It’s been six years since I attended VMworld for the very first time. Up until my very first VMworld I never had attended any vendor conference and here I was on the plane on route to Barcelona. As soon as I got off the plane and out of the airport, I immediately got smacked in the face with a heatwave. My first planning mistake became very clear as soon as I entered my hotel room: crappy air conditioning. Not really what you desire for when it is blistering hot outside. Unfortunately, it wouldn’t be my only planning mistake.
Ahead of the conference I had made a list of all the sessions I wanted to attend to and all the guided labs I wanted to take but unfortunately it never crossed my mind that reserving a seat for the sessions and guided labs I planned to take would have been the clever thing to do. I missed quite a few interesting sessions because I hadn’t reserved a seat! The next error was that I didn’t really look into the structure of how the sessions had been divided and I unfortunately ended up in quite a few marketing oriented sessions. Not always a bad thing, but back then I should have focused on deep dives.
Fast forward to the year 2014. VMworld became a turning point in my professional life because one of the sessions I attended, planted a seed in my core: ”STO2480 Software-Defined Storage, The VCDX Way II”. On stage Wade Holmes (VCDX #15) was talking about how to properly design storage. Electrified by this presentation I committed to writing the VCAP-DCD exam. Had I not attended that session, I strongly doubt I ever would have planned for this exam because until then, no one inspired me to do things better .
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After VMworld 2014 and attending Wade Holmes’ session, I started looking into where to find information about the VCAP exams and found the Google study groups. You might say that this VMworld session not only started my certification life, but also my vCommunity life! In the Google groups I met a lot of friends who up until this day, are still friends. I would use VMworld 2015 to gain more design knowledge before writing the VCAP-DCD exam which I would pass at the end of 2015.
2016 not only marked my fifth year at VMworld but also my first year as a vExpert and this combination would have a big effect on my life. Where in the past I was looking at the people running around with a vExpert badge, T-shirt or sitting at reserved tables at the VMware event, suddenly I found myself to be a vExpert too. I realized that each one of them are mere mortals too, whom you can approach and have a chat with. I highly encourage everyone to come over to the vExpert Blogger community tables and have a chat with us! We are always keen on meeting new people! While you are hanging around with us you might as well stay around and enjoy a couple of vCommunity sessions offered to you by the #vBrownbag crew or have a talk with the vCommunity leaders such as Elsa, Katie, Julia, Eric, Corey, Valdecir and many more!
It’s 2018 now and looking back on six years of VMworld, I can tell you VMworld has changed a lot for me. Without VMworld I would never have started on the certification road, I would never have become part of the vCommunity, I would never have been as passionate about what I do as a job, I would never have landed a dream job!
A list of tips and benefits which to me are undeniably experiences you can only get at VMworld
- I have always used each VMworld event to talk to people who had implemented solutions I was looking into. Unlike feedback from vendors, your fellow event visitors often can give you a realistic look at implementations they have taken care off. Just talk some people after walking out of a session, you’d be surprised how much real life information you can get from the visitors next to yourself.
- There are free guided workshops, schedule a guided workshop well in advance.
- There are live community sessions offered by vBrownbag you will have a chance to talk to the vExpert who writes about the stuff that interest you. Just come to the Blogger space!
- You have a chance to book a slot to talk to the Expert. If you are considering implementing new solutions, this might be a good thing to do.
- If you don’t know how to become a vExpert or have doubts, head over to the Blogger table as well. vCommunity leaders such as Elsa, Julia, Eric, Corey and Valdecir are in attendance and you can talk to them face to face. Don’t worry, they are very nice people and do not bite. Nor do they scratch.
- There will be many free parties you can attend to, where you can network even more. Some parties like vRockstar fill up quickly, so keep an eye out and sign up asap.
- Book your hotel room well in advance. Good hotel rooms offered at an affordable price will be gone very fast.
- Waiting lines and times to take a taxi to and from the conference center can be long. Consider taking the underground.
- You can book exams at 50% off but I wouldn’t advice writing a Deployment exam at VMworld. Last year the performance of the lab for the VCAP6-Deployment was horrible. VCP and Design should be fine!
- SWAG! Leave plenty of free space in your suitcase or bring an extra suitcase for T-shirts and other give-aways!
- If you are quick you can still do you first public presentation at vBrownbag! A unique experience!
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I hope your VMworld experience may be fruitful and the start of something beautiful!
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