Sunday, 19 October 2014

VMworld Europe - Prelude and TAM Day

I have to admit to being pretty excited to attend my first VMworld in 6 Years, this time with the additional perk of having the Monday lined up as well, as part of the TAM experience. Technical Account Manager, that is. Same day as Partner Day, but for those of us who warrant or buy this level of service, I guess. I work for a large American Company so this was something I get that I was not going to get so often, as my TAM is in the US, whereas I am not!

I flew in to Barcelona on Sunday and after getting the VMworld bus to the Fira Europa site, picked up the VMworld backpack and also a free metro pass, which is a nice touch. 10 free metro trips would be enough for the week. I'd followed the good advice from Jonathan Medd's Blog and booked a flat instead of a hotel (way, way cheaper!)  so the first metro trip was to get me "home". Then once settled there, I had just enough time to get myself ready before it was time to head over to the Hard Rock cafe for the vRockstar party. Now I'm not the most widely known person in the VMware community, but there were plenty of faces I knew already on hand to introduce me to a whole lot more. Plenty of beers and conversation meant that this was a good start to the week. Possibly too good!

Barcelona's warm, even at 8AM in October and especially if you are on the metro with a hangover. Lesson learned.

TAM day had dawned and I was ready to get stuck in. First up was the TAM intro session, Joe Baguley was as entertaining as always, then I had chosen the Software Defined Storage session with Wade Holmes presenting, My first VCDX presenter up on stage - good start! These are the large style TAM sessions, same size of presentation as will be standard for the rest of the week, in the same place as the breakout sessions for the rest of the week.

That was the morning over already, but no rest for us, as lunch was a "birds of a feather" affair where a bunch of tables had been laid out with a VMware expert on each. Ask any question you like, get good answers. This was really useful, I managed to hit a couple of tables overall, so a chat about vSphere/vCenter first and when that died away, a one-to-one chat with Lee Dilworth about SRM.

The afternoon opened up with a Q&A Panel Session, with VVOLs, SRM, NSX, vCAC and even EVO:RAIL up for discussion, then the last TAM session I could select was from Bruce Davie, entitled "Where are we Going with NSX?" Good question, good content! I hadn't seen a whole lot on this topic up to this point, purely due to focussing on other stuff, but it was a good introduction to what NSX will do for you and what's coming next.

This NSX stuff was so interesting in fact, that I ducked the TAM wrap-up fluff and headed over to the Hands on Labs area, to take the Introduction to NSX lab. I was under time pressure to finish this, but this is a really great lab to get you in to what NSX does and how easy it is to set things up from a GUI interface. There's a lot to the product, but it's pretty logical in how you go about setting things up. I recommend that anyone with an interest in vSphere networking takes a look at this lab, I get the impression that NSX adoption is going to accelerate in 2015.

It was then time to head off to the Pernix Data party via a pitstop back at my flat, definitely lesson learned from last night as I made sure I consumed plently of tapas along with the beers and conversation. So much so that the waiter who was serving our area outside tended to do a lap with a tray and then come back to our table to offer me anothe plate. I could get used to this way of life!

In summary, if you can get to the TAM day, then it's a compelling reason to take the trip to VMworld. Not only do you get that extra day thrown in for free, but you can also get registration and badge/bag collection done on the Sunday, beating most of the queues. There are also additional exclusive TAM sessions across the rest of the week that you can sign up for, which are somewhat exclusive, much more informal, round table style presentations, with up to a dozen attendees. These are held in the TAM Customer Central zone, right next to the bag drop. This is all NDA stuff as well and goes beyond the next beta version, so is very good for getting an idea of the company's vision, directly from the people producing the products we all use.

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