vmworld2011_logo_thumb3_thumb_thumbWhile there were certainly announcements made and technologies previewed on the last two days of the conference, it was instead, for me, a great time to celebrate community and the great people who have made VMworld great. 

I wish I could give you some sense of the scope of a conference this size, and some idea as to the amount of work that goes into pulling everything together.  It’s intimidating just to think about it, and when I realize the amount of work, coordination and effort that has gone into the last four days, it’s pretty humbling.  While nothing this large ever goes perfectly, it’s pretty impressive that things have gone as smoothly as they have.

Both days started in the booth (like every day did for me), with the chance to talk to customers about the Vblock and our new VCE VDI solutions. Mary Martinez and her team have done an incredible job organizing the VCE presence here at the show!  The list of solutions we had in the theater was long, and the videos and demos that we had to show customers were well produced and generated a lot of good conversations.  Mary, Jonathan Donaldson, Aaron Delp, Tom Chatham (and his awesome wife Jenny), Eric Hollis, Pankesh Mehta, Michael Leonard and Jay Cuthrell all did a phenomenal job. 

islvaThe VMware team was no less impressive.  John Troyer, Tony Dunn and Alex Maier absolutely killed it on the community side of things.  From the awesome and convenient blogger’s lounge to the private networking to the dedicated tables at the general sessions, it was easy and simple to put together the content you need to put together.  As someone who will post a total of about 10,000 words of content this week, most of it done in the blogger’s lounge, I can tell you it was appreciated.  It was also a great way to meet some of the other people in the community, which is always fun.

Wednesday evening also had three great social events, starting with the VMware CTO Party over at the Wynn.  A bunch of the vExperts were invited, and I was lucky to be included in that group.  I got to chat with Dr. Steve Herrod for a little while about a couple VMware customers and it was very cool.  I’m always amazed how down-to-earth most of the executives I’ve met can be.  Paul Maritz also made an appearance, and was very gracious with his time and experiences.  in addition to the VMware executives it was a veritable who’s who of the virtualization technical community.  I got to talk to (in no particular order) Frank Denneman, Forbes Guthrie, Cody Bunch, Rob Marcovic, Kendrick Coleman, Aaron Delp, Kong Yang, Scott Baker, Vaughn Steward, Calvin Zito, Damian Karlson and probably 50 more I missed/forgot.  The level of knowledge and passion (and pure crazy) in that group of professionals is impressive.

jagermeister1Believe it or not, that was just the beginning.  The VMworld party, The Killers, a pool party where the VMware social media team ended up in the pool, entirely too much Jägermeister, birthday celebrations for both Fred Nix and Jeff Thomas, my cousin and her friend driving in from LA and making all the tech boy’s heads explode a little, learning to play craps, getting fashion advice from a brilliant European in a wheelchair, ending up at a craps table with Chad Sakac and witnessing one of the most epic runs of bad dice every and being introduced to EMC customers by the vSpecialist team (thanks Tommy) “so they could put a face with the story I just told them” all followed in some order or another and every bit of it was glorious. 

At the end, my everything hurts.  My feet have swollen so much they hardly fit in my shoes, my knees feel like there are pieces of broken glass in them and I’ve gotten 15 hours of sleep combined since I arrived on Sunday.  I love my job.  I love my new co-workers who are quickly becoming good friends.  I’m over Vegas for a long while.  If you didn’t make it to VMworld this year, start working on 2012 now.  San Francisco has it’s own version of crazy to enjoy, and I’ll be there ready to talk to customers and partners about the power of VCE.

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