How to get the most out of your VMworld visit

It is only a few days to VMworld 2018 US and just over 3 months to VMworld 2018 EU. Time to think about a few points.

VMworld is a major event lasting several days at which hundreds of activities and sessions are offered every day. So there are many reasons to go there. In fact, I think some people just go for the party. But the question for most of us is: How can I get the most out of my visit?

There are some great blogposts from other people with general tips, like comfortable shoes, big bags or that you should definitely network with other people. Besides these general and useful tips I try to point out some other aspects.

Have a mission

Go there with a specific mission. We, for example, are a service provider and rely completely on NSX-V. We would like to know where the journey with NSX-T is going, as many innovations are only included in NSX-T, but existing and for us important functions are only available in NSX-V so far.

VMworld is the perfect place to get to the bottom of such things. Either at the “Meet the Experts” meeting point or you can ask the responsible product manager directly after breakout sessions or in panel discussions.

Maybe you are looking for a new backup solution. The Solutions Exchange is the perfect place for these tasks. Many large and well-known companies are represented there and you can look directly at different solutions and talk to the people there.

But be careful: Everything looks great and works perfectly at a trade fair. At home you should then carry out a proof-of-concept to be sure that the solution really delivers what it promises.

VMworld 2017 - Solutions Exchange

(VMworld 2017 – Solutions Exchange)

Sometimes you have had a technical problem for a long time that cannot be solved. The probability is high at VMworld to find someone who has already solved this problem or maybe even someone who works in this business unit at VMware.

Furthermore, you can see which trends are current and how advanced they are. This can be extremely helpful for the upcoming strategic orientation of your own business. Therefore it is essential to recognize which trends one should seriously pursue and what a flash in the pan is.

So there are many good reasons to consider a strategy or mission, formulate questions and try to have them answered at VMworld.

Schedule your VMworld visit

This year there are over 350 sessions for each VMworld. You should therefore think early about what interests you and book the sessions as quick as possible. It is now too late for VMworld US. All good sessions are already fully booked. For the VMworld EU, the planner will be available from 25 September. But I would recommend to pick your favorites right now.

VMworld - Sessions

If a session is fully booked, it is possible to go there and wait some time before the session starts. Often there is the possibility to get a seat spontaneously. But that’s not guaranteed.

When choosing the sessions I recommend the following:

Watch out for the speakers and session levels.

This allows you to quickly identify which audience is to be addressed.

Some sessions are led by engineers and architects and are aimed more at a technical audience, while other sessions are led by product managers and are more of a product presentation.

If you are an IT manager or have a commercial background and only need a high level view, the breakout sessions with a level of 100 are probably the most suitable. Here you get a quick and compact overview of the product, features and use cases.

If you are an engineer, architect or administrator, you will probably be more interested in the sessions that are led by a VMware Engineer or Architect and have a session level of 200 – 300. But also here there are some getting started sessions with a score of 100.

Another important recommendation from me is:

Don’t register for too many sessions.

There are so many activities and events that there is only limited time for the sessions. I would strongly recommend a maximum of 3-4 sessions per day. That’s more than enough. Otherwise you just run from session to session, don’t notice the other activities and in the end you forget half on the flight back anyway.¬†Too many sessions are simply an overload and do not make sense.

Use Twitter during your stay

Twitter is the best way to keep up to date on current and planned activities during VMworld. With the hashtag #VMworld you’ll find lots of tweets what’s happening around you. For the big party on day 3 there is an own hashtag: #VMworldFest. And also the VMware Hackathon has it’s own hashtag: #VMwareHackathon. Another hashtag to keep an eye on is #vCommunity.

So, always twitter diligently and stay up to date.

Use the workshop sessions and the VMware {code} Hackathon

The workshop sessions are guided sessions with hands-on experience. Here you can get to know the products in detail, test them or deepen your knowledge. Even if you have questions, you can consult an expert directly. This is a completely different experience from having the HOLs alone at home. Fun and learning effect are very great in these sessions.

For most of this session there is no waitlist or booking. You go there 30 minutes before and line up. And every person can only attend 2 of these workshops. So, choose wisely.

The VMware {code} Hackathon is a great event for those who want to program or automate their infrastructure. Every year there are some really good people from whom you can learn a lot. But even beginners with programming experience are always welcome. Also here, a lot of fun and a high learning curve is guaranteed.

Enjoy the party

The big Customer Appreciation Party comes in a new format and is now called #VMworldFest. This year there are 4 different environments, 12 special food trucks, fun activities and 3 stages for different types of music. We may be curious!

The event is really extraordinary and indeed a huge party. There’s plenty of good food and drink, good music, opportunities to talk and just to celebrate. I recommend everyone go there.

Let's party

I am looking forward to going to VMworld EU every year and have never been disappointed. VMware simply knows how to host and constantly reinvent an industry-leading trade convention.


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