Are you registered for VMworld 2018?

It’s almost VMworld time!

Have you checked out the VMworld site yet and registered?  VMworld 2018 is being held in Las Vegas at the Mandalay Bay from August 26 – August 30.

VMworld is by far the conference I look forward to the most each and every year, and I can hardly believe it’s almost VMworld time again!  Each year VMworld gets bigger and better, and I am sure 2018 will be no exception.  This will be my 6th time heading to the event and I still find something new each trip.  If you’re looking to register for your first VMworld trip here’s some pointers I have learned from my trips so far.

1) Find courses you are interested in before Schedule Builder opens.

Sessions at VMworld are in high demand and will fill up.  Fast.  Every year a month or so before VMworld the list of breakout sessions is published.  Go through the list of sessions, highlight those you want to attend, and be prepared to book them.  If you are unsure of a session to attend, check out Duncan Epping’s blog.  Each year he posts his top twenty sessions to attend, and they’re usually spot on.

2) Pick a few sessions outside of your area of focus.

One of the great opportunities VMworld presents to participants is networking and expanding your horizon (no pun intended).  Pick some courses on VSAN if you’re a traditional SAN shop.  Pick some courses on NSX if you’ve never done networking.  You’ll never know what new niche in technology may interest you.

3) Speaking of schedule, do not overfill it!

Seriously, do not fill your entire week full of breakout sessions.  I did this my first year and when the conference was 2/3rds over I realized I missed out on time in the Solutions Exchange, VM Village, Hang Space and so on.  You will want to leave time to rest a bit and to engage in some of the social aspects of the conference.  You will be tired every day, so don’t overdo the breakout sessions.

4) Network.

Those of us in IT are often stuck in the background somewhere putting out fires non stop.  This leaves very little time to go out and network with peers.  VMworld provides the forum to meet others doing similar things as you are who may have a solution to a problem you have not thought of.  Maybe you’ll meet a future employer.  Maybe you’ll find someone with that fantastic product you’ve been looking for.  Make sure you try to step out of your comfort zone and meet people.  Don’t be afraid to interact with people you don’t know.  You’ll be surprised who you may meet.

5) Bring comfortable shoes.

You will break 15,000 steps a day easy.  The week of the conference is not the time to go out and buy new shoes.  Go get them well in advance, break them in, and wear something comfortable.  You will be walking a ton.  Don’t complicate the matter by replacing your worn out sneakers right before.  Trust me on this one.

6) Have fun!

One year I attended the conference without any coworkers, and it was the year the VMworld appreciation event band was The Black Keys.  I contemplated not attending the event (see #4 above), but am I ever glad I did!  It was a great concert, full of people finally getting to relax a bit from the daily grind.  Take advantage of the social events and vendor parties.  Some of the very largest and well known are Veeam, Rubrik, and of course VMware’s own events.  Talk to your storage, compute and networking vendors.  They almost certainly will be having an event one of the evenings.  If you have to buy your own dinners you are doing something wrong!

VMworld is a great event, run by and for great people.  VMware’s software has enabled companies to do some great things.  However, one of the greatest indirect creations from VMware has been the community.  Between the vExpert programs, VMware Technology Network, VMUG and VMworld there are so many opportunities to meet and learn something new about your industry.  So what are you waiting for?  Go register for VMworld and get ready to have an amazing week in Vegas!

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