August 2017 archive

My pre-VMworld post mega roll-up

I’ve done a whole bunch of posts on various topics leading up to VMworld and I thought I would aggregate them all into one post so readers who are either attending VMworld or just listening in remotely can easily read through them.

This one is for the 2017 Top vBloggers and vExperts going to VMworld, I have goodies for you and so do some vendors:

This one details the top 30 people that I hope to run into at VMworld:

This one provides of brief overview of Zerto’s pre-VMworld new ZVR release:

This one is for the people who can’t attend VMworld and lists all the ways you can enjoy it from afar:

This one provides some tips and tricks for attending VMworld that I’ve picked up after 9 years of attending it:

This one covers my hand-picked list of the Top 20 sessions that you must see at VMworld:

This one provides an interesting analysis of the cost to hire the bands that have played at VMworld over the years:

This one provides a good overview of the parties at VMworld along with my picks of the best ones:

This one details both online resources and VMworld events that cover VVol replication:

This one covers Schedule Builder opening up for attendees:

This one provides an overview on why there are so few sessions devoted to VVols at VMworld this year:


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Top vBloggers and vExperts going to VMworld I have something for you

For any 2017 Top vBloggers going to VMworld US I have cool Top vBlog magnetic clothing buttons (no pins!) for you. I was able to make them as Top 10/25/50 this year as there was no die fee, I have enough for 2 for each blogger. Come find me at VMworld to pick yours up, ping me on Twitter and I’ll tell you where I’m at and try to meet you. I’ll also leave a supply of them at the Turbonomic booth which might be easier then trying to find me. And of course thanks to Turbonomic for making it possible. For those not attending VMworld US I’ll see if Turbonomic can bring some to VMworld EMEA to hand out and if you are not going to either event ping me and I’ll mail them to you. Virtual Top vBlog 2017 graphics for your blog are in the works.

For 9x vExpert’s (2009-2017) only I made a special magnetic clothing button for you (limited supply), so again find me at VMworld and get yours to display on your lanyard. Not a 9x vExpert don’t worry, I have it on very good authority that a certain vendor at the show (hint: they are listed in this post) has some cool vExpert buttons for you and some other swag. Stay tuned for details on that.

While there seem to be less vendors doing vExpert giveaways this year at VMworld there are a few other vendors I saw that are doing it, thank you to them!

See you at VMworld!

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Top 30 people I look forward to seeing at VMworld 2017

Last year I  did a post of the top 25 people that I look forward to seeing at VMworld and I thought I would update it for this year (and expand it to 30) with the top people that I look forward to seeing there as a well. First off, this is no reflection on anyone not on the list, this is purely personal preference based on relationships that I have built up over the years. So if you are not on this list please don’t get offended, I look forwarding to meeting all old friends at VMworld and making new ones and I’m sure there are names I just plain forgot. VMworld serves as that one special time of the year were the virtual community gets physical which is one of the best parts of VMworld. So without further ado and really in no particular order:

  • David Marshall – Close friend I met back in the early days of Hyper9, always a pleasure to catch-up with David at VMworld.
  • Duncan Epping – Who wouldn’t want to run into Duncan, always a pleasure chatting with him at VMworld.
  • Cormac Hogan – The legendary Mr. Storage at VMware from across the pond.
  • Jason Boche – A old dear friend back from the early VMTN and blogging days.
  • Pete Flecha – My VVol brother from another mother.
  • Rick Vanover – It’s the Rickatron, a Veeam legend.
  • John Troyer – The inventor of VMware social media, VMTN, vExperts, etc, a dear friend who I always look forward to catching up with.
  • Scott Lowe – Another OG blogger, we live 30 min from each other in CO but only see each other at distant events.
  • Chris Wahl – Chris is an all around fun person to know and hang with.
  • Mike Foley – I’ve known Mike for a long time and fondly remember hanging and drinking beer together at past VMworlds.
  • Tony Dunn – One of the original VMware social guys, Tony was always behind the scenes but  is a big part of VMware’s social media success.
  • Andy Banta – A new friend, we share a common passion for storage and VVols.
  • Howard Marks – Hard to not love Howard, he’s like the big storage teddy bear of the VMware and storage community.
  • Jane Rimmer – Long time community supporter and truly a wonderful and fun person.
  • Marc Farley – Industry storage vet that has gone full circle and is back at HPE.
  • Simon Seagrave – Dear friend and one of the nicest person’s you would ever meet, he’s finally moving stateside so hopefully I’ll see him more often.
  • David Davis – Ditto with David, have known him from back in his TrainSignal days.
  • Patrick Redknap – Patrick’s a party in a vBox and a lot of fun, always an adventure hanging out with him .
  • Rawlinson Rivera – Former captain in the VSAN army and the life of every party.
  • Chad Sakac – Very approachable and all-round nice guy, always fun to hang out and have a drink with.
  • Todd Scalzott – My cigar smoking buddy and longtime community member.
  • William Lam – Very humble and nice guy and a prolific blogger, always a pleasure to chat with him.
  • Pat Gelsinger – It’s Pat, who wouldn’t want to meet him, Pat and I have a long history of meeting at VMworld and I can honestly say he is one of the most humble and down to earth CEO’s I have ever met.
  • Keith Norbie – Always enjoy hanging out and talking with Keith.
  • Eric Wright – The public face of the big green Turbonomic machine.
  • Bob Plankers – We go way back, always from drinking with Plankers and sharing tales from the vTrenches.
  • Stephen Beaver – My brother from the original VMTN forum mod squad, we go way back.
  • Kong L. Yang – Former Dell person, current SolarWinds Geek and always a good buddy.
  • Brian Knudtson – Known Brian since his VAR days and now I work with him.
  • Jase McCarty – Another OG VMTN community guy, always entertaining with Jase around.

Look forward to seeing you all at VMworld! (Calvin you’re not on the list as I see you all the time)

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Just in time for VMworld, Zerto releases Zerto Virtual Replication 5.5

Zerto today announced a new release of Zerto Virtual Replication (ZVR), version 5.5 that has some cool new things in it. They have a whole page devoted to what’s new in 5.5 but I thought I’d summarize it for you.

Rapid, Automated Recovery To-and-From Microsoft Azure

Continuous, bi-directional data protection utilizing Microsoft Azure for flexible, pay-as-you-go model that drives down IT costs

Zerto Analytics and Mobile Enhancements

Zerto Analytics provides unrivaled visibility across all protected sites for a comprehensive view of your environment. New mobile widget enables anytime, remote access to see environment health.

Plus a whole lot more…

  • AWS recovery enhancements allow you to take full advantage of the public cloud with powerful improvements to their Amazon Web Services offering
  • Upgradability made easy with a streamlined upgrade process, and introduces automatic VRA upgrades during a ZVM upgrade
  • Extended API coverage allowing integrating with even more cloud environments and automation platforms
  • Robust handling of virtual environment changes such as VM removal from VPG
  • Support for Hyper-V SCVMM 2016 and vCenter 6.5

If you are going to VMworld you can check it all out at booth #630, and don’t miss their epic party either. Not going to VMworld but want to find out more, schedule a demo anytime. Also find out why I named Zerto as one of the Top 10 Companies that “GET” the whole VMware Community thing.

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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 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:


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.


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 page right before each general session starts there should be a link there to view it live.


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.


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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Tips and tricks for surviving and enjoying VMworld 2017

Another year, another VMworld, for me this VMworld will be number 10, my first one was in 2008 in Las Vegas. I remember that experience fondly as it was more intimate back then when it was a lot smaller. Over the years I learned many lessons about attending VMworld so I thought I’d pass that on to you:

  • If you’re a blogger make sure you sign up here to get your blog added to the blogger list/feed for VMworld. Even if you’re not a blogger you can use that page to follow the feed of blogger posts at VMworld as the bloggers are your eyes and ears at VMworld that you can live vicariously through to enjoy the event. Also here’s another page on the VMworld blog devoted to bloggers at VMworld.
  • Set your priorities and expectations ahead of time, VMworld has plenty to offer and you’ll get as much out of it as you put into it. Sessions are at the bottom of the priority list for me, things like networking and going through the Solutions Exchange are at the top. If you make a schedule it will be challenging to keep it as there are plenty of distractions at VMworld. Be realistic and don’t try and cram your schedule so full that you stress yourself out and are rushing to get to everything. Relax, enjoy yourself and have fun.
  • The sessions, so many to choose from (over 450 this year!), so little time, you’ll be lucky if you can attend more than a dozen of them. They’re just so much other stuff to do there its hard to find time to go to sessions. I recommend you pick a few that you really want to see and don’t sweat it if you miss some, remember they’re all recorded and you have plenty of time to see them after VMworld. I usually choose based on certain people that I want to hear speak and meet after the session. After all you can always hear the session later but you can’t meet the speaker after VMworld is over.
  • The labs are a great place to get hands on experience with both VMware and partner products and solutions. The labs are all based in VMware’s lab cloud environment and they are all self-paced. Most of the labs are available 24×7 via the cloud so you don’t need to feel the urgency to take them at VMworld. Still it’s always good to get some hands on so if you have some free time be sure and take a few. In addition VMware and partners staff the labs with experts on each course to assist you and answer questions if needed which is good incentive to take them at VMworld.
  • The parties, there are no shortage of them, my inbox always fills up with party invitations each year and trying to pick and choose which ones you want to attend can be even more challenging than picking which sessions to see. There is a pretty comprehensive list of them here. Kicking off the event is the official Welcome Reception in the Solutions Exchange from 5-7:30pm on Sunday. There is lots of food, beer & vendors so its a good way to start the evening. Afterwards on Sunday is the annual big VMunderground warm-up party, at the Beerhaus from 7:00-11:00pm, cost is $40 and you have to buy tickets for it. You can read my full VMworld 2017 party overview here and hit up the vendors for invites.
  • The networking, that’s what VMworld is all about, don’t be a hermit and don’t be afraid to talk to people. People like William Lam, Chris WahlScott Lowe and Duncan Epping aren’t surrounded by security guards and are down to earth guys who will talk to anyone. So go say high, introduce yourself and have a conversation, you’ll be very glad you did so afterwards. Don’t know where to find people? Well parties are a good place to start, everyone seems to gravitate there. Do yourself a favor and get on twitter if you’re not already and you’ll know in real time whats going on. The official VMworld hashtag is #vmworld and many of the sessions have their own hashtags, make sure and follow the official @VMworld account also. There is also the VMvillage social hub which is a good place to socialize and meet the bloggers and chill out. They also have lounging areas, refreshments, games, entertainment and tech talks/podcasting going on in the VMvillage. Be sure and check out the VMworld social media & community page which has a lot of good info and links on it.
  • Plan your trip appropriately, you’re going to be on your feet a lot at VMworld, you better have comfortable shoes or you’re going to have real sore feet. Don’t by a pair of new spiffy shoes right before VMworld without breaking them in, you’ll regret it! Pack light if you can, you might want to being an extra bag, there are lots of prize giveaways and free swag all over the place so I can almost guarantee you’re going to go home with more than you came with. Also don’t forget you’ll be bringing an extra backpack home with you, I tend to fill-up a box with all my extra stuff and ship it back, there is a FedEx office onsite in Mandalay right by the VMworld entrance. If you’re going to walk around with a back pack don’t stuff it too much, its going to get awfully heavy after wearing it a few hours. I travel light and don’t want a full laptop to lug around, I bring a netbook, iPad and smartphone and choose the one I want to carry for what I need to do at the time. Don’t forget power, especially for your phone, I carry a few portable battery chargers so I can charge it as needed without an outlet.
  • VMware makes a point to show off their talent at VMworld, this means those geeky developers that are normally locked up all day making the next version of vSphere are there and usually available to talk to. What better person to ask your HA question than someone who actually developed the feature. VMware has lots of other smart people there so be sure and check out the VMware booths in the Solutions Exchange to meet them. It’s not just VMware that has their smartest and brightest at the show though, most of the vendors have their best people there also so go by your favorite vendors and talk them up and get your questions answered.
  • The Solutions Exchange is like a Super Walmart, everything you can possibly need for VMware products all under one roof, take your time, stroll around and I guarantee you’ll see many cool products that you probably never knew existed. VMware has an incredibly rich ecosystem of vendors that can help solve your pain points and enhance your environment. Do make a point of spending plenty of time there, besides learning a lot you’ll leave with pockets stuffed with vendor swag. Besides the Welcome Reception on Sunday there is the Hall Crawl on Tuesday from 4-6pm where you can get free booze from certain vendors that offer it.
  • If this is your first time at VMworld it can be a bit intimidating, especially when it comes to finding your way around, it took me quite a while to be able to navigate the sprawling Mandalay Bay maze with ease. If you get there on Sunday try and pick up your badge then rather than fight the crowds on Monday. Walking around and trying to get your bearings can help, be sure and use the maps that are published on the VMworld 2017 smartphone app and in the docs you are given when you check in to see where everything is. You can even enable location alerts and bluetooth prompts to help guide you around. If you need information don’t hesitate to ask someone, or even better trying tweeting it and you might get a quick answer. The more social you can be at VMworld especially if its your first time will really help you out as us virtualization folks are a friendly lot that don’t bite and are glad to help out a vComrade.

VMworld is four short days and will fly by before you know it, so be sure and make the most of it and soak up the incredible amount of knowledge that will be available both formally through labs and sessions and informally through talking to others. More than anything, enjoy the show, I hope to meet many of you there!

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Top 20 Sessions you must see at VMworld 2017

I’ve looked through the whole VMworld Content Catalog and picked out my top 20 sessions that I feel are worth seeing and I thought I would share it with you. A few disclaimers though:

  1. There is no way you are going to be able to see 20 sessions at VMworld, so pick the ones you like most and have the speakers you’d like to see in person and prioritize those. Watch the recordings of the others afterwards.
  2. I’m a bit biased towards storage sessions, but hey storage is pretty damn interesting these days.
  3. I’m also a bit biased towards the sessions I’m presenting in, so that’s just me but I’d love to see you at them and we’ll do our best to give you a great educational session.

So now in no particular order (well maybe a bit alphabetically as that’s how the Content Catalog is listed), but I’ll start with mine though. First up is a great deep dive on VVols replication, this one will be super techie and deep and we promise not to put you to sleep.

Next we have a VVols panel session with some VVol industry veterans and VMware’s VVol product manager, bring the tough questions for us, we can handle them, if we can’t Pete Flecha will drink a shot.

Next up this one sounds uber geeky, hear deep storage info directly from VMware’s storage vWizard and one of Pure’s technical geeks.

Next up, an Encrypted vMotion deep dive and a glimpse into the vMotion crystal ball, sounds fun.

Now we go extreme with NVM. this should be super techie, there is like 8-9 different Extreme series sessions at VMworld. So if you are into extremes there are plenty to choose from.

Next for security geeks, this one sounds interesting as to how software-defined is changing the way we think about security.Now we go the the clouds, I’m sure AWS will be a hot topic at VMworld this year, who better to hear about it from then Frank & Emad.

Next we go to get educated on NVMe and how it’s changing the storage landscape, is Flash dead already?

Now we dive into scripting with PowerCLI, every good admin needs some scripting skills and this session looks to hone yours.

Next up more NVM! You can never get too much NVM, this one looks to answer the tough NVM questions.

Now it’s vSAN time, there are like a billion vSAN sessions at VMworld so you can easily overdose on them. I thought I’d pick out a few of the more interesting ones like this one from VMware’s storage godfather.

Next what do you know, more vSAN, at least you’ll know 10 more things about it after this session, and hey it’s Duncan and Cormac, that’s all you really need to know.Now we go back to security, this one looked like a good overview on VMware’s impact on Windows security which we know is the world’s most secure OS 😉

Next there is the Rocky Mountain Way and then their is the VCDX Way, if you are upgrading vSphere you probably want to do it the VCDX Way.

Now you have the 3rd annual (or is it 4th) Patrick & Pete VVol technical deep dive show (PPVVTDD). Here directly from the VVol guru’s at VMware on everything related to VVols.

Next up we head back to the clouds to learn more about AWS from a storage and availability perspective and how to keep all your bits and bytes safe in the cloud.

Now we have, wait for it, more vSAN! As a storage guy I love I/O’s so this one sounds mega geeky and interesting, I always wondered what I/O’s did for fun.

Next more security, I forgot to mention I’m really into security also. What do you get when you combine a security geek with a vSAN geek? Why this session, should be a good one and you can leave feeling much more secure about yourself and your VMs.

And finally let’s end on a storage session packed full of all sorts of best practices, because you always wanted to know the answers to the ultimate vSphere storage questions (spoiler: it’s 42). You can tell this one will be popular as it’s scheduled on 2 different days.

Well that’s my list, there are a ton of other good sessions at VMworld, so go there and enjoy them and have fun!

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Top 10 Companies that “GET” the whole VMware Community thing

Made up of tens of thousands of users and partners, the VMware community is a huge, vibrant and hyper-active ecosystem and an incredible resource to learn from and engage with. I’d go as far to say that VMware has built a community like no other tech vendor ever has and it continues to grow and flourish every year. With such a huge resource out there any vendor that wants to excel and survive in the fiercely competitive VMware market would be foolish to ignore that vast resource available for them to engage with.

There are many different ways to tap into the VMware community as both a user and a partner, whether you are simply supporting the community or engaging with it here are just a few of them:

  • Attend or sponsor VMUG eventsVMUG events, both smaller local events and larger UserCon events are a great way to socialize with and get face to face with VMware users. I often think these events are under-rated, they are like mini-VMworld events right in your town and there is no better way for sponsors to directly engage with existing and potential customers. I personally like the local events as they are more intimate and more bang for your buck as a sponsor.
  • Engage with the vExpert community – the 1,500+ strong vExpert army is composed of some of the most active and visible people in the VMware community made up of bloggers, VMUG leaders, evangelists, partners and customers. You can engage with it in many different ways, the most common being having exclusive product briefings/webinars. You can also offer NFR licenses to vExperts to get your products in their hands and try giveaways to attract their attention. What you get out of it as a vendor is having your product awareness amplified across a wide spectrum of channels including blogs, tweets, podcasts, videos, etc. If you want to engage with the vExpert community contact Corey Romero who runs the vExpert program.
  • Sponsor blogs – there are over 400 active blogs in the VMware community which have a very large audience. Sponsoring a blog is a great way to get visibility to a big audience and stay top of mind with people reading blogs. My vLaunchPad website and annual Top vBlog voting helps identify which are the most popular blogs which can help sponsors target those with more readers so they can reach larger audiences. Some blogs will also do paid sponsor posts for things like product reviews and write-ups that can lend an expert’s viewpoint to your product and promote it. Sponsoring blogs also gives back to the hard working bloggers for everything they contribute to the community.
  • Host or attend a vendor conference – you expect larger vendors like EMC, Dell and HPE to hold their own conferences but there are many smaller vendors that have started doing this as well such as Zerto, Veeam, Turbonomic and Nutanix. While mostly specific to a particular vendor (some have other vendors/partners there) it is still a great way to network and get a deep learning of a vendors products.
  • Host or attend a virtual conference – there are many ways to virtually connect with the community from sponsoring events like Tech Field Day or Virtual VMUG’s and other multi-vendor events like ActualTech Media hosts. For less cost then a physical event with bigger audiences and replay-ability a virtual conference is a great way to engage the community.
  • Be active in social media – be loud on social media networks on Twitter, but not too loud or you might drive some people away. Keep it interesting, educational, social and not pure marketing if you want to keep your followers and attract more. Social media is a great way to communicate and network in real time with a massive community. As a vendor be overly responsive to any communication directed your way from anyone trying to communicate with you. Nothing turns a person off more than waiting days or longer to get a response from a company.
  • Have a party or social event – I see parties and social events as more of a thank you to the community rather than a sales opportunity for vendors. Vendors spend a lot of money on these, especially at large events like VMworld and get little return on their investment. None the less as a vendor this is a great way to get the community to like you more. While they may just be attending for free booze and food, this shows you appreciate your customers and gets potential customers to think more favorably of you.
  • Community give-aways – from small swag to large prizes to VMworld tickets and more, give-aways are a great way to get more brand visibility, collect leads and engage with the community. At conferences like VMworld vendors are loaded with swag and prizes to give away if you give them a minute of your time and your contact info. It’s a win-win as both a sponsor and attendee, smart sponsors will get creative with their giveaways, smart attendees will pack an extra bag to bring it all home with them.
  • Publish podcasts/webinars – podcasts and webinars represent a great way to engage with the community at a different level and keep the community informed on an ongoing basis. Podcasts are great for on the go listening and webinars can be aimed at both users and NDA briefings for bloggers/vExperts to help get the word out to support your product launches and updates. Just don’t make these with too much marketing and try and keep them technical, educational and enjoyable. Vendors try and bring in community members and special guests to keep it interesting and give an outside perspective.
  • Hire an Evangelist – perhaps the best way to get instant street cred and better visibility in the community is hire a well known community member/vExpert/blogger to be your companies evangelist. Most of the companies here have done just that, some have even loaded up on lots of them.

[important]If you are going to present at a conference here are some tips for doing it the right way[/important]

Some vendors recognize the opportunity that the VMware community represents and do a fantastic job supporting and engaging with it on many levels. Others seemingly ignore it or simply under-utilize it, here’s my list of what I see as the top 10 companies that GET the whole VMware community thing:

  1. Veeam – They totally get the community and were one of the first companies to actively engage it. They host an epic party at VMworld each year, have their own annual Veeam On conference, sponsor many events, have very active user forums, sponsor dozens of blogs and communicate very effectively. Veeam has been one of the strongest community supporters over the years and continue to set the bar for community engagement. [41,000 Twitter followers]
  2. Turbonomic – They also totally get the community and are pretty much everywhere in it, from sponsoring just about every top blog, hosting their own community, engaging vExperts, sponsoring community events and being very active on social media they also set a high standard for other companies to follow. [8,900 Twitter followers]
  3. Zerto – They do a fantastic job engaging the community, they host their own annual conference, throw great parties, sponsor blogs, have a great presence at VMworld, hold webinars, do give-aways, engage bloggers/vExperts and are very communicative. They are also very good at knowing how to properly engage their audience and do a great job marketing themselves. [6,700 Twitter followers]
  4. Nutanix – They were smart and went out and hired a whole bunch of the best and most active community members/bloggers (Michael Webster, Steve Kaplan, Derek Seaman, Magnus Andersson to name a few) to give themselves street cred and help bolster their presence in the community. They have their own annual conference, sponsor blogs/events/parties and are very active on social media. [69,000 Twitter followers]
  5. Cohesity – They have been very engaging with the vExpert community and with give-aways, they have a good presence at events like VMUGs and VMworld and have hired a very active, loud and well known community member (Rawlinson Rivera) to help evangelize in the community. [3,100 Twitter followers]
  6. Datrium – They also have been very active engaging the vExpert community and with give-aways, they do a great job marketing themselves, stay pretty active at events and with webinars, they communicate well and also recently hired another well known community member (Andre Leibovici). [1,500 Twitter followers]
  7. Pure Storage – They have been very aggressive with marketing and sponsoring events and have hired a lot good talent to help evangelize themselves (Vaughn Stewart, Cody Hosterman). They host their own annual conference and always look for ways to stay active and engaged with the community and have a huge following on Twitter. [73,000 Twitter followers]
  8. Tintri – They have sponsored blogs, been very active at events like VMUGs, great at engaging with the vExpert community, have done great give-aways and hosting online events and also have a huge following on Twitter. [62,000 Twitter followers]
  9. Rubrik – They have been very active at VMUGs and other events and also engaging the vExpert community. They made a smart move hiring Chris Wahl to be their evangelist which greatly boosted their community presence and engagement level. [5,500 Twitter followers]
  10. Tegile Systems – They have done a great job supporting and engaging the vExpert community, generous with give-aways, hosting and sponsoring events and being active in VMUGs. They also have a pretty big Twitter following. [25,000 Twitter followers]

I’ve probably missed a few and there are certainly others worthy of being mentioned, a few that come to mind are Infinio, NetApp and Nimble (now HPE). If you’re a partner and want to discover how you can better engage the VMware community look around at what the companies listed here are doing or contact a seasoned pro like John Troyer from Tech Reckoning to help you get better at it.

To all the companies I listed here a big thank you from me on all you do for the community I very much appreciate it and I’m sure that feeling is echoed among the rest of the community members.

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