Destination: VMWorld

I really enjoy conferences and if you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you’ll know I’ve been a long time attendee of Micosoft TechEd. Before I joined Microsoft, my previous company was (and still is) virtualizing on VMWare. But VMworld was the conference of choice for my teammate, who primarily handled the storage and virtualization infrastructure. So even though VMWorld is often hosted right in my backyard, I’ve never been.

So for the first time, I’ll be attending VMWorld next week. This is the 10th Annual US VMWorld and since I missed attending my 10thTechEd this past June, this seems apropos.  I mentioned this to some friends, who immediately said, “What? Are you some kind of spy now?”

A Spy? Really?

If you’ve been reading the “VMWare or Microsoft?”blog series this week, you’ll know that Evangelists here at Microsoft take virtualization pretty seriously. But truly, it’s all about taking TECHNOLOGY seriously. VMWare has been around for a pretty long time in “technology years” and they’ve brought a lot of stuff to the table that’s worth learning about.

I know it’s easy to get “religious” about the technologies you know best. As an IT Professional it’s important to look at a variety of solutions before deciding which one is best for your company or the particular problem you are trying to solve and there are often a lot of factors to take into consideration.  When dealing with those types of decisions myself, I valued the opinions of people who had taken the time to really understand what’s out there along with the pros and cons – particularly for products I wasn’t as familiar with.
Like many large multi-day conferences, the sessions and tracks are vast at VMWorld and it’s been hard to decide how best to spend my time. In doing a little preparation for this event, it seems that VMWare historically had a habit of talking about technologies at VMWorld that ended up not being released in a reasonable time frame.
Apparently there has been shift in recent years to concentrate only on technologies that will come to fruition in the next year, so I’m happy to find out that my time at the conference will be well spent learning about things that will be out there for IT Pros sooner than later. The software-defined datacenter and Infrastructure-as-a-Service look like they are going to be hot topics.
I’m looking forward to catching sessions around these areas:
  • vCloud Hybrid Service – There is a “Jump Start” series of 5 breakout sessions covering topics like architecture, networking and security, deploying workloads and cloud management of the VMWare vCloud product. In addition to the jump start, there are many other sessions around this service that look like good picks.
  • Storage and Data Protection – sessions around the VMWare Virtual SAN and SSD, Software-defined Storage and data protection and other storage advancements.
  • Operations Management – Sessions around cloud computing management, building your infrastructure, cloud economics, the evolution of the data center.
  • Virtualizing Active Directory – There is one session that caught my eye about Active Directory (always near and dear to my heart), so I probably won’t be missing that one.

I learned from my former teammate that session seating is prioritized for people who put sessions in their Schedule Builder tool, so I’m hoping I’ve chosen wisely. I generally don’t recommend session hopping at these type of events and this reinforces my plan to get a few good takeaways from every session I attend.

So to answer the question from earlier – Am I spying on VMWare? Nah, far from it.

Like every other conference I’ve attended throughout my career, I’m forever a student of technology. Be it Microsoft technology or not, I don’t think I can ever go wrong looking for opportunities to learn. I can’t be good at my job and you can’t be good at yours unless we all take the time to learn about what’s out there and are open to comparing a variety of solutions.

So that’s why I’ll be at VMWorld. Meanwhile, I hope you’ll continue to check out the posts in the “VMWare or Microsoft?” series.  On Twitter, the hashtag is #VMWorMSFT.  And for news of the conference, follow the tweets of @VMWorld.

And since I’m a VMWorld newbie, if you think there is something I shouldn’t miss, let me know!


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