VMworld sessions by the numbers

This year it seemed even tougher than ever to get a session approved, I know of many good sessions/speakers that were shot down. VMware has taken over more and more session slots and when you take into account the sessions that they owe sponsors as part of their sponsorships, that leaves not much for everyone else. There are a lot of good bloggers and vExperts that have submitted great session proposals that are now finding it almost impossible to get approved. Part of the problem stems from the fact that VMware has really grown as a company and their product portfolio is getting larger and larger. As a result they have a lot more session areas that they probably need to cover which squeezes out everyone else. Gone are the days of just ESX & vCenter Server being the featured session topics, now we have dozens of other products that they need to cover at VMworld.

It seems like VMworld has gotten too big for it’s britches and steadily completed the transformation into VMwareworld. It’s unfortunate that they do not try and expand it out by adding additional rooms and capacity as they are just shutting out their loyal partners and all the great bloggers, customers and vExperts out there. If you’ve been to VMworld for many years you’ve probably noticed the change yourself. Many people will start to get discouraged and no longer submit session proposals which is unfortunate. VMware really needs to step up and support a non-VMware led conference that allows all the great content & speakers outside of VMware to have a voice like a VMware Technical Exchange.

Was going through the Schedule Builder today and was curious as to the number of sessions for different categories:

Total sessions: 455 (This includes all the different session types)

Sessions by Type:

  • Breakout Session – 293
  • CEO Roundtable – 1
  • Certification Exam – 1
  • Group Discussion – 56
  • Hands-on Lab – 36
  • Meet the Experts – 16
  • Panel Session – 35
  • Spotlight Session – 17

Sessions by Days:

  • Monday – 141
  • Tuesday – 146
  • Wednesday – 181
  • Thursday – 55

Sessions by Technical Level:

  • Business Solution – 108
  • Technical – 165
  • Advanced Technical – 58

I also searched on company keywords for speakers and here were the results:

  • VMware – 306 (includes sessions that may be shared with other companies)
  • Cisco – 6
  • EMC – 6
  • Dell – 5
  • NetApp – 4
  • HP – 4
  • IBM – 3
  • Hitachi – 1

As you can see VMware dominates and all the other large companies are getting squeezed out, but hey it’s their show and I guess they can do what they want.

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  1. Eric, this doesn’t take into account that a lot of those 306 VMware sessions are presented in conjunction with a customer or partner. At least when I search for “VMware” my first results page is about 1/3 shared sessions.

  2. Yeah I should of clarified that, I updated the post, thanks.

  3. would love to see a matrix of how many of the sessions that were part of the voting process actually made it (not including sessions by VMware only folks).

  4. Sure, some of the 306 may include partners, but the reason they got approved was because of VMware’s involvement. There were many sessions submitted on identical topics that weren’t approved.

    To be fair, especially with a new/updated product launch expected, there are going to be sessions that only VMware can do. And you are right, it’s their conference and we’ve been told clearly that there will never be another situation like there was with EMC and the 2010 session voting…

    But it’s certainly discouraging people. Kenny Coleman, who has presented at two or three straight VMworld conferences, submitted a total of 8 for approval and got none. I believe EMC and VCE together submitted around 130 presentations, and got a total of 6, with some of those coming as part of the sponsorship package.

    Maybe your idea of a technical exchange event where VMware lets people have more of a shot is a good idea. Until then, I’m not going to waste my time with submissions. I’d rather play the lottery, since the odds are the same and the payout is better…

  5. Me too, of those 1800+ submissions what was the breakdown of acceptance/rejections and how many VMware sessions were shot down.

  6. Interesting stats. I would like to point out that while I am a Cisco employee, my session was submitted as an individual. I’ll gladly represent my company as best as I can given that my session was accepted but I submitted my session because i thought it would be content people would be interested in on PowerCLI and vCO.

    In truth I have no idea if my being a Cisco employee had any bearing to my acceptance but given some other data I’ve seen I’m thinking it wasn’t much of a factor. I’m going to cling to that so don’t try to take it away 🙂

    Don’t forget that the vBrownBag crew are hosting a series of Lightning TechTalks for folks who may not have had their sessions selected. We have some of those very strong community folks getting time to talk. There are still a few slots open and you can submit your abstract on http://professionalvmware.com/ These sessions will take place in the VMware community area and broadcasted live.

    Thanks Eric! Looking forward to seeing everyone at VMworld!

  7. I was one of the lucky independents that got a session approved at VMworld. Although I have a co-presenter from VMware, the session submission was all mine. I ended up getting two of my session submissions accepted, and then got asked to co-present a third. So it’s not just all VMware people. Both of my approved sessions (of 5 submitted) have had additional VMware or non-VMware people added to them. There is just so much content it’s really hard to get it all in such a small number of sessions.

  8. I did a similar breakdown for VMworlds 2011 and if you don’t work for VMware or a major partner, it’s pretty much guaranteed you won’t be asked to present.
    US – http://www.wooditwork.com/2011/06/09/vmworld-2011-session-content-breakdown/
    Europe – http://www.wooditwork.com/2011/06/17/vmworld-europe-2011-session-content-breakdown/

    I honestly think the days of independent presentations are pretty much over. With VMware’s product offering ever expanding and limited conference days there just isn’t time to schedule in anything and VMware obviously needs to ensure it and its partners deliver presentations “on message”.

    The forum for independent presentations is local VMUGs but maybe future VMworlds could introduce some community presentations maybe during breakfast time possibly organised by the VMUGs and voted for by the community.

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