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Aug 27 2015

How to experience VMworld 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 tele-VMworlders to be able to participate in the show from the comfort of your home or office.

vmworldThe 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.

You can also keep an eye on the Planet v12n feed directly but you’ll have to sort through non-VMworld posts as well. Also be aware that Planet v12n only keeps the latest 100 blog posts so when you have a lot of blog posts coming in a short period of time around events such as VMworld it will only show the last day or two before posts roll off it so you will want to read up on it daily and not wait until the end of the week or you’ll miss out.

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 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

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 2015 landing page and you can watch a special preview of the event and see the whole lineup of guests which includes well known people such as Pat Gelsinger and Stephen Herrod.

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) is historically more focused on VMware’s high level vision and strategies as heard from Robin Matlock, Pat Gelsinger and Carl Eschenbach. The 2nd general session (Tuesday) is more focused on the details and specific products and technologies and typically features more techie speakers such as VMware’s CTO, Ben Fathi and others like 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.

To sign-up to view the general sessions live head on over to VMware’s general session live streaming reminder page where you can put in your email address and be sent a calender invite for them. Note the invite doesn’t have a specific link to view the session but I suspect 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

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 that summarized what happened using the recordings that were made throughout the day. Unfortunately VMware decided to cancel that show so you will not be able to see that great video coverage this year. They still do have a YouTube playlist for VMworld 2015 that currently features some “Why Attend VMworld 2015” videos 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.

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 and feature vExperts, bloggers, product experts and more talking on a variety of topics. You can view the entire vBrownBag schedule here and the best part about it is 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.

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.

The sessions are only meant for registered attendees and are posted soon after the show ends but there are several ways for anyone to view sessions if they so desire. First off VMware always releases all of the prior years recorded session to the general public right before the current years VMworld begins so anyone can watch them. Despite being a year old there still is lots of great content in there. You can view all of the 2010-2014 sessions on the VMworld website (free account required).

Don’t want to wait a year, there are still ways to view this years sessions sooner. VMware typically posts some of the most popular sessions in batches over time on the VMworld YouTube channel shortly after the show ends so keep checking there, you can see the playlist from last year here. In addition VMware has also offered a season pass to people so they could subscribe to all the session content for around $700, not sure if they’ll do that this year or what the cost will be, check the VMworld.com website after the show and they may have some info on that.

Finally if you purchase a VMUG Advantage subscription which has a lot of great benefits one of the “advantages” is that it includes access to the recorded sessions.


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 crazy expensive hotel rooms, the mediocre lunches and the hangovers.

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