It is that time of year once again. We are on the home stretch of the countdown to VMworld 2017, taking place at the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. If you are planning on attending the conference this year, I surely hope that you have finished making all your travel and lodging arrangements, because as of August 2, all of the VMworld hotel blocks were sold out.
Let me start this post with some general housekeeping and conference attendance advice. There is something to remember about Las Vegas in general and that is that “objects appear closer than they really are.” Keep that idea in mind when you consider just how much walking you will do during your time on the strip. If my memory serves me correctly, last year I logged somewhere around thirty miles total on my “steps walked” app. The point is that you should pack appropriately for the amount of walking you expect.
As a reminder, Las Vegas is located in the desert, and it is not uncommon to see temperatures well over 100⁰F on a daily basis. You should plan on having water with you as much as possible so that you can remain hydrated and manage the heat.
When it comes to the Solutions Exchange, I would recommend taking the opportunity to navigate the hall by starting at one end and working your away down each isle until you reach the end. There is no way to miss the booths of the top sponsors, but it can be easy to miss some of the newer technology and startups that may be new to the conference. VMware has a new innovator section of the Solutions Exchange to showcase some of the new innovations, but this will not include all the new products and services. This is why I would like to stress the importance of taking the opportunity to stop and see all of the booths. You never know when you will find your own version of a “diamond in the rough.”
We all have different motivations for wanting to attend the conference. For some, it is the networking aspect of the conference; for others, it’s the access to the Hands-On Labs; and for yet others, it is the breakout sessions that they are most interested in. As another reminder to all, all the breakout sessions will be available on demand within a couple of weeks of the end of the conference. Don’t quote me on the time frame, but it is usually pretty quick. So don’t stress about missing a session or adjusting your schedule on the fly. Be flexible and take advantage of opportunities that may arise. As for me personally, networking is at the top of my list, followed by seeing the new and revamped technology in the Solutions Exchange. I usually finish off my conference week in the Hands-On Labs.
There is something notably different about this year’s conference, and that is the presence of the newest Global Diamond sponsor, Amazon Web Services. Ever since the announcement of the VMware and Amazon Web Services partnership, there have been a great deal of hype and high expectations about the possibilities of this new partnership and platform when it is released. And what do you know? The release date seems to correspond with the time of VMworld. I must admit that this is one of the new technologies this year that really has piqued my interest. I am looking forward to seeing the exhibits, sessions, and labs on this topic.
Finally, let me finish this post off with a tip on the networking aspect of the conference. It’s one of the best places to network with your fellow technologists and peers, both new and old. For many people, the conference is like attending a yearly family reunion, where you get to catch up with friends you may only see once a year. The Hang Space is one of the best areas to mingle. A good number of my friends and peers will spend some quality time in the VMTN and Blogger areas of the Hang Space. When you find the area, introduce yourself and say hello, because after all, we are all building tomorrow.