VMworld Virgin Tips by vExperts

So it’s finally happening or at least it seems that way (Thanks to John Troyer and my boss). All the planets have lined up and it looks like I will finally be attending my very first VMworld conference in Vegas this year. I have been trying to attend this conference for some time now and it just didn’t happen. Now that my flight is booked, I started to look around for some tips for VMworld virgins like myself. To my surprise I didn’t find a lot of information. So I asked the vExpert community for any suggestions that would prove to be beneficial for first time attendees, and like always I got awesome feedback. In hopes to help out someone who might also be attending for the first time, I figured it will be best if I summarize the feedback I got. Of course, after attending the conference if I find out that anything needs to be altered below, I will certainly update this post. Calvin Z., Chris D.David M.VMroyalmbletschincaldwelrrcardona2k and Christoper K. were among the few who responded promptly.

Your priority should be as follow:

  • Networking
  • Sessions and labs (that seem most beneficial)
  • Vendor booths (thats where all the free stuff is :D)

Although VMworld is an awesome place for one to get introduced to new topics and tools. The sessions and labs at VMworld are priceless but most of the sessions will become available online and can be viewed later. The labs, well thanks to VMware you can always create your own labs. Dont get me wrong, labs and sessions are still very important and be sure to sign up for labs and sessions that you think will be most beneficial to you. However, VMworld provides a platform for one to build/expand their network and this conference should certainly be used for that as much as possible. Here you will not only get to see some really awesome tools but also the even more smart people who designed the tools we use everyday. This is your chance to reach out to them, introduce yourself and get a conversation going.. pick their brains.. Most bloggers that are followed will also be here and if you have been following a blogger for sometime now, here is you opportunity to finally meet them and ask them questions. By the way did I mention that Duncan Epping and Frank Denneman will have the opening session at VMworld US 2011. The topic will be “Clustering QA” and I will be damned if I miss that.

Try to be approachable and feel free to engage in conversations with others. The sooner the better, dont wait till the last day. This year VMworld requires you to signup for sessions and labs prior to the conference. The good thing is that you wont have to stand in line like before. So based on the feedback I received, the best thing that you can do for yourself is signup for all the sessions that you think will be beneficial to you, and when the time comes to attend nobody will hold a gun to your head if you fail to show up. However, it will be best if you only signup for sessions that interests you or else you might fill up a session for no reason and waste seats that could have served a purpose otherwise.

VMworld provides great opportunities for some excellent labs and this might be a good place for you to familiarize with new products or products you haven’t used before. These hands-on labs can be beneficial for everyone and there is always something for everyone. But again, don’t get lost in the coolness of the labs and sessions, make sure you use this opportunity to expand your network with some extremely smart people that will certainly show up there. There is no need for me to stress upon the importance of a good network in IT. VMroyal from VMTN said:

I always find it very helpful to walk around Sunday and get the lay of the land.  That way, come Monday you know where everything is and aren’t scrambling trying to figure all of that out.  Sunday is also a great day to walk around and meet people, as there won’t be as many people there and the environment is a bit less hectic.

Lastly, vendors from all conners will also be at VMworld marketing their products. Use some time walk across the hallway and see if there is anything you like. You never know, you might come across something that might make you look like superman in front of your boss. Moreover, Christoper K. pointed out the opportunities to win things at VMworld and a lot of free stuff that is given away by vendors. If you are like me, there is no need to expand on how cool geeky free stuff can be. Again, while you are signing up for things that you could potentially win, don’t forget to exchange business cards.

From what I have heard, just like other conferences, wifi may or may not be as good as one may like. If you are looking into carrying around your laptop for live blogging or whatever reason be sure to be independent for your internet connectivity. If the conference wifi does not work to your likings, you might be carrying extra weight for no reason. Also like Christoper K. pointed out:

This is Vegas.  A very safe, and secure city (I do not say that in jest…)  casino employs their own security staff, you have Homeland security on the streets, the LVPD, and who knows what other number of things.  However, things do/will get lost.   You don’t want to lose your laptop or have it get snatched when some trespassing thief decides to grab your loose bag.

So if you don’t need your laptop, don’t carry the extra weight. You can always get a really cool EMC or Netapp notepad to take notes with a vKernel pen :). It has been suggested to me that a small video camera may also be a good alternative to talking notes.

This is basically what I have to help you get started for the conference of your life. As always, these are just suggestions and you don’t necessarily have to strictly follow them. I figured they will be useful to someone who is attending VMworld for the first time like myself. I will try to keep this post updated if I receive any new information thats worth adding. I also plan to share my experience of VMworld US 2011. Hopefully if you reading this, I will see you in about a month 🙂

vCartoon of the Week (07/25/2011)



Licensing Party

Credit: M. Ali


Licensing Poll Result; vRAM = Cloud

So this past saturday I posted a poll in hopes for trying to understand besides the reasons I covered for VMware to switch their licensing model, what else could be the driving factor for VMware to make such a drastic change. Before I get into what I discovered, let me summarize the feedback from the polls.

As of today, I received 195 responses and if you are interested in computing the margin of error, be my guest I think its somewhere between 7%-9%. Out of the 195 responses only 24.1% said they will either pay less or the same with the new licensing model. 60.51% of the respondents will either have to pay 2, 3 or even 4 times as much. And 15.38% said the change will ruin their future plans. Somehow based on what I have seen @ VMTN in the pass few days, I am not surprised by these numbers. But I found something else that I thought was very interesting.

84.61% of the respondents owned 100 or less hosts in their environment and 54.87% owned less than 25. Also, 51.28% of the respondents represented companies with 500 or less employees. 21.03% had 500-2500 employees, 20.51% had 2500-25000 employees and only 7.18% were representing large organizations of 25000 employees or more. I think this has been the most interesting part of the poll. It’s clear from the numbers that the SMBs are the ones that are really getting impacted by this in a huge way. Specially small businesses with 100 employees or less. And I can understand why this would be the case as well. Being an IT shop in a small business, one will be required to do more with less and oversubscription of memory would have been a big thing for them. Now with vRAM, they may see a huge cost increase and as result we might even witness a mass exodus.

Here is my conspiracy theory and no its not that Paul Maritz owns a lot of shares in MS, I find that comical. What I think is happening is that VMware is pushing the SMB towards the cloud. And if you calm down and think about it for a second, its actually beneficial for you and for VMware as well. Most people who are angry at VMware are screaming and yelling about how they will switch to Xen or even HyperV. Come on, its not like your girlfriend has cheated on you and now you have to get even. It’s time to think smart!

If you are on the switching platform bandwagon and HyperV, Xen etc are among your options, please keep in mind that VMware came on this road for a reason and its only a matter of time before the others follow. Not to mention, the others have always been the followers when it comes to virtualization and what we are witnessing today is not any different. If you do switch to a different platform, you will only end up being mad at MS, Citrix or whomever else you end up with for the very same reason VMware may have upset you today. Unless you like being tortured, I would highly recommend that you look at different cloud providers as your option as well. This will be your most viable option and I am not saying this because I happen to be a major cloud provider’s employee.

Let’s face it, the cloud is here to stay and we have heard the word being thrown over and over again for sometime now. But nobody really knows what it is. If you ask 10 people to define a cloud, you will get 10 different definitions of a cloud. That’s because every cloud is different and unique in its own way. Instead of wasting your time with evaluating inferior hypervisors because you can’t afford the best in the business anymore, I recommend that you look into the world of clouds seriously. You will end up in the cloud one way or another and its about time that you seriously look into what they have to offer.

Keep in mind, if VMware has upset you today, going to competitors isn’t your best option. If you are leaving because you can’t afford VMware anymore and going to a competitor will teach ’em a lesson, I would really like to see you getting signed up for SNL. Look into the cloud today, the competitors will push you there anyways, its a matter of time. Keep in mind, they are always playing catch-up and this time around isn’t any different.

On a lighter note if you think your girlfriend has cheated on you, what does getting even really do for you? 🙂

Free VMworld Pass!!!

It doesn’t happen everyday. I just learned about it as well. A fellow blogger Greg Stuart is giving away one free VMworld (Vegas) pass on his blog. If you are interested in attending the VMworld 2011 in Vegas this year but can’t figure out how this will happen, go to his blog simply reply back to the post with the information that is requested and you might be the lucky one. We all know VMworld passes can be pricy if you are paying for them out of pocket, added cost of hotel and air fair only makes it even more expensive. If you are not familiar with VMworld, you probably came to this page by accident.

vCartoon of the Week (07/18/2011)

Another great idea that isn’t really mine came from old friend. So basically every Monday (I will try my best) I plan to post a cartoon in the “vCartoon” section of my blog. The vCartoons will cover the virtual world in a comical way to lighten our already long Mondays. I have never been the artistic kind so I had to reach out to an old friend of mine. The vCartoons are produced by M. Ali.

As of now I haven’t figured out how to create a link to a category. As soon as I do, you will see a link to simply view all the vCartoons on the blog. If you have a vCartoon idea please send it to me I will request Ali to make it happen. In light of the licensing fiasco, enjoy the first vCartoon.