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My VMworld US 2013 Recap

Wow, what a week! Now that VMworld US 2013 has wrapped up, I have a few minutes to sit down and talk about the event. VMware made a lot of announcements and from people I talked to everyone responded favorably. For me, it was an opportunity to meet new people and also participate in an event that will shape the future of technology.

Before VMworld

VMworld started for me back in April when I joined the Log Insight team. When I agreed to the position, I was agreeing to becoming the subject matter expert for Log Insight, a responsibility I did not take lightly. While getting caught up on the technology, I began to prepare VMworld sessions and think about what VMworld 2013 would mean for me. What I did not realize at the time was this would be my busiest VMworld to date.
In June, I learned that two of my sessions had been accepted and I began to prepare the final presentations. In the process, I was nominated as an expert of Log Insight and was asked to participate in the expert lounge as well as group discussions. I was and still am honored for such an opportunity and the ability to contribute back to the community.

Saturday

Fast-forward to August 24, and what better way to pre-game for VMworld then with a party. #vbeers was holding their annual event at The Chieftan and I decided what better way to spend the night. I was glad I attended. The place was packed and I had the opportunity to meet new people. It was interested to hear people’s thoughts prior to any VMware announcements. Everyone seemed excited.

Sunday

On Sunday, I had my first presenting opportunity at the VMware Technical Summit. For me, it was a trial run to talk about Log Insight. Everything went according to plan and it was clear the need for an unstructured cloud management tool. After the technical summit it was time for another party in #VMunderground. The venue was great and of course the place was packed. For me, it meant an opportunity for more networking and I was in great company.

Monday

Monday marked the start of VMworld US 2013 and VMware did it in grandiose fashion. It was clear from the beginning that 2013 was the year of networking and specifically NSX. With that said, VMware did a great job of sharing the love across almost every part of the stack including storage, management, and of course hybrid cloud.
After live tweeting Pat’s keynote, I rushed over to Solutions Exchange for my first ever booth duty. I volunteered to assist as being part of customer-oriented R&D I saw it as an excellent opportunity to hear first-hand what the priorities and roadmap for Log Insight should be. Booth duty did not disappoint. There was clear excitement for Log Insight and it was great to hear the requirements and the desire for an unstructured cloud management tool.
Following booth duty, I headed to the experts lounge. I must say, the experts lounge is a great opportunity to meet and discuss ideas. I was surrounded by smart people who were excited about VMware technology and the cloud. They came with questions which lead into discussions and we all left with new ideas. I hope to have the opportunity to participate in this event going forward.
To finish off the day, I went to see the Log Insight spotlight session. The room was packed and the material was great. It was clear others thought so as well as the session made it into the top 10 for VMworld US 2013. The session covered the product, but also highlighted the value of content packs. To demonstrate this value, NetApp showed off their content pack, which you can find on VMware Solution Exchange.

Tuesday

By Tuesday morning I started to realize that I was tired, my feet hurt, and I had not been eating enough protein, but I did not let it slow me down! I started the morning out right going to Crossfit, but due to traffic this meant I was late to Carl’s keynote. When I arrived it was back to live tweeting. NSX was the clear focus, but every technology covered by Pat was demonstrated by Carl and company. Log Insight was highlighted and a great opportunity was announced: Follow @VMLogInight on twitter and receive five free licenses of the product! I knew this was going to be announced, but I forgot to disable twitter notifications for the handle. My phone went nuts!
Following the keynote, it was time for my first VMworld presentation. For me, it was a big step as public speaking is something I would have never considered five years back. Expecting to be nervous, I took the stage. To my surprise, the nerves never hit. The presentation went well and I was glad to be sharing something I was passionate about.
Tuesday night included the Solutions Exchange hall crawl and lots of parties. Again, I used the opportunities to network and meet new people. It was great to put faces to names and meet people I had communicated with multiple times through social media. I did decide to call it a night early as I had a presentation at 8am the next morning.

Wednesday

8am session…who thought that was a good idea? I honestly did not expect too many people to show up, but I was pleasantly surprised. This time I was talking about Cloud Foundry and VMware private clouds. The audience really seemed to get it and their questions were spot on. Moving up the stack to the application level is the future, but is not fully flushed out today. I can only hope our session helps normalize and prepare people for the future.
Immediately following my first presentation, I was scheduled for a second. Switching gears, we presented to a standing room only audience. At this point, I began to understand why people present. For me it was beginning to feel more natural and I enjoyed giving back to the community. I look forward to reviewing the sessions and seeing how to improve them for VMworld EMEA.
In the afternoon, I had a group discussion. Seeing the room for the first time it felt like booth duty, but in a more private setting. Group discussions are free floating discussions and I wanted to leave it open for the audience. I was willing to talk about anything and hear about requirements and use-cases. I think I learned as much as the audience did. After, I learned that people wish I had done more demonstrations. I was advised to avoid demonstrations and slides, but I can see the value of having them and will ensure that I have them for VMworld EMEA. Thanks to everyone for all the great feedback!
Wednesday night was of course the VMworld party and I was very excited to continue networking as well as see Imagine Dragons with Train. Before heading to AT&T park, I decided to drop my stuff off in my car. While doing so, security for the parking garage approached to notify me that my car had been broken into. It is amazing how fast a good week can turn into a bad week. Most of my belongings were taken. Luckily, I had most of my electronics on me. Unfortunately, I was switching hotels that night so everything else was in the vehicle.
I guess it is best I learned this before attending the VMworld party. I went to the party and made the best of it. Great company and great music can do wonders. I had a great time and I think VMware put on a great event.

Thursday

Thursday is of course the last day of VMworld US, but there is still plenty going on. I thought the keynote speakers were great and I enjoy the switch away from VMware technology. Following the keynote are several additional sessions. While I was unable to attend many sessions due to my busy schedule, I am glad that all are recorded and plan to queue some up while traveling next month.
On Thursday, I was scheduled for a #vbrownbag. For those who have never done one, I would highly encourage it. For VMworld, 15-minutes sessions were created and covered a variety of topics. I submitted one on Content Packs in Log Insight. I had several people approach me after the session inquiring for more information. In addition, I made several VMUG connections and was invited to present. The #vbrownbag is a great community project and I was honored to be part of it.

Recap

Well, if you made it this far, thanks for reading! What was my point of covering all this? It was to highlight all the great opportunities VMworld presents to attendees. From community driven events like #vbeers and #vbrownbag to vendor sponsored events like #VMunderground there is so much to see, learn, and share. The VMworld event itself provides you with keynotes, general session, spotlight sessions, group discussions, the experts lounge and much, much more. If you get the opportunity to attend, be sure to make the most of it. Do not be afraid to walk up to someone and introduce yourself. Do not be shy to share your ideas. And be sure to pay it forward, the community shares with you so be sure to share with the community. Thanks again for reading!

© 2013, Steve Flanders. All rights reserved.

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