Posts Tagged ‘VMworld 2013’

#VMworld 2013 San Francisco Day –1 and 0 Impressions

August 26th, 2013

Well hello VMworldians, attendees, random friends and foes throughout the interwebbers!   Here is a basic synopsis of the first few non-conference days and what shenanigans went down!    A story like this wouldn’t be complete without covering a little bit of what turned out to be days –3 and –2 respectively which were essentially the ‘commute’ for me.   I realize I’ve been quoting it as a ~44hr trip, but in all honestly when considering ‘local time’ and the time I essentially was on my way, consider it this way.. I started my journey to VMworld at 3PM PST (Localtime) on Thursday Aug 22 only to arrive on Saturday Aug 24th at 4PM, so lets chalk that up to a 49hr trip.   Probably one of my worst… but it is what it is/was!

Only to compound matters worse were my shoes MELTING in Dubai, I guess it was hot…

MeltingShoes

Unfortunately this resulted in nasty blisters on my feet which has effectively turned me into a hobbling mess.   I don’t know if I have JetLag because lets be honest… after some ridiculous travel like that… You should be exhausted regardless! So I’m playing all of that by ear!

But let’s focus on what’s going on with Day 0 and Day –1 … Obviously!    Outside of the standard name tagging and bombs of the Photo variety which sure beats the hell out of incoming rockets! (Though I’m not sure if anyone has ever referred to Josh Liebster (@jlobster) as an incoming rocket before…)

photobomb ATagWithaView

So the Welcome Reception kicked off with a resounding Success!  Cheers to EMC for having a ‘Win an iPad mini after every presentation’ I mean, if there were ever any better metrics to win something? Those certainly take the cake.   Special props go to the presenter of the session the 5 of us sat through, he was very entertaining, very good at his job of engaging and delivering.   The unfortunate side-effect of that is that after they built up a great story talking about VIPR it fell off after that.    It’s like OMG AWESOME+AWESOME=AWESOME == VIPR.  And then don’t say a DAMN thing about what VIPR really means beyond some buzzwords, though I hold that against the marketing group who gave them the pitch they were delivering; It has to be more than a slide saying OMG.

As always is the case… Was able to make it ~50 feet at most during the Welcome Reception because the traffic of conversation can be rather encompassing!   But I look forward to visiting various awesome vendors throughout the week, especially some of the smaller ones you likely have never heard of, but should.   

To top the evening off our good friends who run the VMUnderground Party kicked off a pretty awesome event at a very interesting and sizable location, so well props to them and future and further successes to them!   There may be additional stories to share on that… but I won’t open Pandora’s box yet!

I expect so much more throughout the week, and I’ll be meeting with some potentially game-changing vendors and partners to share the awesome that is they have to share.   As always if you’re looking for some particular insight, shoot up a flare and I’ll personally launch a vendetta to ensure we all walk away more educated. :)

Finally, A few comments…

This isn’t the first year I’ve had to say this, but VMware in their infinite wisdom are all like HEY LETS HAVE VMWORLD IN ONE OF THE MOST EXPENSIVE CITIES IN THE WORLD WITH SOME OF THE FEWEST HOTELS. And then someone else chimes in, “When should we do it? I hear the America’s Cup is on until August 30th, lets make sure it overlaps so the already ridiculous priced hotels are even more expensive”.   I mean, that HAS to be the conversation because seriously? San Francisco? I talked to someone tonight who’s paying $618 a night for their hotel.   Not that ridiculous comes to mind but it’d be cheaper to rent out half of vegas and still host 200 simultaneous conventions while STILL having affordable hotels available.   Not that I’m bitter, I’m here but I’m not worried about *me*.   This is for all of the smaller SMB/SME organizations who need the benefits of Virtualization and a CONFERENCE of virtualization the most.   They’re the ones who suffer by the all encompassing high costs of San Francisco for a convention venue.

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The Ultimate Guide to attending #VMworld 2013 – AND ON A BUDGET!

June 4th, 2013

Alright, let me get it out of the way – This isn’t the first time I’ve written about VMworld and how to prepare for it, and I’m pretty sure it won’t be the last!  Feel free to check out the Appendix section at the bottom of this post and you’ll see all of the previous postings on the subject.  And I do encourage you to read those entries as this will take bits and pieces from them but they still stand on their own as an excellent source whether this is your first VMworld or your 10th.      And with that said…

Happy 10th VMworld Anniversary!

This is the 10th Anniversary for VMworld and with that, I want to make sure you’re getting the BEST and MOST out of this experience, so I’ll break things down into a few key areas.   Areas such as Packing, Transportation, Networking, Security and Safety are covered in DEPTH in last years Definitive Guide.

This year I’ll be covering a few other areas which are often overlooked and some may perceive as CONTROVERSIAL! Ooh… Imagine that! ;)

BUDGET! BUDGET! BUDGET!!!

Have you ever been to San Francisco? It’s like New York, with out all the… oh hell, it’s fricking San Francisco, a city with like 4 hotels and 25,000 people attending a conference the same weekend as the America’s Cup, which is a kind way of saying “If it wasn’t already ridiculously expensive, it just got even MORE SO”   So, hopefully some of the following tips will help you save a little money and make this trip affordable or even, possible.

Getting there

Getting to VMworld will likely involve you taking an airplane unless you live in the Nor-Cal area, and even then you’ll want to stay locally; Believe me – The details covered under Transportation speak to it rather well the reasoning, justification and even a little ROI/TCO on why staying within 3 miles of Moscone is so important.    For those of you who still have yet to book your transportation and as the day quickly comes upon us I advise you to check out ITASoftware’s Matrix as a means to find the ‘cheapest’ air fare and go from there.  It’s a great tool which will help you search and see what the cheapest is; and it does update as tickets disappear and only more expensive fares are left.   Oh, and if you can carpool from the Airport, doooo it!

Staying there

If you read my blog post in January of this year encouraging you to BOOK YOUR HOTELS NOW, then you should be taken care of! But for those of you who didn’t book your hotel at that time (I didn’t… but I wanted you to get ahead of it! ;)) Here are some alternatives which can help take the sting out of the $400 a night hotels which are currently available (Alright, seriously, Yea, the cheap-ass hotels are coming in at >$400 due to the America’s Cup, VMworld and the fact that San Francisco is a hotel wasteland.)   If you’re new to the game, you should check out Airbnb which is basically a service where people rent out their apartments, houses, rooms in their homes, etc.   There are a lot of options, as an example I booked 7 days at a really nice studio all to myself for $1001; Which to say the least is not bad considering $400 a night hotels are ridiculous.   So if the opportunity presents itself, find a nice place to stay with a reasonable price – that’s a far better alternative to staying at the Marriott SFO at over an hours travel away!

Eating there

The events of VMworld should be feeding you at most every opportunity, whether breakfast, lunch, or some partner sponsored dinner-type event.   This isn’t like the days gone past where food was high quality and flowing at every opportunity.   So keep your wits about you and take the opportunities for food as they come along.   There are a lot of food opportunities all about which you can also take advantage of, which won’t require you to break the bank.

Attending there

Okay, maybe you haven’t gotten your ticket yet – If it’s still before June 10th, you can get the $1695 Early Bird Discount! Either way, be sure to take advantage of things like VMUG Advantage, VCP and Alumni discount, and if your Vendor has a special discount code (Like EMC, NetApp, Dell, etc) definitely find out and roll with it!   Whatever it takes to get you there, paid for, and enjoying the show!

Bringing your Spouse?!

I almost forgot to add this, since I’m sure you can tell this CLEARLY wasn’t written in a serial fashion with me jumping around and editing!

Crystal Lowe, supporter of the Virtualization Community, Past sponsor of #CXIParty and all around awesome person runs this thing called Spousetivities which provides activities for spouses attending the conference to get together, network, do non-conference things, things to do so you’re not holed up in a hotel the whole time!   This is her 5th year of offering these kinds of activities, and this year is bound to be as epic as every year!  Definitely check it out!

The Top 5 MUSTs for VMworld 2013

  1. Bring and WEAR Comfortable Shoes
    1. To quote a good friend who once was working a tech conference show floor when a marketing head came over to him and said, “I’m sorry, you need to change your shoes”, this to a highly technical mind who is going to be standing on the show floor talking to customers for >10hrs a day.  His cordial response was, “I’m here to help revolutionize our customers datacenters, I’m not here to fracking sell shoes”.  Alright, maybe I slightly censored things a bit… But you get the point; and if not, I’ll hit it home!   Hey, you’re a customer, a partner, someone who is spending their hard earned money to BE there and learn about awesome and excellent technologies and network and meet with other people.  This isn’t Milan or the Club (in the club, club, club…) Be comfortable, be yourself and well, be comfortable… You’re going to be doing a lot of walking and standing, and it’s going to hurt!
  2. Carry only what you need in your wallet and on your person
    1. Remember that time your wallet got stolen in San Francisco and it ruined your whole week? Yea, it didn’t happen and it won’t.  The same can be said for your Android, iPad, Laptop, Bag, or some other ridiculous thing.   Hey, I get it… You’re going to be taking notes while you’re there, so you need your laptop… Wait, sorry I can’t say that with a straight face…, I mean… ;)  Just be responsible and reasonable.  There are a lot of good people here at the conference (I’ve found the owners of a number of Blackberries, iPhones, missing Laptops, you name it) but on the same token I’ve also met a lot of sad people who turned their head for a second and were without their precious (my precious…)  Please don’t let that be you.
  3. Contact your vendor / Sales / SE and let them know you’ll BE at VMworld!
    1. Did you know that your SEs not only want to meet, greet and see you at VMworld… they also want and need justification to get sent there themselves?  Imagine how grateful they’d be to you for giving their management justification to send THEM!  I’m sure their expense wallets will open like a waterfall for just kind of awesomeness! Oh, and of course they’ll want to talk to you about their tech or whatever.   But seriously, Vendors throw parties and it’s nice for them to know when their customers will be there so they can invite you, or get you in front of their Execs and Leadership for your feedback and all that jazz.   It’s a great opportunity to forge those partnerships even stronger, so take advantage of it!
  4. Bring Business Cards
    1. I say this every year and I’ll continue to say it.  Smaller vendors will have contests which ask for business cards, oh and people like to exchange business cards! Every now and then someone will say BUT I HAS A QR CODE. Yea, no one wants your stupid QR code.   There, I said it. Your QR code is stupid. Get a damn business card and exchange your information, I mean what’s the alternative? #5?
  5. Get an account on Twitter (now) and start following the who, what, where of goings on leading up to and AT VMworld!
    1. Yea. Get yourself a twitter account, it’s not difficult, and there’s a client for every mobile device.   Interesting fact, the live-tweet coverage of the Keynotes quite frankly usually blows away the ACTUAL Keynote. :)   We also use Twitter as a means of keeping everyone abreast of what is going on at the Conference, Where the Parties are, who is attending various parties, and after parties as well!   If you’re not on Twitter, the only one missing out is you.   Some hashtags to follow before/during VMworld are
      1. #VMworld – Various event notes and VERY Spammy during the show, but good data
      2. #vExpert – The vExpert Community is a strong one and they tend to be in the know!
      3. #CXIDinner – I do nightly dinners, get togethers, networking, all that jazz at various locations AFTER all the parties are over
      4. #CXIParty – … I still haven’t decided if I’ll throw a party again, but if I do… you’ll be able to get details about it here!

Things NOT to do at VMworld 2013

Here comes some focus which I’ll catch a lot of flak for, but I think it’s important to be honest with you and unveil the secrets of decades of conferences.

  • Do not do any VMware Labs, or at best do a minimum amount of labs
    • WTF MAN? WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT? BUT IN LABS LABS LABS!!!  FROM 2012 YOU SAID TO DO LABS!?!?!!!
    • Yea, I said it. Don’t do labs. Thanks to Project Nee the VMware Hands On Labs are virtualized and in “Teh Clouds”, so don’t waste your time standing in line, or trying out a lab.   I mean sure if you want to see something after having just attended a session which you want to see live and in person, go spend the time to get to know it, But the days of spending your whole week in the lab are so totally over.   There are so many better areas to focus your attention.   Disclaimer; If a VENDOR has a set of ‘labs’ in their booth, AND you can win prizes like iPads or some crap, by all means go check out THEIR Labs.   Now I know the Lab Proctors will get all hate on me for telling you not to lab, but I can’t lie to you and tell you to avoid the cloud and project nee and more!   Your time is FAR too valuable for that.
  • Do not eat lunch onsite at #VMworld and at the Moscone Center
    • Okay now, you’re really starting to seriously piss me off! IT’S FREE FOOD, AND IT’S RIGHT THERE IN THE MIDDLE OF THE EVENT!
    • Alright, a little disclaimer on that. It’s okay if you EAT there so long as you’re eating with people you don’t know or at least engaging in conversations which are advancing your purpose for being at the show.   It’s cute and all to eat with your friends and talk about the latest Lolcats or the trite marketecture session you attended with no real technical merit… But taking a step away, meeting up with a group of people you don’t know and eating and exploring the wonder that is San Francisco.  Well, it’s worth it.   I’ll be honest, this won’t be my first nor last VMworld, and I’m currently in the warzone in Afghanistan with some of the quite possibly worst food in the world.  And even with all that, I still would rather not eat the VMworld ‘lunch’ food. ;)
  • Do not spend a lot of time with your co-workers / colleagues
    • Awesome, now this is something I can get behind! Wait… Why not?!
    • Your colleagues are great, I’m sure they’re the best folks in the world, now it’s time to pawn them off on someone else and get to know someone else and network.  Get outside of your comfort zone, otherwise this won’t be a conference, it’ll be a fricking bake sale.  Yea, I totally get that the analogy doesn’t work, which is even further reason to ditch your workmates!   Get out there, meet someone new, head to lunch with them! SEE WHAT i DID THERE?! ;)  But seriously, if you’re shy, or afraid or whatever, Find me, and I’ll introduce you to some new friends, it’s what I do.   Any other of my fellow friends will do the same.   So get out there, and network.
  • If at all possible, do NOT pay for anything
    • Sweet! That’s another one I can get behind! So what does it mean?!?!
    • There are a lot of vendors here. Know your vendors you do a lot of business with, they have expense accounts.  I’ve been the vendor a number of times, they’ll buy you drinks, they’ll buy you dinner, they’ll do even crazier than that.   But let me stress.  Don’t be a dick about it. You know that douche bag who is all WELL MY VENDOR MUST TAKE CARE OF ME. Yea, You, Guy, No. Get away. But the rest of you, know that pretty much all food/drinks during all reasonable hours should be taken care of by someone else.   When it comes to chilling with some new found friends to not expect one of them to pick up the tab, if they do that is just so much more awesome.
  • Seriously. Don’t be a misogynist or an otherwise stupid idiot, in public or private
    • I know it’s a conference, and you are outside of your element, but that doesn’t grant you the right to be a douche bag, a drunken idiot, or a sexual harassment lawsuit waiting to happen.   @drjmetz summed it up pretty nicely in his Technical Conferences and (In)Appropriate Behavior  So, please don’t be that guy (or girl)
  • And last but not least… Don’t be afraid to do something you normally wouldn’t do.  Whether it’s talking to that famous celebrity (virtual celeb?!), check out that vendor you’ve always had your eye on, attend a session which isn’t EXACTLY in your role to see what it’s like outside of that, or even to put on a cat ears – This is pretty much no holds barred! Enjoy yourself, but do it responsibly, this is San Francisco after all…

Summary

I know what you’re thinking, “Wow, this is one of the shortest VMworld Guides I’ve read yet!” Damn skippy it is! I don’t see a whole lot of sense in copying/pasting what the previous posts in the appendix below cover.  I said it there and it still applies, so definitely check it out.   This conference is all about you and it is all FOR you, don’t let anyone else tell you otherwise.   VMware, it’s Technology, the Community, this whole Industry wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for you, the Admins, the Practitioners, the Customer, all of you; the Partners and Vendors know this even if they sometimes may not let on that they do.   Get what you want and need out of this conference, and respectively… get value out of this which will benefit you and your organization.    If you disagree with any of the points made, let me know! I love your comments and you only make this content stronger and better.    Walk away from this experience better for it, and bettering the encounters you have with everyone else you meet.  No one will argue that merit as a matter of point!

Enjoy the show and I’ll see you there for my first time back in the US after over 200 days in Afghanistan! Follow my continued updates on Twitter @cxi leading up to, and during the show!  And don’t hesitate to come up and say hi! :)

Appendix

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Want to attend #VMworld for Free?!!? vDestination’s contest ends 14 Jun 2013!!!

June 4th, 2013

So, I knew about this contest that Greg Stuart @vDestination was running and I wanted to make sure that YOU knew about it too!

vDestination is sending you to VMworld 2013… for free!!!

Every year since Greg has been doing this, I’ve been telling you about it, and hoping that one of you will win! I mean, ONE of you will win, certainly.. and I want to make sure that as many people get their opportunity for their free pass and all the rest to get there and experience VMworld for themselves!

I’m in the process of writing the 2013 Guide to VMworld as I write this, but you have –10- days to enter and win this contest, so I wasn’t going to let it wait any longer! Get over to vDestination.com and ENTER and hopefully WIN!

Some of you might be asking, “Is anyone else running a contest like this?” Well… a FEW companies were, but they aren’t running it anymore. As in, it’s over.  This may be your last chance.   But also, let it be known… if you’re buying passes for VMworld, Early-Bird discounts are still available and good until June 10th.  So you have 6 days to get $500 off… so if you work for a not-so-cheap-ass company who can send you, get them a discount! :)

GO ENTER! WIN!

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A VMworld Public Service Announcement from your favorite #vExpert! ;) (Book your hotel NOW)

January 28th, 2013

It’s the End of January, 2013 is finally here, so the first thing on your mind should obviously be… VMWORLD!!!

For those of you who attended last year, you might recall OMG I HAVE TO TAKE A TAXI, BART OR CAR FROM THE SFO AIRPORT?!?!

Yea, that’s right. Because you didn’t book your hotel soon enough.  It’s not your fault that San Francisco effectively has like, 3 hotels which aren’t an arm and a leg expensive.   But that doesn’t mean you need to suffer through this indignation again!   Do what *most* of us truthfully did…   We booked our hotels MONTHS and MONTHS in advance!   Here are a few cute little facts:

  • Hotels unlike Airline tickets can be booked out a bazillion years in advance
  • Hotels unlike Airline tickets can be CANCELLED as close as up to 24hrs in advance without paying any fees
  • Hotels will often fill up the “Cheap” rooms as they’re sold on a tiered basis, so you can lock in a good room for a good rate EARLY.

So what does this all mean?

OMG VMWORLD IS AUG 26-29 2013 – BOOK YOUR HOTEL NOW!!!

Register for VMworld 2013 now!!!

I mean, you can pre-register if you want as well, but I know some of you won’t know what your training budget looks like, sometimes upwards of DAYS before you’re supposed to attend.   So I encourage you… book your walking distance hotel now from the Moscone instead of booking it days before-hand with a 30-60 minute commute staying at the SFO Airport or somewhere else horribly ridiculous.

And worst case scenario, you don’t get your budget? Well, then just cancel your hotel room and it goes back into the pool, no harm no foul.

Pro-Tip: I’ve actually found that sometimes using the VMworld sanctioned hotel code/etc to actually make the room MORE Expensive, so don’t use that as an excuse.   Get ahead of this before you regret it later :)

THIS HAS BEEN A PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT. HAD THIS BEEN A REAL EMERGENCY, THERE WOULD HAVE BEEN COOKIES.

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