VMWorld 2016 Recap

VMWorld 2016VMWorld 2016 is in the books and now it’s time to decompress. This was my second VMWorld and my first one in Las Vegas, as well as my first time being in Las Vegas.

Pros and Cons to SFO vs LAS, but at the end of the day I think I prefer Vegas. It is better suited for large conferences and rooms can be quite cheap, unlike SFO which only has Moscone Center and expensive hotels. Either way, VMWorld 2017 will be back at Mandalay Bay. The downside is that it is ridiculously hot.

Community Stuff

Opening Acts was pretty stellar this year with some solid panels. The format was also changed from having multiple tracks to just one with panels taking place in succession. vBrisket brought in lunch for us, which was super tasty. Unfortunately, they could not make their own brisket due to hotel rules, but it was still good in the end. If you aren’t familiar with Open Acts, it is a community driven event that takes place on the Sunday of the show.

The VMUnderground party was also great – I had a chance to work the door most of the night with Eric Lee (@ericblee6). This was a great chance to see and meet folks in the community, and it was also a nice little power trip to tell folks that they couldn’t come if they didn’t have a ticket as the event was sold out.

Similar to last year I spent a lot of time in the VMVillage (formerly Hang Space). I was able to catch up with old friends, and make new ones. I also took part in the vBrownBag Tech Talks and did a short introduction to DR and BC planning. This year Veeam also wanted to hold a User Group meeting down in Las Vegas and I was approached and asked if I could present. I jumped at the opportunity and it seemed to be well received. Since the event I have had a handful of folks come up to express interest in starting one in their area – that’s pretty cool.

I could go on and on about community, but at the end of the day, it is one of the biggest values from the show. It’s a time to get to know folks, have peers help you with technical problems, or even just get some solid career advice. You can find all the vBrownBag Tech Talks here.

VMware Stuff

So what did I think of all the announcements? Meh. A lot of it was ‘here is where we are going’, and a lot of it was stuff that’s been talked about prior. Really it seemed to me that a lot of the ‘announcement’ stuff was just roadmap / visionary stuff with some canned demos. There was a lot of talk about containers, but honestly, I don’t think they are that big when looking at the entire ecosystem. I would be curious to know what percentage of VMware customers use containers, and what sort of volume they see.

I’ll lump the solutions exchange stuff under here as well. Personally, I found that there wasn’t nearly as much traffic this year. I talked to a few vendors about it and they echoed similar sentiments. I also noticed some empty booths, and of course, it was hard to miss that Nutanix had two booths spread out from each other – if you’re wondering, this was because PernixData already had paid for a spot prior to being acquired by Nutanix.

I didn’t get to spend as much time in the exchange as I would have liked, but I did notice a few booths seemed to be getting a ton of traffic. EMC and Tintri come to mind.

Also, a quick thank you to the vendors who did have vExpert gifts. I am very grateful that they are willing to take the time to come up with something to give us. I think Cohesity stole the show with their awesome backup / survival kit that they gave away, but I can’t mention the vExpert swag without mention Datrium. They had some Raspberry Pis that ran into some shipping issues. From what I heard, it was a matter of senior management literally had to drive out and buy some, get them shipped, and then staff assembled the cases. A big hat tip to them for stepping up and doing everything they could to keep their word.

Takeaways

  • Vegas is hot in August … like ridiculously hot … no sunburn amazingly enough despite walking to / from the MGM daily (sometimes multiple times).
  • Given my increased community activity in the past year, I got back so much value from it. This ranged from one on one time with senior execs to shooting the breeze with VCDXs over a drink.
  • VMware has some cool tech coming (the vCenter to vcsa migration tool looked awesome)
  • Breakfasts were weak; lunches were good.

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