VMworld 2016 – Experience & Opportunity

Well what can I say ? 2 main keywords that really sum it up for me.

It’s been a productive, interesting and tiring event but I wanted to write about my experiences this time especially as I was missed Barcelona last year.

Firstly a big thank you to Corey Romero for the Blogger Pass I was lucky enough to have for this trip. I was particularly pleased that Bloggers and Press were able to sit in the first few rows at the Keynotes so had a good view and was able to write up notes as I watched the epic presentations. My highlights were obviously the AWS and VMware announcement as well as the new releases of vSphere and VSAN. EUC also had a strong presence and clearly VMware and Airwatch are going from strength to strength trying to make the Workspace One solution a great solution for those looking to bring together mobility and a simple SSO experience.

It was my first year presenting at the vBrownbag community area and I enjoyed my experience. It was a strange feeling to record directly in front of a camera but I loved my time on stage educating all on the importance of Career Disruption. Thanks to Alastaire Cooke and the crew for having me on. Maybe I can do the vExpert Daily panel next year ?? You can view my video below.

I was also drawn towards the Hands on Labs and Cloudcredibility areas where I hadn’t spent much time before in previous years and the whole gamification of completing challenges and learning at the same time was clearly a winning formula. It clearly means attendees can learn a lot more whilst also enjoying moving up the leaderboard and claiming gifts.

Of the sessions I attended, I enjoyed Frank Denneman’s overview on what the vSphere on AWS solution promises to deliver in 2017 and Robbie Jerrom’s Photon / Cloud Native presentation giving developers an easier way to move to Docker and Kubernetes whilst continuing to use the rich vSphere platform.

Networking and Community

2 big important areas for my development as an individual and I found I met a lot more people here this year. Being able to converse with people from vendors, partners and customers really helps me to understand the bigger picture for transformation and I.T. disruption. Apart from the vBrownbag achievement I was also glad to talk to various VMUG leaders about the upcoming events and get their take on the industry as a whole. I managed to meet various Twitter friends who I’ve been meaning to bump into for a while now and also past friends from my exploits at Tech Field Day.
One of my highlights this year was that I had a good frank discussion with friends who work at other storage vendors. We all see resentment and FUD when it comes to vendor wars, either through Marketing or through Twitter but I found it refreshing to be able to forget speeds and feeds for a while and talk more about how the industry was going and what customers were seeking when making investments. I talked to good friends at both Hedvig and Nimble on how the shape of enterprise I.T. was changing and what consumers were looking for when it came to storage. We came to the concensus that whilst speeds and feeds where good conversation points, its ultimately the manner in which you can consume, interpret and analyse the data where storage becomes useful to both admins and end users.
The events that I attended, particularly the VMUG evening and the Veeam evening were great places to relax, unwind and reflect on the good and bad points of this years show. The Vmworld party was not bad but not a patch on previous years (maybe because I’d never heard of Empire of the Sun who were the main act.

Recording the next episode of the podcast – OpenTechCast – with several VMware and blogger guests was a bonus too. Keeping the conversations light, informative and fluid meant my cohosts and I gained a lot of value and I hope you’ll agree once you listen to it.

Wrapping Up

So if I could change 1 thing about the show what would it be ?

I think it would be the fact that lunch was not provided on Monday at the conference center for attendees. One other point was that breakfast was not up to par of previous years so it would be good if this was improved next year.

On the whole it was a great conference and one where I certainly walked away with a lot more nuggets of information in my arsenal when talking to customers about their digital transformation.

Roll on VMworld 2017 !!

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