VMworld 2014

VMworld is coming up fast at the end of August and I’m getting pretty excited. From a professional perspective, it is the highlight of my year. This will be my 4th time attending and will be one of my busiest schedules yet.

For me, it is important to have a hotel close to the venue, the Moscone Center. In order for this to happen, a reservation needs to be made well in advance of VMworld registration, or make the reservation by registering very quickly after registration opens–I registered within a couple of hours of registration being open to get a reservation at a reasonably priced hotel in Union Square. My coworker who is attending with me ended up at a different hotel since her registration was a few hours later. One of the benefits of being a VMUG leader is that they offer perks associated with volunteer time at VMworld–one of which is getting into the Marriott right by the Moscone Center. I was able to make that switch and it will be a huge benefit. The swag that can be obtained at VMworld is second to none and being able to drop it off at the room means I can travel light during the day.

The process I use for planning my overall schedule has been refined over the last few years. Once the general schedule is released, I start blocking off my calendar with the general sessions, VMworld party, hall crawl, lunches, etc. For things like lunch, I use a different color and mark the it as available instead of busy. Where this helps is when I start to schedule sessions. I know I need to eat, so I don’t want to fill my schedule to the point of not being able to eat lunch. The 30 minutes between sessions is sufficient for lunch.

Schedule Builder is now live and the sessions are filling up fast. This is another one of those things that should be tackled as soon as possible after it is available. The best sessions can be filled up within a couple of hours. The most popular sessions might be repeated, and/or the room assignments will get adjusted to bigger rooms. Aside from my first year, I’ve had one or two focus areas, and this year is no different. At $job, we are building a long term SDDC strategy and my goal is to get a better handle on the technologies that will be part of it–OpenStack and storage are the primary areas. I build my schedule first based on Advanced Technical sessions in the focus topics, then specific speakers who have helped me with their blog posts and Twitter posts (Chris Collotti, Duncan Epping, Scott Lowe, William Lam, Rawlinson Rivera, Cormac Hogan, Chad Sakac, Jason Nash, Josh Odgers, etc), and finally, I look for other VCDXs that are presenting. The value of VMworld is that I can get the equivalent of many expensive training courses compressed into one week by listening to the right people. As a whole, I try to avoid purely vendor sessions. I’ve been to some sessions that say they won’t talk about their product and then espouse the benefits of their approach over everyone else for an hour–I can get that in the vendor hall.

The Welcome Reception is when I scope out vendors for swag and determine which ones warrant additional time talking to engineers–the challenge is getting past the sales people. I may have a management role at $job, but I also do hands on administration and design, so I want to talk to the people who develop and/or support the products we are interested in. I’m also coming at things from a different perspective this year… I want to know more about technologies that don’t apply directly to $job.

Current Session Schedule:

  • SDDC1580 – OpenStack in the Enterprise
  • STO2996-SPO – The vExpert Storage Game Show
  • STO1491 – From Clouds to Bits: Exploring the Software Defined Storage Lifecycle
  • SDDC1176 – Ask the Expert vBloggers
  • SDDC1600 – Art of IT Infrastructure Design: The Way of the VCDX – Panel
  • STO3162 – Software Defined Storage: Satisfy the Requirements of Your Application at the Granularity of a Virtual Disk with Virtual Volumes (VVols)
  • STO1965 – Virtual Volumes Technical Deep Dive
  • INF1736 – Designing Next Generation Software-Defined Data Centers: A Panel with VMware Certified Design Experts
  • STO2480 – Software Defined Storage – The VCDX Way Part II : The Empire Strikes Back
  • VAPP2305 – Extreme Performance Series – Understanding Applications that Require Extra TLC for Better Performance on vSphere – Deep Dive
  • SDDC2492 – How the New Software-defined Paradigms Will Impact Your vSphere Design
  • NET1592 – Under the Hood: Network Virtualization with OpenStack Neutron and VMware NSX
  • OPT2668 – DevOps Demystified! Proven Architectures to Support DevOps Initiatives
  • INF1552 – SDDC: Buzzword to Reality. Discussions with SDDC Architects that Goes Well Beyond Markitecture
  • HBC1534 – Recovery as a Service (RaaS) with vCloud Hybrid Service
  • STO3247 – VMware VVOL Technical Preview with Dell Storage

Other Stuff:

  • VMUG Leader Reception and Lunch
  • VCDX/vExpert Reception
  • VMworld Party
  • Welcome Reception
  • Hall Crawl
  • vBreakfast

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