As you will go through this blog post, I will do my best to describe in detail my experience at VMworld 2016 this. You can either consider this to be a long blog post or you can just consider this to be a little whitepaper on how engaging this conference has been to me.
First things first, it is because of the generosity of VMware and the vExpert community leadership that I was given a blogger pass this year as well and the thanks are extended to my management at CCi as they have complemented the pass by covering all other expenses.
Back in 2013 when I experienced my first VMworld, frankly I couldn’t blog much on the experience as it was overwhelming and it was like being thrown in the red sea and you get dazzled by the colorful life under, in 2014 sadly I wasn’t able to attend although I got a blogger pass but it was late and the time didn’t allow for me to get a visa, in 2015 all was good and I started to get a grasp on VMworld _somehow_ ;-) (read about it here).
- Sunday: I met with my good friend Fred Hofer (@Fred_vBrain) Andreas Lesslhumer (@lessi001) and the rest of the Austrian gang and we went downtown for tapas [aka Lunch] (of course after we decided, re-decided and then double re-decided on a place to eat %)).
- Sunday: Went for VMworld registration and got all the goodies, and meet a couple of friends as well.
- Monday: Well, I’ve been preparing for my VCIX-NV for quite sometime now and I had booked the exam at 09:00AM, there are several blogs talking about their exam experience and it is pretty much the same except that I had to go through a pretty long walk to the examination hall and the fact that I did the exam using my left hand for the mouse instead of my right hand because it was broken, after a couple of hours the exam results and thankfully it was a pass ^_^.
- Monday: The VCIX was just a start ;-), I finished at 13:00PM and I rushed towards the VCDX workshop and got there around 02:00PM (met a lot of people on the way also grabbed a quick bite as well). Sadly I didn’t take notes from the workshop because frankly Joseph’s (@VMPrime) presentation this year was very much capturing I didn’t want to miss a single moment, here are my notes from 2015 and if anyone took the notes and has a link I would be very much glad to include the link in this post.
— Brett Guarino (@Brett_Guarino) October 17, 2016
- Monday: Yeah Monday is not over yet %), this year I came to VMworld full of heart and it just felt that everything is possible, so after it was a hit in the US VMworld a new Hackathon was announced for VMworld Europe as well (read about it here) and I just love getting out of the my comfort zone (or is it an in-tolerable voice in my head :-P) and I singed up and I even wrote a little blog post about it to encourage all of those in-doubt (read about it here). The logistics were pure awesome and the place was extremely geeky and nice (read more on logistics here), after the VCDX workshop was done I rushed to Fira to catch the bus and it was a nice tour through Barcelona if you ask me, a bus trip gives you a different perspective always. The hackathon was kicked off by Alan (@alanrenouf) and his words were both encouraging and inspiring, all the teams were a mix of both coders/non-coders and all of us had the intent of learning something new and putting it into good use, not all of us managed to finish their work but all of us definitely took part and the final result for all teams was just insanely fabulous, congratulations to all participants and and extended thanks to all team involved in hosting/preparing and organizing this great event.
- Tuesday: Although I slept a bit late on Monday and I was very much tired, we had another calling at 07:00AM and it was the annual vBreakfast meetup organized by King Fred Hofer (@Fred_vBrain), so I had to wake up at around 05:30AM and get ready. The coffee shop was the same as the one we used for last years vBreakfast (Cafe A la vid) and it was just across the street near to Fira so it was very much adequate and we can all enjoy our coffee without having to rush into the general session in a hurry. I entered the coffee shop and it was just WOW! A full two sided rows of tables filled with vFriends from all across the world, and now I have Italian vFriends (awesome awesome people) and also came along the vBrownBag crew and it was again WAW! Had a little chat with my friend Ather Beg and finally walked out of the coffee shop along side my Slovakian VDM friends, all in all it was a very much successful meetup and all thanks to the dedication of Fred (awesome job bro).
— Andreas Lesslhumer (@lessi001) October 18, 2016
- Tuesday: We left the vBreakfast happily and went directly to the general session (check the general sessions here), I will not delve into the details of the general sessions where all of the updates were just amazing and up to the level of my expectation. The most profound news that I heard was about the Cross Cloud Services, I see this as the most powerful tool a customer can have to manage and integrate all cloud platforms together under a common network fabric, the first thing that came to my mind if multi-cloud high availability for your applications! You can actually make your disaster site another cloud vendor while keeping our application stack totally independent, thinking about the coding behind this platform just amazes me and the live demo just blasted me away! I am very much anxious to try this and more anxious to let our customers experience such flexibility in the cloud.
- Tuesday: Fast forward, I spent sometime with a couple of customers and then went to the VMUG Leaders lunch where you can feel the energy of the community flowing among all the leaders, the lunch was just great and meeting with all the leaders and hearing their stories was very much engaging, and if you think VMware thinks lightly of its community! In the leader lunch we got the chance to sit with Pat Gelsigner (VMware’s CEO) and Joe Baguly (VMware’s VP & CTO – EMEA) for a private Q&A and it was fabulous and held a lot of truth and honesty towards the community and how profound is the relationship between VMware and VMUG.
- Tuesday: After the VMUG leader lunch, I went to the solutions exchange to check out the action there and I was passing by Popup Tech Talks stand and I said “Hi” to my friend Fred Hofer…AND he suggested that I should participate and Amy Lewis (@CommsNinja) was nice enough to accept %) and there I was standing in front of a camera talking about my experience at VMware’s Code Hackathon :-D (the videos are still being processed so once they’re out make sure to keep an eye on @PopUpTechTalks).
— (Abdullah)^2 (@do0dzZZ) October 18, 2016
- Tuesday: At night there was the vExpert reception which sadly I couldn’t attend as I was committed to an invitation to dinner by our VMware SE which included customers and partners as well, the dinner took place at the Tablao Flamenco Cordobes in La Rambla (dinner and a Flamenco show) the food was great and the show even better and everyone (customers/partners) had something new to add to their VMworld experience.
- Wednesday: I was looking forward to this very day as I volunteered for the VMUG booth and this is the very first time I got the courage to do it, and through out the 1 hour I stayed at the booth I knew that everyone was just keen on knowing what this epic VMUG is all about. Thankfully I was able to meet a lot of attendees and convinced a great deal of them to register and pursue their VMUG in their country also had a chance to chat a bit with the all great Andrea Roth (@VMUGAndrea) about the Lebanese VMUG standing and our yet to be launched first VMUG meeting, I appreciate giving me the chance to engage people in such a way and I look forward to many more hours in the VMUG both at the upcoming VMworlds (1 hour is apparently not enough and you can’t get bored or tired even if you wanted to, that’s how awesome it is).
- Wednesday: After the VMUG booth rush hour, I had a couple of sessions that I intended to attend and support, the most session that I have enjoyed was INF8430 – vSphere 6.x Host Resource Deep Dive by Frank Denneman and Niels Hagoort and it was fully loaded with knowledge especially the NSX part, I would very much recommend watching this session and you will for sure get something helpful out of it.
- Wednesday: After the sessions I sought my Slovakian friends whom by cheer luck happen to include two Virtual Design Masters ;-) *yeah I hangout with cool people :-D*, Gareth (@GarethEdwards86) suggested we do a little OpenTechCast talk about our VDM experience and it happened (awaiting the release of our blabber ;-)), just right before we entered the VMworld party we decided to take picture with the Turbonomic stand in appreciation to the their support of VDM, and it turns out we turned into zombies instantly!
- Wednesday: VMworld party, well! I won’t lie because I love VMworld but this VMworld party was not what I expected! The food was good but the band was lets not say not good but I can say for those of us who attended the 2015 VMworld party knows the difference and knows that we couldn’t find a foothold in 2015 while this year’s party was somehow out of it, yet we had fun and I met a couple of fellow vGeeks and before leaving we took another zombie mode picture in the photo booth %).
- Thursday: This was the final day at VMworld, I attended a session by Chris Whal on Rubrik (which looks like a great product, although I haven’t tried it yet), afterwards I went to the Solutions Exchange for a final round as I needed to check something related to the Palo Alto integration with NSX, and finally went to the VM Village where I spent the rest of the time at the community lounge and had a very long and nice chat with Lars Troen (@larstr) and Wil van Antwerpen (@wilva – the creator the vimalin the VMware Fusion backup app) where we talked about a lot of topics that are not related to work and it was pretty comprehensive in terms of knowing how people around the world think about certain topics and how these topics are interpreted in different cultures, and finally the bell rang and we were told that we should leave VMworld as the venue will be closing it.
Finally, I would wrap up by saying that this has been the most engaging VMworld I have attended yet, and I look forward to many future VMworlds with overwhelming experience and I encourage all of those who are thinking of attending but did not make up their minds! Go for it! Look out for the pre/post/within events at VMworld and be part of something that is changing the world of IT as we know it.