VMworld is here! But it sure doesn’t feel like it…

It’s that time of year again, albeit a bit later than usual, it’s time for VMware’s annual mega conference, VMworld. For me this will be VMworld number 13 and with VMworld being virtual this year its going to be a way different experience. I could say I won’t miss the travel, the expensive hotel rooms in San Fran, the sore feet from all the walking, all the street noise and people to deal with but I actually think I will miss it. Maybe its from not traveling  for over 6 months, maybe I just found that whole environment oddly comforting or maybe I just need to get out again. What I do know is I’ll miss seeing all the people, the whole solutions exchange atmosphere, making new friends, visiting with old friends, late nights socializing, my annual meet Pat Gelsinger at the vExpert party and of course the VMworld backpack (I have a whole closet full of them).

With VMworld starting in just a few days, I don’t feel any of the usual excitement that I usually feel leading up to the event and I feel pretty dis-connected from the event, almost if I got distracted for whatever reason I might miss it. I know VMware will be making it’s best effort to put on the best possible show but it just won’t be the same, not even close to it. The sessions are mostly pre-recorded and the solutions exchange is just virtual booths lacking real demos, real equipment, real people (and of course swag). The biggest missing element will be the networking and interaction with people, try as you might you just can’t replicate that in a virtual event.

I am speaking in 2 sessions this year, an SRM/vVols session along with Velina from VMware and Cody from Pure and then an HPE session where I have a brief part on vVols. Recording the sessions was a challenge, especially with multiple speakers and I’ll miss the waiting for the room to fill up to see how many will show, the audience interaction and the questions. VMware put a lot of effort into making sure the technical aspects (video/audio/etc) of the sessions are very good so I have no doubt it will be quality content. One benefit of being virtual is most of the sessions will be available right at the start and free for everyone so there will be a much bigger audience for the event. I heard from our planning team that 54,000+ companies have registered for the event so the audience will be much bigger. There is also paid content that is live such as expert sessions and roundtables that you can gain access to with a Premier Pass ($299).

So I’ll try and make the most of this years event, it will be hard to block out time for it and with all the other distractions from being in a home/work environment it might be difficult to focus solely on the event. I’m not sure where to even start or how to ensure that I’m getting at all the content available on those 2 days so I’ll have to figure that out. There is a lot of things I’ll miss this year and I’m really looking forward to going back to physical events. One thing I know I’ll really miss is sitting around with my good buddies Jason Boche and Bob Plankers smoking stogies late into the night. I’d normally conclude by saying I hope to see you there but that’s just not going to happen this year, so stay safe, try and make the most of the event and I hope to see you all sometime in the future.

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