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!

VMworld 2016 US Part 4 – the last one!

So right now it’s thursday evening and here I am in my hotel room too damn tired to even go outside. VMworld is a wrap and wow it was awesome. Yesterday I had 2 more sessions. First a quick vExpert session at the Docker booth where we got a nice vExpert embroided hat.Then it was time to get the vExpert Raspberry Pi 3 at the Datrium booth. Men they had big issues on getting them in but succeeded at last so thank you very much for that! I ended with a Rubrik session with Chris Wahl that was pretty good. In the evening it was time for the biggest party of them all at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. To be honest I think the sound of the bands sucked and the music of the dj’s wasn’t good either but I had an awesome time playing all the games, talking to people ad even made a lap in 1 of the 50! Rental cars that wil probably be going back to budget with hardly any tires left.

So today was the last day and I did only 1 session and that was about troubleshooting Horizon and killed the time by doing some labs and hanging at the vBrownbag area where I learned a lot by listening to the sessions. This space just seemed to be vExpert HQ the whole week.

All in all I think this was the best way ever to experience your first VMworld. I really want to thank all vExperts for welcoming me in the community because I don’t think I would have had such an awesome experience without you guys!

VMworld 2016 US report part 3

Wow it’s wednesday already, time flies at VMworld! Yesterday again was an awesome day, first the 2nd keynote and after I had to head out to the Luxor for the Inner Circle fireside chat.

The Inner Circle is a group of about a 1000 people that is engaged by the VMware Customer Advocacy program. We have our own forum, weekly polls on the site and surveys by mail. Our feedback gets handled by VMware on a high level and personally I really have the idea that they listen to us. The fireside chat they had an idea of how to do it but it ended as an organized free for all where VMware received honest, harsh but really good feedback. In short they got slaughtered on several topics. They did not expect this so it was good to see that they seemed to handle it pretty wel. Later in the day I went to stop by at their boot hand asked them to get more vExperts involved because I think we are exactly the kind of people that can give this feedback.

Because of the Inner Circle session running way over time and me getting hungry pretty bad I missed the uem 9 sessions so I hope that one is recorded. My final session of the day was the vSphere 6.x Host Resource Deep Dive by my fellow Dutchies Frank Denneman and Niels Hagoort. This session was soo deep the entire Mount Everest might fit into it. Really good stuf and very useful.

After the sessions it was partytime! First a quick beer and a snack at the Inner Circle reception and after I hopped on the bus to The Mob Museum for my first vExpert party. First we had our mugshots taken. We got a print but also digitally by mail so please check mine on Twitter. We had great fun over there and had Pat Gelsinger over doing a Q&A for over an hour! Best quote? Hyper-V is free as a puppy!

Today I had a hard time waking up, not getting out of bed but during my first session at 8 am I was not paying enough attention at all. But still it was a good session on how to architect a HA resilient scalable mobility & desktop environment. After that I had a session about troubleshooting avSphere 6 environment by a couple of GSS guys and picked up a lot of good stuff!