Why the VMUG UK conference is not a “poor man’s” VMworld

Miss VMworld this year? Yep, me too. I seem to attend every other year, and this year was when I missed out. That being said, what did you miss? Well the keynotes were streamed live and can be played back again now on demand. Hands On Labs? Well you can use them any time you like via the magic of the interwebs. OK, so you don’t get access to the Solutions Exchange and there were lots of really cool breakout sessions that you can only view if you have the appropriate access to the VMworld website.

Did you know that on November 18th there is the UK VMUG User Conference? It’s at the National Motorcycle Museum in Solihull, a small journey away from Birmingham airport. I’m here to tell you that this event is not a poor man’s VMworld and the two should not really be compared. Here’s why.

I’ve been to VMworld twice and the UK VMUG twice, so I feel pretty well qualified to comment on both events. The UK VMUG is obviously a much smaller event, but remember that old saying “small ones are more juicy?”. Even though it’s a fraction of the scale of VMworld, you can get just as much out of the single day at the UK VMUG as you can from VMworld.

For starters, the keynote is by Joe Baguley. For those that don’t know, he’s the CTO for EMEA at VMware. His keynotes are often quite thought provoking, witty and a little left field. They’re not a typical dry keynote of numbers and bar charts, roadmaps and gratuitous slides with customer logos on them. They’re probably in there too, but this event is a little different. It’s for users by users.

As well as there being several parallel breakout tracks, you can decide which areas you want to specialise in, such as EUC (obviously where I’ll be!), SDDC, NSX and partner sessions. You don’t have to register for the breakouts in advance, just turn up. If you don’t feel like going to the vRealise session, don’t. Go to the Horizon View one instead! There’s a much easier flow to these events than you get at VMworld.

In terms of partner support, pretty much all the main guys are there. Veeam are platinum sponsors and then there is an array of gold sponsors with household names such as Brocade, Cisco and SanDisk, as well as up and coming partners such as Nutanix, Atlantis and Tintri (apologies if I haven’t name checked you!). The point being is that all the main partners will be there, in a much smaller and more intimate setting and in a more techie based environment than you might get at VMworld. Plus there’s a better chance of having a decent conversation with one of the aforementioned vendors! At VMworld, the large scale of it all doesn’t always make it easy to sit down with the appropriate person at a vendor booth.

So why else should you go? Here’s an abridged roll call of the confirmed speakers so far :-

  • Chris Wahl
  • Joe Baguley
  • Cormac Hogan
  • Mike Laverick
  • Matt Steiner
  • Alan Renouf
  • Barry Coombs
  • Peter Von Oven
  • Jonathan Medd
  • Lee Dilworth
  • Ricky El-Qasem

All well known names in the community and excellent presenters all. There are also several more informal sessions taking place throughout the day, including an AMA (Ask Me Anything) session with VMware GSS (so I’ll be asking my stock question of “if you were a dinosaur, which one would you be and why?”) and the now traditional design session with my former colleague Darren “Grandpa” Woollard. Sit down with him and whiteboard out some design discussions around deployment of VMware and associated technologies. Just remember to SPEAK SLOWLY AND LOUDLY! ;-). The latest event agenda is available here.

There are also the usual slew of event giveaways and prizes, and if you ask him nicely, Darren may autograph your left pectoral.

So then, there you go. I will be along there, feel free to say hello if you see me, I don’t bite. Unless you’re slathered in Nutella, obviously.

Did I say it was free? Register here now, and get yourself along!



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