Annual Pilgrimage

It is that time of the year again when we make our annual pilgrimage to San Francisco’s Moscone Center for VMworld. I am looking forward to talking with all the friends and colleagues I only see in person once a year. This time around, VMworld will be a little different for me in that I will be one of the Tech Field Day delegates on Monday and Wednesday. Each year before the conference, I like to share some tips on surviving the show and offer some thoughts on what I believe will be the up-and-coming tech to look out for.

First, a few tips on how to get the most out of the week you’ll be spending with more than 20,000 people who share your passion about virtualization and cloud computing. Let me start with this: whatever you do, do not wear new shoes to the conference. Take my word for it—it’s a huge mistake that will put your feet into near-riot mode over the abuse from all the walking around you’ll be doing. I speak from experience (follow the twitter hashtag #AdviceForVMworld for more advice from the community).

Second, I would like to say a few words about the sessions. Fill your schedule with all the sessions that really interest you. Don’t be afraid to double-book, because your interests may change while you’re at the show, and it’s great to leave yourself options and flexibility during the week. Now, with that said, please do not worry about missing any particular session—and that includes sessions that you may have been waiting all year to see. They are all recorded and will be available for download after the show as part of conference admission. Even if you miss a session live, you can listen to them all at your own pace later.

As I already mentioned, you’ll be spending the week with more than 20,000 people who share your passion for virtualization and cloud computing. It is the people, in my humble opinion, who are one of the biggest reasons to attend the show. This is a fantastic networking opportunity to meet, greet, and have a conversation with people who may have deployed something you are working on or done something you are researching. This is one of the best opportunities to get insight into what others have done and to learn from them. If you go home without a list of new friends and a stack of new business cards, I really feel you will have wasted one of the biggest draws of the show.

How should you stay in touch with your new-found friends there as well as with your lifelong ones? If you are not on Twitter, Foursquare, or other social media, you are going to miss out on impromptu meetups, tweetups, and other swarm-type events that only come to life on the spur of the moment. In case you need someone helpful to follow on social media, my Twitter handle is @sbeaver. At VMworld, two great places to meet people are the blogger area and the “hang space,” a home base used as a check-in and socializing area between sessions and events.

In closing, I want to share my thoughts on technology to watch out for. I anticipate that this will be another big year for network virtualization in the drive for a complete software defined data center (SDDC). In line with that goal, automation should be another hot topic, but not in the typical sense. I think we will see a few vendors present automation solutions attempting to close the technological skill gap with regard to the cloud and the automation that defines cloud computing. In addition, storage should continue to be something we see a lot of; after all, it is the centerpiece and foundation of the virtual and cloud worlds.

I hope you’re excited for VMworld 2014, and I look forward seeing you at our annual pilgrimage.

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