VMworld-US 2018 Thoughts, A Week Later

A week ago, VMworld-US for 2018 wrapped up, and I have been slowly collecting my thoughts throughout the week to try and put out a meaningful blog post about my experience this year. While I was there I passed the VCP6.5-DCV delta exam. I’ve heard other people say the the delta exams are tougher, and they certainly were not wrong. Now I will be able to focus on getting the latest 6.5 VCAPs for the data center virtualization. I was also able to meet several other vExperts in the community, along with seeing old friends from years past. I was able to go out and celebrate with my new team at the end of the week which is always nice.

VMworld-US this year was a bit of a mixed bag, and it felt like it had lost its swagger. The half baked point system the events team dreamed up was just that. It certainly wasn’t thought out enough as only a few vendors participated. I guess you don’t know until you try, but hopefully it won’t make a return next year. If you did participate however, the swag that the VMworld team handed out was well worth it. The socks, laptop sleeve, and insolated bottle were all top notch. I was excited to get the VR headset, but disappointed that it doesn’t fit larger phones like the Nexus 6p. The solutions exchange was much more reserved compared to previous years. I am happy to see the continued support for those authors in the vCommunity, by encouraging book signings, and a meet and greet with the authors.

VMware did have some good announcements this year however. VMware ESXi 64-bit support on Arm processors, Amazon Relational Database service on VMware, and vSphere platinum to name a few. The keynotes themselves were great, but I much rather enjoyed last years opening act more, when VMware entertained the crowd with virtual reality. It felt more edgy and futuristic. This year it was rather slow, and they just seemed to jump right into the keynote.

The guest speaker on Wednesday’s keynote was Malala Yousafzai, who was there to speak about her own struggles in her home country Pakistan, and the attempt on her life because she shares the beliefs of the modern world, where women have equal opportunities, both in career and education. But with so many other women actually in the tech industry, and the push for getting younger girls interested in technology, was she really the best choice? I’m not discrediting the hardships she went through in her own country, but what was the point in bringing all of that to a technology conference? To me it felt a little weird having her interviewed by someone who’s home country of India, to this day, still allows the practice of marriage arrangements. Maybe I was the only one who cared to look at the finer details of the exchange. The additional security and screening to have Malala there, caused too much congestion for attendees to get in. Most ended up skipping out on going to main stage for the keynote. The event itself, felt like the popularity of the speaker, outweighed the value to attendees.

I’m still on the fence about the VMworld fest this year, and I’m certainly not alone according to this reddit thread. Royal machines put on a good show for the most part, but with retirees taking the stage, it wasn’t the best show unless you just wanted to re-live the 90’s.

Blink 182 and Fallout Boy of previous years I felt were far better venues and locations. On the other side of screen in the picture below was the main stage, which most people couldn’t get to, so this was their only viewing option. It looks packed, and certainly was at the beginning, but when I left halfway through the set, this side of the screen was almost cleared out. Maybe VMworld should have taken the picture at the end?

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VMworld events team still failed at organizing enough food for attendees again this year, and lines were ridiculously long for the food and beer that was available. I’ve heard unconfirmed reports of attendees leaving hungry again. The location itself was awkward, and didn’t provide adequate room for the main show. The decor was cool, but that’s about it.

VMworld finally provided hot breakfast to the US crowd this year for attendees, which was much appreciated. I personally love bacon and eggs for breakfast, just not every single day. Would it have really cost that much more to provide some hot oatmeal, waffles or pancakes one or two days out of the week to break it up a bit?

There still seems to be a big push for moving to the cloud, and that certainly was the message that was being echoed at VMworld. Being a vExpert, and a member of the vCommunity, I was able to talk to many at the conference, and I was hearing a different message. The cloud is too expensive, and organizations have begun migrating away from the cloud, to have control of their infrastructure, and to keep costs down. Working for two very different cloud providers in my IT career, my current employer, who gives customers their own private clouds, and my former employer, who uses the shared cloud approach, certainly gives me an interesting perspective on cloud provider technologies and architecture. The market has many different cloud offerings for customers to chose from, but customers still have yet to fully understand what they need to be successful in the cloud, given their size and expectations. But who will lead them down the correct path? Perhaps we are on the cusp of another industry shift.

Heading off to VMworld US 2018

As I’m readying myself to board the plane that will take me to Las Vegas, I can’t help but feel excited to be heading back to VMworld US. Las Vegas is not everyone’s cup of tea, and maybe it’s just the geek in me, but Vegas feels like it has a certain electricity to it, that energizes me. VMworld has always been special for me, and I have been fortunate to attend these past three years. I’m always excited to meet new additions to the #vCommunity, along with seeing friends I’ve made in the community already. This is certainly a great bunch of geeks that continue to inspire me. I can’t wait to see what VMware has in store for attendees, with product releases and announcements.

VMworld 2018 is right around the corner! Where will you be?

It’s almost that time a year again….some might even call it that special time of year where VMware geeks from across the globe converge on VMworld.  One might even consider this summer camp, and like any who have experienced this before, you meet new people in the vCommunity, make friends, and part ways after the week of technical sessions, social gatherings, and just the straight up shop talking, war story sharing, and the sharing of ideas.  Personally, this will be my third year attending, and I am super excited to be going.  This conference means enough to me that, due to other circumstances that happened early this year, I purchased my own pass so to ensure that I wouldn’t miss out.

Now is the perfect time to cash in on those early bird discounts on conference passes, good until June 15.  Why wouldn’t you want to save a couple hundred dollars on one of the best IT conferences of the year?  For an individual, it’s $1,795 vs $2,095.  That’s before other discounts that may be applied like vmug memberships, or the discount for VMware Certified Professionals who hold an active VCP.

So, why go to VMworld?

I think for many first timers, there’s a certain electricity, and excitement about going.  Let me be the first to tell you, that feeling…. never really goes away.  Like the past couple of years, VMworld in the US will be held once again in Las Vegas.

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I personally love coming to VMworld and have looked forward to it every year.  There’s always good energy here; the minute you get off the plane, it is happy.  Every experience I’ve had here is fun, and people genuinely are in a good mood.  This conference gives attendees the chance to attend VMware lead, and partner lead sessions on platforms you may have thought about using or are currently using.  These sessions are meant to share best practices with the community, transfer knowledge in ways to use VMware platforms, and also give you a chance to ask the experts, many of whom work for VMware, and in some cases, are very involved with the development of the platforms you use.

VMworld is not just about attending sessions however.  This conference gives you the unique opportunity to network with other IT professionals from across the globe and establish relationships that you would otherwise never be able to do.  Like it did for me, this conference may also inspire you to join the vCommunity, a thriving community of professionals who not only share their knowledge with others, but who also need help themselves.  I think we can all agree that no two environments/businesses are alike, and we have all used VMware’s platforms in ways that were intended, and in ways that even VMware might not have ever considered.  Members of the vCommunity take it upon themselves to share their experiences with others, through blogs, social media, and support forums to help others.  This conference gives us a chance to get together, share war stories from our time in the trenches, and many times, you will find attendees getting together to engineer and develop something cool.

VMware {code} group has even put together a hackathon, where members from the vCommunity can get together while at VMworld, to develop some amazing things, and sometimes there are even prizes to be had for the coolest of the cool ideas.  But don’t let those words “code” or “hackathon” scare you.  These sessions are not just for developers!  Sure it will certainly help, but the power of the community, enables you to participate in these teams anyways.  You may not be able to contribute code, but you can still contribute ideas to the team, and you might even pick up a few coding skills in the fun.  Let’s face it; some pretty cool ideas are cooked up during hackathons.  VMware’s internal hackathon cooked up the idea to bring VR into the datacenter, and allow you to virtually move your workloads from On-Premises Data Centers, into the cloud.  It’s freakin VR man!  How cool is that?

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The VMworld conference also affords you the opportunity to attend instructor lead labs, along with VMware’s hands on labs that you can also experience from home.  While at the conference, there will be many vendors out on the floor where you can experience new products, ask questions about products that you already use, and lets not forget the vendor haul crawl where there will be free adult beverages, snacks, and cool swag vendors are giving out.  All can be found in the solutions exchange area.

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I’m not going to lie, the parties at VMworld are pretty wild too.  Not saying that should be the only reason you go, but it is a good way to mingle with other conference attendees, jam out to some good music, and of course escape the Las Vegas heat.  VMworld of course wraps up with it’s own party, before the last day of the conference.

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So what are you waiting for?  I can’t think of any reason not to attend the US 2018 VMworld in Las Vegas, August 26th – 30th, or the UK 2018 VMworld in Barcelona, November 5th – 8th.  Follow this link here, and I will see you at the conference in Las Vegas!  Remember to take advantage of those early bird rates, good until June 15th!  REGISTER HERE FOR VMWORLD 2018

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Traveling. First vmug Usercon in Denver Colorado.

In my quest for finding a new role in Colorado, I decided to travel there for the vmug (VMware User Group) Denver usercon last week.

As this was my first ever VMUG, I don’t really have anything to compare it to other than a pocket sized VMworld. Some pretty cool sessions by the community, for the community.

Checked out as many sessions as I could, but quickly found that VMware lead sessions and community lead sessions were happening at the same time. I did manage to catch Jase McCarty’s session on VSAN.

Met up with my good friend and community leader while at the Denver UserCon: Ariel Sanchez Mora.

Ariel gave a pretty dope presentation on automating vSphere with Ansible for beginners, and really broke it down to the basics to help people take their first steps. (photo credit: @joeypiccola)

Afterwards we got together with other folks for Denver vbeers at this killer German inspired pub called Rhein Haus over on Market Street.

Shout-out to @jasemccarty and @AntonNApril and others for putting together a killer vbeers, and a special shout-out to Rhein Haus, for their friendly staff, and killer German inspired food. This place was on point, and it will certainly be on my list for places to eat when I am out that way again.

I met these awesome people while attending #DVVMUG; what an amazing community! Don’t tell Ariel but I stole some of his photos from the event:) Twitter shout-outs: @vMollyHewitt @MaginMills @mattheldstab @AlexDanMorales @avila_la @thatvirtualboy @seanbwhitney @vGonzilla @vMbanusi @JonOnDaCloud @AntonNApril @RebeccaFitzhugh @jasemccarty @vScottSeifert

Afterwards the mass of community geeks departed vbeers, Ariel, myself and Jon Harris checked out this cool dinner called Sam’s No. 3 over on Curtis Street to talk shop, and eat some great food. I’ll spare you the food pics, as you’ll just have to experience the place for yourself 🙂

Ariel and I got together the next morning for some breakfast. Side note, if Ariel ever asks if you’re afraid of heights, it’s a trap! All kidding aside this was a pretty cool atrium shot.

Afterword, Ariel and I hit the road to travel North to Fort Collins Colorado, where I spent the weekend with a good friend of mine.

I can’t say it enough about what a boss Ariel was that day. I had only expected him to take me to the Denver airport so that I could catch the bus to Fort Collins, but this dude just drove me up there himself. That’s the vCommunity in action right there.

Before Ariel and I parted ways, he showed me one of his favorite restaurants in the area, where we got lunch. I’ll finish the post up with some other photos I took that weekend.