Following on my earlier article, I wanted to cover a few more things about the VMworld event this year in Las Vegas. For the deeper technical announcements and some great overall event coverage, I recommend these blogs that are well worth the read:
- Rene Van Den Bedem: https://vcdx133.com/?s=vmworld
- Julian Wood: http://www.wooditwork.com/?s=vmworld
- Dee Abson: https://teebeedee.org/?s=vmworld
- VMBlog: http://events.vmblog.com/vmworld-2016
- Actual Tech Media: http://www.actualtech.io/category/vmworld-2016/
There are many other folks who’ve covered the event, but that should give you a good start on things.
Expo Hall and Las Vegas
There was a marked difference in the style of the event because of the venue. Having seen a similar Expo Hall and breakout session layout for a few years at the Moscone in San Francisco, the vibe was definitely different. The Expo Hall was laid out in a way that seemed larger by the length of the hall, but the depth of the hall was shorter. Was the rectangle smaller than the usual square? Probably not by much, but it did feel different.
My Turbonomic team proudly hosted a 30×30 booth with a massive LED theatre display across the top of the two-storey layout. Mark my words that next year will feature a few more booths like that. We like to lead the charge with new ideas to inspire others.
The overall flow of the Expo crowds felt lighter. While the number 23,500 was put out as the attendance, it didn’t feel busier in the hall at an one time. This may have been due to the physical layout, and many other factors. The buzz was definitely in the air as usual for the VMworld floor. Swag and product materials were being grabbed up at record pace in the first couple of days, which then turned into folks revisiting the floor to do some more deep-dive chats and really getting to the fun conversations that will help us all bring ideas back to the office.
This year also featured another round of the VMware hackathons. This is a great opportunity that I’ve waited to see at the event. Last year featured the DevOps area in the community lounge, and more focus was being put on moving up to the application layers and orchestrating across the infrastructure. The first hackathon didn’t get as much of a draw as this one did, so I’m encouraged by the uptake of this type of event at VMworld. Every infrastructure admin should take note of this trend and be ready to look for opportunities to observe, learn, and participate whenever possible in these types of events.
Byron Schaller, a good friend and Virtual Design Master alumni, was on the team who won the event which sent him home with a nice Intel NUC lab package and some great karma among the team. Byron is an example of someone who really sees the shift in the industry, and is running with it while also leading others in the community along with him. Chapeau to Byron on his win at the event, and I look forward to some future projects on public hackathons. I want to send a nod to the @VMwareCode team as well for hosting the event.
There will be a hackathon in Barcelona at the VMworld EU event as well – http://www.virtu-al.net/2016/09/14/vmworld-vmware-code-hackathon-hit-barcelona-2016/
This is the reason I attend conferences. Period. Technical learning is a byproduct of community IMHO. The peer group that you get to interact with makes the attendance of live events worthwhile more than anything. Having the opportunity to chat with the speakers after sessions, or to meet the engineers who wrote and maintain products and integrations, is something that you can only do at such an event.
Whether it is meeting at the parties, or in the community lounge, there are lots of events that aren’t happening in the breakout sessions and expo hall. This is something that becomes more of the event than the breakouts as I continue to attend. You may also find that you spend much more time with one-to-one and group collaboration among the community.
Attendees of the event are able to get access to the video replays of most of the sessions. This is a huge asset for folks who quickly learn that getting to all the sessions you would like to in person is a near impossibility. There is a huge gain in being there in person as well, but it is great to be a able to consume much of the content at our own pace back at the office or in our free time at home. Make sure to also take a look at William Lam’s Github page for the code to view, download, and check which were the top sessions and other notable lists in JSON format.
My Overall Take
If you take anything away from this event, take this message: learn to code more, learn about the cloud more, ask why these matter to your business, and to yourself.
No matter what your comfort level is with scripting and coding, you can do a little more, or a lot more. I’m not a programmer…at all. Programming both impresses and frightens me in a way. I learned from my friend and Virtual Design Master alumni Rob Nelson that if you write a one-line PowerShell, your a coder. There is no certification for it.
The move up the stack and towards more orchestrated infrastructure is inevitable and necessary. It doesn’t need to be Internet of Things scale to require orchestration and automation. Whether you have 3, 30, 300, or 3000 hosts, you can benefit from knowing the entire stack. Get comfortable with networking, scripting, applications, and cloud. Know why each matters and what the limitations are. You may never run into the limitations, but you need to know them.
It is as important to know why something is an appropriate solution or why it isn’t. That’s our responsibility to ourselves and to our organizations.
And to close, I don’t think that VMworld has jumped the shark as many have said. I think that it’s evolved. I wrote a blog about why the shark jumping keeps coming up, and how the community members have evolved here.
Stay tuned for the VMworld Barcelona which will feature more on Photon and the EUC platforms most likely.