Sam Walker

VMworld 2015 - My experience and recommendations

Blog Post created by Sam Walker on Oct 19, 2015

I thought I would take some time to write up what I found useful at VMworld 2015 which was held in Barcelona.  This was my first time attending a VMworld event, so I was not entirely sure what to expect.  Working for HDS, I realised that my experience would differ somewhat from other delegates as I'd be spending most of my time on the HDS Booth demoing our technologies (UCP, VVol and GAD), meeting with old and new customers who want to hear more and discuss strategy, etc... plus running a few presentations on the technology we were showcasing.  As such, I was unable to attend as many breakout sessions as I would have hoped.


The event officially started on Tuesday 13th October; Monday 12th October was open for the partner exchange.  Despite working for a partner, my badge wasn't the right kind so I wasn't allowed in!  We did use the opportunity to meet with colleagues from other geos to run through presentations and demos before having to present to the public.  This was invaluable, there is only so much you can achieve over a Webex!  I also used the Monday to take my VCP6-DCV exam (which I am happy to say I passed ).  I also feel that using the Monday to get your pass, bag, tour the Grand Fira was useful; it allowed for a smoother start on Tuesday.  Plus, the Grand Fira is huge, so finding your bearings is important.


On the Tuesday, we watched a segment of the opening key-notes which was discussing VIC (VMware Integrated Containers), plus had a presentation from a couple of VMware customers.  We had to leave before the end of this as we had a meeting organised.  The booth activity began at 11:00 and I was overwhelmed by the amount of interest we had on our booth.  The Solutions Exchange closed at 19:00 and the day was non-stop between 11-19h.  Wednesday the 14th was a similar affair, although I did manage to attend a breakout session; and it was the VMworld party was on which we attended.


Thursday was the final day.  The show was starting to wrap up, the solutions exchange was closing at 16:00 and people were beginning to leave to the airport.  I managed to attend a #VCDX breakout session with some on the industry heavy-weights which I found very useful.  I'll put some notes on another blog post on what I found from that session (as well as the session I attended on the Wednesday which was around vSphere security).


The advice and recommendations I have for anyone who has not experienced VMworld:


  1. If you can get there for the Monday - do!  Not only finding your bearings around the Grand Fira (or next conference venue if not Grand Fira), but finding your bearings around Barcelona (or whichever city it might be in next) was very useful for me.  Plus it allowed for an hour or so out to take my VCP exam.
  2. Plan your schedule carefully, plan for time to eat, plan for time to meet with vendors in the Solutions Exchange (especially Hitachi Data Systems!)  Make sure you register for the breakout sessions early, they'll be booked up quickly.  Plan the rest of your schedule around these.
  3. Talk to people - there are people from the community that spend most of their spare hours working on their blogs, labs, reading whitepapers, etc. so they are proper subject matter experts.  I have found that if you approach most people with a sensible question, it starts a good conversation flow and you often get more from a 5 minute chat over a cup of coffee than you will get from 5 hours trying to find the relevant info yourself.  After all, this is a community; we all like to talk!
  4. Don't be a magpie.  There are people who seem to only talk to vendors if there is an RC helicopter, pen, sticker, etc. in it for them.  We all play the game and give away goodies for people who want to listen to what we have to say - but don't make your VMworld experience about hoarding the most amount of swag possible.  You'll waste your company's money and your time to do what counts at VMworld.
  5. The opportunity to drink heavily is rife.  You don't always need to take it


A few pictures I managed to take...


Monday - calm before the storm:


Paul Meehan presenting on UCP:


Sushi and saki on the HDS Booth (which I didn't get to try!)


Packed presentation for CSC BizCloud running on the Hitachi UCP platform: