For those of you that missed it, I held a contest to win a trip to VMworld 2011 with full conference pass, air fare and 5 nights hotel paid for thanks to some amazing sponsors (Symantec, Xsigo and Veeam). I pulled Jason Silva‘s name out of a bowl with over 100 other entries. One of the stipulations of winning was that you had to do a write up of your VMworld experience to be posted on my blog as a guest post. Thanks for the post Jason, I’m glad you had a great experience. As an added note, I’ve just about locked down an entire trip again for VMworld 2012 in San Francisco, thanks to sponsors who will be named closer to next years contest.

My VMworld 2011 points
Now that VMworld 2011 is over, I wanted to share my experience of this year’s virtualization main event. There were a couple of key points I wanted to make sure I got out of the conference. First, I wanted to get a further technical understanding in some areas I did not have alot of exposure to such as vCloud Director, vCenter Operations, and vCenter Chargeback. Second, I wanted to get a better understanding of how VMware is innovating around the application layer and the technologies associated with that area such as the vFabric product family. …And on one other note, I was very excited and impressed about the VMware AppBlast announcement. I can’t wait to dive in and peel back the layers on this technology to better understand it! These areas were important to me because I believe it is going to be imperative for the many VMware Engineers out there to have an understanding of the Management & Automation capabilities and the Application layer technologies. The hypervisor is the foundation layer but it is going to be the layers higher in the stack that are beginning to really drive Cloud technology and innovation. This is apparent in VMware’s announcements and offerings. I’ll save further discussion on this topic for another blog post.

Social Scene
VMworld is an opportunity not just to attend sessions and labs but to meet people and become active in the virtualization community. I had a great time meeting some of the key contributors in the VMware community. Although I met many in VMworld 2009, there seemed to be so many more two years later. In fact, several people I was hoping to bump into became just impossible with the enormity of the conference and busy schedules. One nice thing is that the awesome VMUnderground party, Veeam party, CXI and others helped in meeting new people and seeing twitter friends etc. Outside of attending sessions and gaining knowledge, I think this is what VMworld is about..the virtualization community. The VMworld party was super crowded and The Killers were AWESOME!!
I didn’t attend the after pool party. Rather, I went and enjoyed a nice steak and wine at Delmonico Steakhouse to cap the evening. I just couldn’t bring myself to be herded to the pool area with 20,000 other people. BUT it would have been awesome to see @jtroyer take that dive into the pool! 🙂

Last thoughts
This was my second VMworld (2009 was first) and it seems to get better every year. There are definitely some pain points with a large attendance of 20,000. Overall I thought VMware and the Venetian did a great job. The logistics behind this must have been incredible. I really enjoyed the opportunity to attend VMworld this year. Once again, I want to thank Greg Stuart and sponsors for the opportunity to win the trip! I hope to be a bigger contributor to the community and give back some to so many others that give so much in this community. I’ll see everyone in San Francisco next year!

Greg W Stuart
Greg is the owner and editor of vDestination.com. He's been a VMware vExpert every year since 2011. Greg enjoys spending time with his wife and 3 kids. He works as a Sr. Consultant at VMware and resides in Northern Virginia, 15 minutes west of Washington DC.

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