The countdown is on for one of the biggest virtualization conferences of the year, VMworld 2010 in San Francisco. I have been lucky enough to be able to attend all the VMworld conferences from 2005 on and the 2009 VMworld Europe in Cannes, France.  These shows are pretty big and jam packed full of people, exhibits and sessions.  Good old fun for the entire family!!  Well not necessarily shared fun for the entire family, but if you have a passion for virtualization, then VMworld 2010 in San Francisco is the place you should be. Since it is San Francisco, you can even bring your entire family and your family can enjoy the Spouse Activities while you enjoy the talk about virtualization.

In case you do not know,  the dates of the conference are August 30 – September 2.  There is still time to get a $150 savings if you register by August 29. For more information about the details of the event visit the official VMworld web site.  If you are still looking for justification to present to your management as to why you should go to VMworld this year, take a look at this video and see if this might help with some ideas.

Planning for this event can be a little daunting, you need to make typical travel plans like airfare and hotel but, it is the planning for what to do at the event that can leave you really struggling.  If you are planning to attend this year I am going to assume that you have spent some quality time looking through the session / labs that are available to design your schedule.  A tip for you to consider, if you have to choose between a session and a lab as a general rule choose the lab.  The sessions will be available to view sometime after the conference.  Actually if you attend the conference you will have access to all the sessions from the event.  They will be available at the VMworld web site.  For me personally, knowing that all the sessions will be available at my convenience, let me focus on what I truly consider the most important part of the event. Networking, networking, networking.  There is no other place where you will find so many authors, analysts, engineers and other extremely smart people all under one roof.  This is your chance to meet people and ask question which can really give you a different perspective and ideas for just about any topic in virtualization you can think of.  This is the ultimate place to get together and talk shop.

Along with the networking aspect of the event the Solution Exchange will give you a peek at the different virtualization technology available today and in some cases an insight into what may be coming tomorrow.  There is a small price to pay to get to talk to the different vendors in that you will have to get your badge scanned when you step up to the different booths.  That in itself is not so bad but what really drives me crazy with that is the sales calls and emails that start happening before you ever leave the event to go home.  Attention any vendors that read this.  Can you please wait until at least the next week before you start your sales calls and email campaigns from your leads?

The last part I wanted to touch on this post is the hands on labs at VMworld 2010.  The labs are truly the hottest item and the hardest thing to get in.  Schedule your labs first before anything else to make sure you get a chance to work on the technology you want to learn about.  Do not wait until the last minute on this or you will be left out in the cold.  The labs are the first thing to fill up so try to be flexible on your schedule.  To get the lab you want you might find out the availability could be at a very early time slot or even very late in the day.  I cannot stress this enough, schedule the labs first but, look through the session builder thoroughly and pick the labs that matter to you first and have a second and third pick ready just in case your first pick is full.  For more information about the labs, we had a good discussion about the VMworld Labs on the VMTN Podcast.  If you missed the podcast you can download the podcast straight from iTunes.  Look for the VMTN Community Podcast #106.  This will be well worth a listen.

I am going to be posting a second part to this post next week with some ideas on ways to stay current and to stay on top of all the things that are going on during the event so stay tuned until then.

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Steve Beaver (158 Posts)

Stephen Beaver is the co-author of VMware ESX Essentials in the Virtual Data Center and Scripting VMware Power Tools: Automating Virtual Infrastructure Administration as well as being contributing author of Mastering VMware vSphere 4 and How to Cheat at Configuring VMware ESX Server. Stephen is an IT Veteran with over 15 years experience in the industry. Stephen is a moderator on the VMware Communities Forum and was elected vExpert for 2009 and 2010. Stephen can also be seen regularly presenting on different topics at national and international virtualization conferences.

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2 comments for “Preparing for the VMworld Pilgrimage

  1. August 12, 2010 at 9:14 AM

    thanks for the tips! as a “Newvie”, I need all the help I can get.

  2. sbeaver
    August 12, 2010 at 9:34 AM

    Kendrick,
    It is great to hear a newbie is getting a chance to attend this year. I think you are going to be amazed at the event in general. 2 quick tips that will be part of the next post. First — Wear comfortable shoes that are well broken in. You will be walking several miles over the week so make sure your sures are broken in and comfortable. Can not stress that enough. Second — Twitter is your friend. A good number of the authors, analysts, VCDX and well known engineers are all on twitter. If you do not have a twitter account it is well worth your time to get one. Find some people that you would like to meet or have heard of and friend them. Look at who that person is following and consider following some of those followers. This way you will get to be in the middle of the annoucements and hear about the tweet-ups and will find opportunities to reach out and meet up with some great people to talk to and hear about the dynamic events that develop on the fly.

    Cheers and see you in San Francisco

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