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Attend VMworld 2009

Posted on Thursday, June 18, 2009 | 3 Comments

Why come to VMworld 2009?

This morning on the VMTN podcast John Troyer stated it was time for some blogs post in the community on why go to VMworld. Hey, count me in.

I do feel that I am qualified to comment here. I am a VMworld Alumni, having attended the last 3 years. For two years it was funded by my employer (thanks guys). One year, because I was in the period of transition between two employers, my wife paid, serious. Don’t forget, I live in Australia so it’ not an inexpensive exercise. I have lived through and succeeded in the task of negotiating with my wife as to why I should invest in taking an overseas trip just to attend VMworld.

Here are some reasons why you should attend VMworld 2009.
  • With so many sessions and such a large section of vendors there WILL be relevant content to your needs and area of interest. You will come away with concrete things that will make a difference. Every year VMworld has set my agenda for the next 12 months, none more than last year!
  • In the current economic client we need to bring solutions to the business and not problems. Everyone knows virtualisation is one of the few areas that can bring returns to the business with short ROI. Yes you have already virtualised, but how much, 20%? How are you going to get to 90%? VMworld is a smart investment to achieve some business savings.
  • The exhibition hall has all the vendors you could ever want to talk to in regards to VMware. You can cover a lot of companies in a short period of time. At VMworld they have their best people on the stand who know their stuff. You can fast track your information gathering.
  • You are a geek, you love technology and you love VMware. Don’t kid yourself you are reading this blog post from some weird guy in Australia, you ARE a VMware geek. Being a VMware geek you just have to be part of the action. This is where it is at peoples, the announcements, the vendors, the personalities, the competitive shenanigans of Microsoft. If you want your bit of geek heaven, there is no better place to get it.
  • Tried and tested. VMworld has been at the Moscone center before. It had its challenges but that’s my point, its tested. VMware knows what works and what does not in the facility. It should be one smooth running conference. I also think that the San Fran had the best food out of the lot.
  • Thanks to the GFC, deals on flights and accommodation are never going to be better. This is the most least expensive time that there will be to get there!
  • You can bring your spouce. Now you wife (or husband) may not get the VMware thing but some time in San Francisco might be welcomed. Crystal Lowe (wife of Scott) is organising spouce events again this year.
Now that you have been convinced you need to attend, here are my tips for attending VMworld.
  • Book you sessions early. They fill up and you want to get in on the good ones.
  • Go for sessions that are technology preview, you will have to read between the lines on some of the descriptions. Think about is this one that it would be good to see in person versus watching the slide deck four weeks later.
  • Go to sessions where you can meet good people, like the people that write the code. They have insights and tips, that’s why you are there.
  • Go to sessions that are relevant to your work. It’s great to come back with something that you can action or share with your peers. In the session talk to the people around you or the speaker. They are there because they are interested in the topic too. You will get insights and contacts that will be helpful.
  • Ask a question in the sessions. Don’t ask stupid or obscure questions, ask ones that will suit the whole audience not just you, but ask one you care about. It helps the speaker and everyone else.
  • Arrive a day or two early and play tourist. This way you are fresh and can register before the crowds. VMworld is exhausting and most people get little sleep. If you plan on doing things afterwards you will probably just spend the time sleeping off the exhaustion.
  • Spend lots of time in the exhibit hall and talk to people on the stands. There are a lot of interesting people, tell them your issues and get their insights, ask how things may work in your environment. I find you need to do the whole thing a few times. Take a friend. I still remember walking up to the VMware booth and talking to a guy who was demoing Fusion and the mutli-head support. I like fusion and told him how sweet the new feature was. The guy just grinned, his eyes widened with pride and he said, “I wrote the code!”. The guy was so excited to share his contribution and tell me all about how awesome it was and you could see the boyish excitement on his face. Priceless.
  • Have spare space in your luggage for goodies, mainly books. If you are into such things you can grab a lot of free stuff. However I always collect up on a few books which are heavy and take up space. Then there is the VMware gear. My laptop bag, which is now getting a little tired, I picked up at VMworld and it has the VMware logo embroided on it.
  • Stay close by. It saves on travel costs and travel time. One of the hotels that has the busses is fine too. Its great to be able to whip back to drop some stuff off, like your laptop, because you don’t need it for the rest of the day.
  • Organise your parties and events. Hook up with the vendors and get into the right parties. This is more key if you are a Partner but there are a lot of great parties where you can have some fun but continue to network and talk shop a bit.
  • Find your peers. As a partner one thing I love about VMworld is getting to spend some time with my competitors who are very smart and nice people. During the day our companies fight it out but at VMworld we get to talk shop and technology with people who really understand our jobs, market and vendors as intimately as we do, which is very rare. You can leave your ego at the door, not be competitive and not discuss confidential matters of course. You will be amazed at just how helpful dialog like this is to your daily job. I imagine if you are a customer then find people in the same space (they will be in those sessions you are in or the birds of a feather sessions) and you will have the same results.
  • Sort out your IT and communications. This is mainly for international travelers. Power adapters, roaming on your mobile, internet access, you want all of your IT to work whilst you are there. Then you communications. Do you have the mobile numbers of all the people you may want to be in contact with whilst you are there.
If you can’t afford to go, do one of two things. You can purchase the virtual attendance so you get access to the session recordings. They may take a little while to be available but the content is great and you will use it all year.

What if you can’t do that. Do what I did, tell your boss straight, if you don’t go you will resign. That’s what I did and I mean it, and he knows it too! (Note to Andrew, my boss. Yes I know I have a lot of work to do but I am writing this on the bus on the way home. You know, I WILL resign!)

Just don’t use that tactic with your wife.

See you there.


UPDATE : To add in the spouce activities.


  1. I wish I could join the session every year, but unfortunately, it is not happening for me. Economy just too bad and we could not effort to attend this. Wish they will do 1 in asia pacific in the near future if possible

  2. Don't forget Developer's day:

  3. Anonymous11:27 am

    Will VMware ever come out with a Iphone app to manage it's VMware products?


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