VMworld 2011 wrap-up (Everyone else is doing one…)

The first VMworld at the Hilton on the bay in San Diego was cozy. ~700 people incl VMware employees. Some keynotes with fancy lights and graphics, killer breakout sessions on performance and a relaxing party at the cruise line pier with XBox on a projected screen and Robot Wars in back (yes, Robot Wars. It was pretty cool)

Fast forward past 06 (Can you say “rent Universal Studios Hollywood for the night”?) 07 (Pleasure Island? Treasure Island? I thought the party was at Alcatraz?) all the way to ’11 and VMworld is now a full-fledged Event. It’s not as all-out as, say and Oracle party (they get Elton John, we get some local band with a cute singer) but it’s still the best virtualization gathering out there.

Once again the Hand On Labs were amazing (I remember doing MSCS back in 06 physical to virtual which was wicked cool and I still have the hand-out lab manuals from 07). I hear the lines for HoL were long but I scored a FastPass on Tues night around 10pm and while I did have to wait ~10min at one point on Wed I blew through 16 labs while still attending breakouts, the solutions exchange and networking.

The breakouts are great, but the best part is many (all?) are recorded so you can watch them later. That is terrific since I missed many of the ones I wanted.

Speaking of break outs – the Session Builder and programs specifically said you would not be able to attend a session if you did not pre-register. This turned out to be completely incorrect – they opened the doors as much as 15min before the session for anyone who wanted in.

I assume the group discussions were limited, but I walked right into some of the hottest sessions w/o registering.

All in all a great value for the money, the training you can get from sitting in a powerCLI breakout then walking to the HoL and actually doing it is great. Most of it was going far beyond what you would do in the official VMware classes, tho of course they were focused on one specific task or solution. Next year I’ll be sure to register early and get into a host hotel. The extra time traveling is really wasted when I could be blogging or sleeping 😉

On another note – I did the whole show with my iPad. I’ll be working on a separate post on that but suffice to say I survived and was glad to have my laptop back in the hotel.

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