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Aug 22 2017

How to experience VMworld 2017 without attending it

As much as everyone would love to attend VMworld many people can not go for a variety reasons but you can still get a lot out of the show even if you do not attend. I thought I’d highlight some of the many resources that are available to virtual attendees to be able to participate in the show from the comfort of your home or office.

BEAMs

BEAMs are like true virtual attendees that allow you to control a mobile robot with a monitor and camera and wander around the VMTN community area (VMvillage) and interact with people. I first saw these last year at VMworld and was a little freaked out by them but they are pretty cool. VMware has 3 of these available for remote people to sign-up and control for about 30 minutes, time slots are available Mon-Thurs starting at 8:00am through 3:30-6:30pm depending on the day.  Go sign-up now and reserve your BEAM and stalk people at VMworld.

The bloggers

There are hundreds of bloggers that write about VMware technology and there is no shortage of bloggers that attend VMworld and report on what they see, hear and experience at the show. You can expect bloggers to write about anything from thoughts and opinions on products and companies to what parties they attended to live blogging about sessions they attend. VMware has a special list of VMworld bloggers along with feeds to keep you informed of all the latest blogger posts.

My Planet vSphere-land Top 100 blogger feed is a good way to read about what is going on as reported by the bloggers. You can also keep an eye on the Planet v12n feed but  be aware that Planet v12n only keeps the latest 100 blog posts so you will want to read up on it daily and not wait until the end of the week or you’ll miss out. Here are some additional links:

Twitter

If you’re not on Twitter by now, why not? You may not be that social or the chatty type but its a great way to listen in on the thousands of people on social media all talking about VMworld. So if you don’t have an account, sign-up now before VMworld and then use the many VMworld focused twitter resources to listen in and participate in real time. The @VMworld account is the official account for VMworld so make sure and follow it, you also might follow the most popular bloggers as well to see what they are saying about VMworld. You can see the top bloggers here along with their twitter handles and also check out my list of the Top 100 VMware/virtualization people to follow.

You’ll also want to keep an eye on hashtags that flag tweets that related to a specific topic. The most used hashtag (and official) for VMworld is #vmworld, there are also hashtags specific to each session (#sessionID) and fun ones such as #vmworld3word and #vmworldselfie. VMware also has a Social Stream of Twitter feeds available that is like a giant tweet billboard that you can watch to see the latest Twitter action at VMworld.

theCUBE

Located in the VMvillage theCUBE is kind of like the ESPN of tech events and provides live coverage and interviews throughout the whole event. Hosts John Furrier, Dave Vellante and Stu Miniman interview high profile guests from VMware, partners and others and talk about all the latest trends, announcements and action that happens at VMworld. Head on over to their VMworld 2017 landing page and you can see the whole lineup of guests which includes well known people such as Pat Gelsinger, Michael Dell and Yanbing Li.

Live streams

VMware doesn’t live stream breakout sessions but they do live stream the 2 main general sessions which are where all the new product announcements are made. The opening general session (Monday 9:00-10:30am PDT) is historically more focused on VMware’s high level vision and strategies as heard from Pat Gelsinger and Sanjay Poonen. The 2nd general session (Tuesday 9:00-10:30am PDT) is more focused on the details and specific products and technologies and typically features more techie speakers such as Ray O’Farrell and  Kit Colbert. The Thursday general session is more a fun one without VMware speakers and featuring super smart folks from places like MIT and Stanford to talk about cool hi-tech science and technology, this one is not live streamed.

There is no need to sign-up to view the general sessions live, just head on over to the general session page and click on the calender invite for them. Note the invite doesn’t have a specific link to view the session it’s just a reminder for them, if you go the the main VMworld.com page right before each general session starts there should be a link there to view it live.

YouTube/Videos

In prior years VMware had a camera crew roaming around VMworld recording content for VMworld TV which was narrated in part by the famous Mr. Sloof. Every day they featured a nice roll-up of the days happenings. Unfortunately VMware decided to not do that at the US show last year (they did have it at Barcelona) and I suspect they won’t again this year at the US show. [edit: sounds like they might be doing it at the US event minus Mr. Sloof though] However they still do have a YouTube playlist for VMworld 2017 that currently feature videos like “Top Reasons to attend VMworld 2017” and “VMworld 2017 Highlights” but I suspect they will still be posting video content there throughout the show so keep checking that playlist and subscribe to the VMworld YouTube account to see what they post this year. If you miss the general session live streams the recordings of them should be available shortly afterwards on the YouTube channel. Also check out the Social link on this page which aggregates Facebook, Instagram and Twitter videos tagged with #VMworld.

vBrownBag

What is a BrownBag? It’s what you pack your lunch in so you can bring it somewhere and eat while doing something. As it relates to technology that “doing something” is watching someone speak on a specific topic, essentially a lunch and learn. The vBrownBags have been around for many years and were born as a podcast series for virtualization experts to share knowledge and experiences with others. That has since carried over to live events and you can find vBrownBags usually at VMUG Usercon’s and VMworld events.

The vBrownBag sessions will be held throughout each day at VMworld inside the VMvillage area and will feature vExperts, bloggers, product experts and more talking on a variety of topics. You can view the entire vBrownBag schedule here in the Content Catalog (there are 80 of them!) and you don’t have to be there to watch them as they will also be live streamed. So don’t miss these informal, educational sessions where you’ll learn all sorts of great stuff, just be sure and pack your own lunch.

VMTN Homepage Takeover

VMworld will be taking over the main VMTN communities page which will aggregate all sorts of content such as  livestream videos, VMworld social, live podcasts, blogs, {code}fest updates, and links to the forums with information on the latest VMware announcements. So bookmark this page and check it daily during VMworld.

View recorded sessions

Almost all breakout sessions at VMworld are recorded as it’s impossible for attendees to see more than a small fraction of the amount of total sessions (700+). The recordings allow attendees to watch each session after the event is over to check out all the great sessions that they could not attend while at the event. The audio for all sessions is recorded and presented along with the slides for each session, in some cases for more popular sessions they have video recorded them as well at past VMworlds.

In the past the session recordings were only meant for registered attendees and were posted soon after the show ends but starting last year VMware opened them up to everyone right after the show was over. You’ll probably have to wait a few days/weeks for them all to get posted on the VMworld website, note there old session viewing page is gone and replaced with a new session on-demand library. Right now the default channel shows 2016 sessions but you can change the year in the link or search to see other years sessions as well. VMware also tends to post some of the popular sessions on the VMworld YouTube channel as well quicker than they post in the on-demand library like this playlist of 38 sessions from VMworld 2016.


As you can see not attending VMworld doesn’t mean you have to miss out on all the exciting action that occurs there. The one thing you do miss out on (besides the parties) that is hard to re-create virtually is the face to face networking but their is plenty of options available that allow you to soak in the conference and still get good value out of it from afar. So if you can’t attend be sure and check out the resources that we covered here and look on the bright side, you’re also missing out on the hot Vegas heat, the mediocre lunches and the hangovers.

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