Sign up for the @VMworld VMware Design studio sessions

Intro

You might have already seen them around on your local VMUG but this year at VMworld the VMware Design studio can also be found in the schedule builder. Last year it was a case of knowing people who knew the right person with the sign up sheet but once you where in it was a blast. I have heard from multiple persons that it was one of the highlights of their VMworld experience. I had already done a couple of sessions remotely using zoom with these folks but it was an even better experience in person.

What is the VMware Design Studio?

The people from the design studio are specialist in creating  interfaces and they make sure that when they are involved in creating a gui that the User Experience is the best available. Now they aren’t evolved in all the VMware gui’s yet (Yes I am looking at you Horizon admin console) but they have touched most of the recent ones as far as I know.

The sessions

Before starting you need to sign an NDA so make sure your employer allows you to, once you get past that it’s time to introduce yourself to your host(s) and get started. How the sessions go depend on how far the studio already is with the interface itself. I have seen ones that where nothing more than a few drawings, maybe some static images, or even some program that lets you click in certain places or even an almost completely working interface. You are asked to constantly speak out on how you expect things to work or what you think you should or would be doing next getting a task done.

No feedback that you give is wrong, in these sessions, some might not be used but things can’t improve without as much feedback as possible. During the sessions I did remotely I even had the current version of the same GUI in front of me so I could correct some pull down menu’s because they where in a different order in the test version and that totally annoyed me so yes please let you’re OCD kick in!

Yes I want, how do I book the sessions?

Please go to VMworld.com and select under session type Design studio workshop.

Will there also be sessions at VMworld EU?

This is not 100% sure yet but there’s a good chance that the sessions will also be happening in Barcelona, just like last year!

So in short:

What’s (in) my backpack for @VMworld US 2018

I did a similar post for Nutanix .Next in Nice last year and there won’t be a lot of differences with that one. There will be some differences though since I need some world plugs for my european equipment plus I changed employers so I have a new laptop with new stickers (please help me to stay away from paper stickers, those are hell to remove). With less then two weeks to go for the event I don’t think a lot will change after this post. There’s a good chance that I will take a pass on the official VMworld backpack since I have enough of them now + there’s now the option to choose a charity over it.

First my bag, while I normally sport the 2016 Cohesity vExpert Timbuk2 backpack or a more recently received Nutanix Wenger backpack for daily use I decided to go with the XD Design Bobby backpack that I received the day that I started with my current employer AnylinQ. These have a great surface for customizing them with stickers as you can see below.

For the tech in it some things have changed, the laptop has been replaced by a newer generation so now I have the HP Probook 440 G5 + a Microsoft designer mouse has been added to replace the Xiaomi mouse. For the rest it’s still the Sony MDR-ZX770BN headset, an older Xiaomi 10k battery pack, Roundcube Rewirable  USB Travel adapter and the good old (hey, it’s over a year old now!) Samsung A5 2017 phone. All loose stuff will again by packed into the same Bubm DIS-L case.

 

 

The art of planning your VMworld sessions

The content catalog for VMworld has opened last week and I already know I marked way to many sessions as favorite for my own good. That’s why I decided on writing a couple of tips to the art of planning your conference. This might help you when the schedule builder opens on July 19th.

Levels

For each session there is a level listed with 100 for beginners, 200 for advanced and 300 for deep dives. My experience is that you might want to take the 200 and 300 levels with a grain of salt sometimes. I have seen deep dives that didn’t get any further than a high level overview but also had advanced sessions that went deeper than deep. Please look at the names of the presenters and check if you can find any old sessions for them to see if they managed to deliver the level the promised back then.

Yes this is my own session, I promise I will dive as deep as possible into those api’s

Workshops

First of all if you want to do any workshops its a case of being lightning fast when they are published to get a spot. Last year most of the workshops were reserved within hours of the schedule builder. Also keep in mind that the expert led hands on labs are mostly nothing different then the regular HOL’s but that there’s someone explaining some extra stuff. Some are unique though like the vCloud Foundation workshop last year where they had real VCF clusters for the students to play with. This is not something that easily done for the regular hol’s.

Regular workshops though will contain live exercises led by an expert that can more or less customize the workshop depending on the audience in the room.

Allow for time between sessions

This has been said before but if you have back to back sessions that are on complete different corners of the conference you will probably not make it. This is something you might only see when you get close to the conference  since rooms will be assigned rather late due to lots of people scheduling them. Thus make sure your schedule will still work when you arrive at the conference itself and when you have a feeling where all rooms are located.

Plan to visit the show floor

If you plan on only visiting the show floor briefly between I can guarantee you that you will be skipping the next session. I always plan a couple of 2-3 hour gaps for the show floor. Don’t expect a lot during the Welcome reception and/or the hall crawl, things will be packed then up to the point that it’s getting really hard to move around. Some of the sessions in the schedule builder are actually on the show floor so don’t get distracted too much when heading out for those.

Don’t plan too many sessions each day

You know that after lunch feeling you have at work or even worse when attending a course? This will probably be worse during VMworld since you will be overloaded with information during the day and parties at night. Personally I kept it to a maximum of four sessions each day or less.

Export your schedule to your personal agenda

While there will be an app released shortly before VMworld it might be handy to track all your appointments and sessions inside your own agenda. This way you can make sure that you have no overlapping between sessions and other activities. In previous years there was always an export function that made this easy.

My Schedule for VMworld EU 2017, or at least one of the versions.

 

 

 

Wouter’s five vCommunity tips for visiting VMworld

While this year will only be my third visit to VMworld I still think I have some tips to share with the vCommunity. Yes offcourse you need to keep hydrated all the time, have good footwear and don’t party to hard if you have sessions early in the morning but there’s more to VMworld then just that: the vCommunity itself!

Tip 1 : engage strangers

This his already been said at other blogs but don’t be afraid to engage strangers in conversation. If you hear a good conversation going on, don’t be afraid to listen to it, ask questions or even voice your own opinion. If you do this politely no-one will think badly of you. This also counts when heading our for breakfast or lunch, only take a seat at an empty table if you have to. I have made some good contacts after just joining them at their breakfast table. This also counts for the evening parties, I prefer the ones where you can actually have a decent conversation above those where you need to shout to understand each other.

Tip 2 : Join the Hackathon

You don’t need to be an experienced coder or scripter to join the hackathon. Last year I had an almost complete noob (Sorry Hans!) at my team and at the end of the evening he was able to create a small script of his own. This makes him stand very high on my ranking above people who are very experienced and only do their usual trick but just a bit different. Also don’t be afraid that you might make a mistake, we all do all the time and it’s the best way to learn how those script you might have partially copied from the internet actually work.

Tip 3 : Visit the community booth & area

For me both previous years the community booth and the area around it where the highlights of the show. Not only is there awesome content to be found at the communities/vBrownbag theatre, it also seems to be the place where lots of smart people gather to drink a coffee, have fun and share knowledge. This year there it will have an even greater presence with the addition of another theatre for VMware {code}!!

Tip 4 : look for the smaller stands at the solution exchange

You probably already know most of the big brands showcasing their latest and greatest at the solution exchange. To the sides at the smaller and simpler booths you might find some startups that might have a new and awesome product that you didn’t know yet. There’s a good chance you might find a vcdx or vExpert at these booths that really know what they are talking about.

Tip 5 : join the UX Design studio sessions

You might have met them already at your local VMUG but did you know that they also had feedback sessions during both VMworlds in 2017? In these small and sometimes one on one sessions you really have the chance to have an impact on future products of VMware. I did several last year and these where really good. It’s their job to listen to you while you think out loud about how something looks. This can be in the form clicking inside an actual product, powerpoints with visuals or even drawings that they came up with recently.

Bonus tip: be selective on the swag

If you go all out on swag this will fill up your suitcase pretty damn quick and you will come home with at least 60% junk that ends up in the bin because it’s unusable or already broken. So be picky on the shirts and socks you accept, why accept it if you wouldn’t want to wear it anyway? Also make sure to bring some rubberbands to roll the shirts in. I was picky my first two times but still managed to fill up a suitcase each time, just look at the pictures below.

VMworld US 2016:

Top right is a stack of 17!! t-shirts almost all rolled up

VMworld EU 2017

This time I didn’t really roll those shirts.

 

Hopefully I will see you at VMworld!

VMworld EU 2017 Day 3

Day three, the last one, was a short day for me this year. I had an appointment with the VMware Design studio at 8am but the gates didn’t open until 8 as well and I had to drop my suitcase first so I rescheduled it to 9.15 while talking to the guy that I would have the session with! After this I decided to go to the vmtn area to finish up my powerpoint for the vBrownbag I would be doing by noon. I kept changing and changing stuf and somehow managed to remove the one slide you need when generating output: the output itself. Also during the presentation I never got into a good flow so I wasn’t happy with the end result. After this there where some rumors about horrible queues at the airport so I scrambled to get there but in the end the line to drop off my suitcase took longer then security.

VMworld EU 2017 Day 2

Holy Guacamole (say that loud, sounds good) what a rush VMworld has been so far for me. After the keynote I was one of the guests on the vExpert daily show which is just a chat about VMworld so far,w hat you expect and any new stuff. The most fun we had was with my answer on my favorite taste of icecream: smurfs.

I did a couple of breakouts today. Both have been about Horizon, one was a good overview about the new stuf to expect from VMware and the other a real deep dive into the Blast Extreme protocol. That one helped me a lot about understanding what happens with it. Later in the afternoon I did a quick hands on lab and a couple of vBrownbag sessions. This was before getting a tour at the Mare Nostrum Supercomputer site. This is the 13th fastest in the world and it was really nice to see how this is build. An even more fun part where the old systems they used in the past over there. I will add some pictures of that in a couple of days.

The evening it was time for the Kaiser Chiefs but after a couple of songs and more beers I decided to tap out and head back to the hotel. Stepcount for the day was 16077.

VMworld EU 2017 Day 1

Finally the real event has begun, but before the gates opened I was already on my way to a 7am vbreakfast in La Vid. This is a small cafe just opposite of the Venue where VMworld is being held. The event was sponsored by my good friends of Runecast. For lots of people this was way to early to get up let alone to look alive or being awake. After this Hans and I managed to cross the road dry which was quite a feat because we’ve already had some pretty bad rain.

Since being in a huge room listening to keynotes isn’t my thing i decided to watch it from the vmtn bloggers area. Can’t say a lot of news was announced but it was very cool to see Pat controlling a virtual sddc in a virtual way using a virtual reality headset. After this it was time for me to do the first quick swag run on the solutions exchange to get at least the backpack only the first 100 customers would be receiving. Add a couple of shirts to that and I was off to the Inner Circle session and lunch. It wasn’t a slaughterhouse like last year but they where getting some good feedback gain on how the could and should VMware’s services. I think that there where about 60 customers and partners in the room with at least 20 people from VMware themselves who could answer their questions. It even lead to VMware people talking to other VMware people to collaborate on improvements. Some of these things should have happened years ago but hopefully things will keep getting improved.

Watching some vbrownbag sessions in the vmtn area I decided to skip my first real breakout session but did go to the other one I had scheduled. This was a live whiteboard session by Adam Eckerle and Emad Younis on how to design you’re sso domain and what possible pitfalls are. This was a really interesting session and I loved the fact that they used a live whiteboard (using an ipad) instead of powerpoint.

After this it was time to finish my first and only day of swag hunting this year. I ended up with some lego figures, fidget spinners, t-shirts, bottles and loads more as you can see in the picture below.

while being really really tired I just had to go to the benelux & vExpert parties so Hans and I took the metro, another metro and finally the lightrail to go to Cafe Del Mar club where both where being held. The vExpert one was really low key and without music so talking to people was really easy. The benelux one was more a real party with loud music and everything. Too bad ir was raining so we couldn’t use the outside area. We decided to head back early  to actually get some sleep. At the end of the day I ended up with 25000 steps of which 5000 where from walking back from the Hackathon during the night.

 

VMworld EU 2017 Day -1

Oooooh what a rush! is a good way to describe monday aka day 1 of VMworld 2017. I started out by waking up early after a night of bad sleep and not feeling well the night before BUT i really felt refreshed and good so I was totally ready to head out for my first ever vcap deploy exam (vcap6-dtm deploy). I failed it with 228 where 300 is required but afterwards I did feel good about it any now have the general idea on how these exams actually go. As others have said before time is a big issue but next time I will be even more prepared for that so I am confident I am going to ace it.

In the afternoon I did one of three scheduled UX feedback sessions for the VMware Design studio. These sessions are not on the regular schedule but you had to know people that knew people who could send out invites, something the vExpert slack channel managed to do! In these sessions they show you mockups of possible User interfaces and you are asked to think out loud about what you would expect buttons to do or where you could find something. I already did a webex session for this in the spring for the html5 client and they really appreciate whatever you say.

The end at the venue for me was a workshop on Cloud foundation where I seemed to be the only one having major performance issues. This made the experience not that good for me but I still got a good general impression of the product.

So the real rush was the Hackathon in the evening. The event was organised but VMware Code was something I was really looking forward to. I ended up with a Dutch team with Hans KraaijeveldIvan de Mes, Niels Geursen Pascal van de Bor and myself. Our target for the evening was having fun, learning new stuff, drink beers and to add some new plugins to the Horizon View vCheck.

One of the scoring points was the amount of empty beer bottles on your table. We drank quite a few of them but they kept cleaning them out so we ended up with this table at the end. That might have cost us some points! I think for the complete team we actually managed all of our goals but because we had major issues getting an environment up and running we ended up creating only two extra plugins and fixed some issues in other ones. We even did two Github pull requests by Pascal and Niels for which Niels actually had to create his account first.

In the end we had a 90 second time slot to present about what we archived. We didn’t do any fancy powerpoint crap for this and just showed the result from the plugins we added to the check and telling a bit about it. Sadly we didn’t get first, second or third place but I did win a judges spot price in the form of an Amazon Echo Dot. That might have been because me wearing my UX design studio shirt and one of the judges being on that VMware team OR it might have been our bribes in the form of stroopwafels. This event I think might be the very best thing I do this VMworld and it hadn’t even really started!

 

VMworld EU 2017 Day -2

So while VMworld EU starts on Tuesday I already had a full day yesterday. For the Partner Exchange bootcamp day I picked something I had heard about but couldn’t find a lot about: EUC Livefire bootcamp. Livefire is a special group within VMware that helps partners in having success. In the past they had bootcamps for they SDDC and NSX but now they are also building two 4 or 5 day courses for EUC. One design and one deploy training. For me it was a full day learning about the components of Wokspace one because that’s the solution this bootcamp is about. There where some architectural principles in there besides deeper diving into the technical part. It was clear that they are still building the real livefire course but it really looks promising.

In the evening I had a ticket to go to the vRockstar party but my stomach decided it was having none of that so I decided to go to bed early but wasn’t able to catch any sleep before 1 am 🙁

VMworld EU Hackaton join me to have some View vCheck fun!

So for a long time I have been looking forward to the VMworld EU Hackaton. The announcement has now been made and it will take place on Monday evening the 11th from 6pm to officially 10pm but my guess is that it might run a little longer 😉 It will be held at the Valkiria Hub Space and you can join as a member of mine or another team or as spectator, just schedule the right session in the schedule builder.

My Team

So I have signed up to lead a team to improve and expand the Horizon View vCheck I have been building. Since this probably also wil involve the Horizon View Community module I wouldn’t be too surprised if improvements will be made to that as well.

Who am I looking for?

For my team i don’t care how much experience you have with PowerCLI or Horizon view but it might be handy if you at least have some idea when we talk about it. Just bring your laptop and if we end up having learned something by the end of the night it has been a success for me!

Do I need something installed on my laptop?

Yes, make sure PowerCLI (at least 6.5) has been installed and your favorite script editor. I will prepare the connection brokers, composers and other vm’s on my laptop.

Anything else?

Just have fun!