This blog post is about my experience or my own recap of my maiden VMworld Europe voyage that brought me to Barcelona. Like most experience it is good to start with a small lesson learned (do and don’t) part. So here goes….

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Lessons Learned

– Bring several sets comfy shoes and socks. One set on the event (for socks maybe a set extra) and one set for the parties.
– Don’t try to over schedule. I scheduled a lot of session, all very nice and interesting. But this gives you almost no time to rewind and relax, talk to people (as other people also want to talk to them), eat and drink properly and write a blog post. Sessions are recorded so there is opportunity enough to watch/listen them back. Next time I will leave some time for that.
– Do bring a notebook for blogging purposes. An iPad is fine for notes, but either have a proper keyboard setup with that, a proper blog app or bring your notebook. I had not, and with the next point, didn’t have any means to blog.
– Check the status of the WiFi of your hotel. Do believe the experiences other guest left about the hotel. My hotel had poor WiFi connection and poor WiFi speed (especially during the night, I wonder why…), no good to start a blog post in the evening (or night during insomnia).
– Exam scheduled at the event didn’t work for me that good. In all the hectic of a event, degraded body and mind condition, an exam is not the best to schedule at the event (my opinion).
– Be on time and don’t leave before QA is finished. It is not respectful to the speakers (beside when you have a good reason, and nausea from a party the night before isn’t :-P).
– It sometimes is beneficial to take a photo for a blog post or tweet. But slides of sessions are recorded and available afterwards. It can bug your fellow session participants (especially the ones right beside you) that don’t like you waiving your iPad in front of you to take a picture of every (and every) slide.
– Use the Metro shuttle bus service. There is a lot of walking during the day.
– I had a hotel in the center of Barcelona. Great for some taste of Barcelona and close to some parties, but a little far from the conference. It takes a 40-50 minutes to get from the hotel on the metro, train and bus. This is not always a problem, but when you have tired legs and feet it is not always fun to travel in busy public transport as you will not often get a seat.

Arriving

I arrived on monday with a afternoon flight from Amsterdam. At the airport I was greeted by some nice ladies that gave me directions to the shuttle service from airport to the venue at the Fira. I wanted the register, get my badge for the VMUG party, get the VMworld backpack and take a look around. I also got the T-10 zone 1 provided by Veeam (big thanks to Veeam) and available for pick up at the information stand. Enough to get you from and to the venue with public transport.

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After that I went to the Metro station and found my way to the Placa de Catalyuna where the hotel was one the Ramblas beginning. The metro station exit on the Ramblas was just a few steps till the hotel. That’s good. Checked in and prepared the room and VMworld back for the next day. I went out to get some food before the VMUG party and fortunately this is plentiful available around the hotel.

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Parties

I visited just two parties. I got invites for a little more, but I arrived on Monday and skipped the Tuesday parties because I wanted a good sleep for my Wednesday morning exam. The VMUG party on Monday evening was a good place to start, in close proximity of my hotel. The interaction of the visitors was very good and the club was good to have some drinks and talks. Got some interesting conversation about background, IT experiences, exam preparations and all.

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The VMworld party was at the Fira conference center. It was a big show with lot’s of visitors. Drinks and food were everywhere, as well entertaining.  The Foosball tables and the arcade machines where good places to meet with others. The music was nice, but main show Taio Cruz is not really for me (I don’t want to think about a hangover at a party ;-P ).

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Sessions

If you have use schedule Builder your are preregister for the sessions you put in there. You can show up a 15/10 minutes in advance and let you badge scan to be let in. There are also queues for people that didn’t register, and those will be let in a few minutes before the show (let say 10-5) to fill up the room. When you have pre registered and show up on time, you will have the opportunity to pick a nice spot.
You don’t have to go to all as session will be recorded so you can watch/listen to them later on. A lesson for the next time.
I visited sessions about NSX, VSAN, Best practices, Architecture, Metro Cluster, HA/DRS, Storage DRS etc. I will try to work trough my notes and do a recap in a blog post. That will also be part of a presentation I will give at my employer in November.

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Conclusion

VMworld is huge from dutch event perspective. It is a roller coaster of a ride, that I definitely want to be part of again. I will plan a little more resting, relaxing, and meetups next time, and a little less sessions. If I am prepared at bit better (with the lessons learned and the ones that will come to me in the next year) I think you can even have an even bigger blast. Maybe even finish a exam in time…..

For now I will leave it at this. I will add some more session recaps in an other blog, and add my exam experience later to my blogpost: http://pascalswereld.nl/post/62407836177/vcap5-dcd-experience That story is not yet finished (lesson learned and continue).

– Thanks for reading. Hope meeting you there next year!

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