book conference tickets at: www.vmworld.com