With two weeks to go before VMworld, I wanted to gather my thoughts around this year’s show. It’s been a difficult year for me in various ways, so I am hoping that the show is at least a chance to keep my passion around technology alive. This section is around my attempt to build a schedule.
I thought that this year’s schedule would be a lot easier for me than last year. I wasn’t speaking and I scheduled my exam on the Sunday before the official conference start. I also did not have any VMware briefings to attend that I would usually go to with my company. This year was worse for a number of reasons.
- Schedule Builder was heavily overloaded once it was open. This may be an annual occurrence, but I don’t remember having that issue last year, especially not this bad.
- Schedule Builder was now a “part” of content catalog. There saw some slight redesign of the content catalog and schedule builder that seemed to break the passing of credentials between pages. VMware ended up putting a login link on the content catalog in order to ensure the credentials were being passed
- You could not add personal time to your calendar. I liked using this feature so I didn’t have to manage multiple calendars.
- Group Discussions were not added until first or second week of August.
- TAM Customer Central (TCC) sessions were not added until the first week of August.
Usually I would get everything schedule within the first couple of days, and then make minor tweaks as special sessions get added closer to the show. This year, I went in every day for 2-3 weeks to check if various things were added to the catalog. The quantity of quality sessions is just crazy now. My preference is TCC sessions first (they are under NDA so go into greater depth and talk more about longer term roadmaps), followed by Group Discussions, Performance Sessions, SRM and PowerCLI/API sessions. The TCC sessions are basically a whole side conference unto itself. It helped that TCC was released later because it took an hour or so for people to catch on (at which point I got in). The bad part is that I already sold myself on some other sessions. The GD sessions really took a back seat this year, I am not going to a single one. Mostly because I couldn’t fit the interesting ones into my already packed schedule, also because they were released last. I really don’t have any time to eat or go to the expo at this point, I may have to ditch some sessions to get some of that down time.
The second part of a good VMworld schedule is the After Hours (aka Party) schedule. The greedy algorithm to this is to sign-up early and often. The best list of activities that I have found is here. Multiple events going on at the same time and the best ones fill up early. I missed the VMUG party registration so I will be attending VMunderground on Sunday. Monday I have three lined up and they have good overlap so I may make it to more than one. Tuesday is the vExpert Party so that gets top bill from me, followed by at least one other event. Wednesday is the VMworld Party which is being held at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway (home of giant EDM festivals).
One event that sounds super cool is the VMware Code Hackathon. It is on Monday 8/29 from 6:30-1030pm. Five teams will work on a project and one of the attendees will get an Intel NUC with 32gb RAM and 2xSSDs. Maybe next year.