My new role is primarily customer facing and there is a significant focus on the VMware User Group (VMUG) Community.With the removal of the VMForum events in the US, the VMUG End User Conferences have pretty much taken over as the single day event for VMware and the companies who play in their ecosystem to get together and pitch their wares to the public. Think of it as ‘mini-VMworld’ without the parties till 3am.
Ending April and starting May with a bang, I got to do back to back VMUG EUC events in San Diego and Silicon Valley.
San Diego – April 30th 2013
Brought me to the San Diego VMUG End User Conference in La Jolla, California, where over 400 attendees were treated to a day full of virtualization technology presentations and discussion around the current and upcoming virtualization challenges.
One of those challenges was discussed in the a break-out session I hosted titled Infrastructure Convergence: Transformation, or Hyped Repackaging. Following the session there was a lively Q&A with audience members who had several questions about the SimpliVity OmniCube and how the platform could be utilized within their environment. The common theme of many of the questions focused on the ability to move virtual machines and their data across multiple sites in the enterprise, and the pain points associated with remote site management.
Being that San Diego is pretty much my home turf in SoCal I had a good turnout for my session. It’s always nice to see one or two familiar faces in the crowd. Overall it was a good session with a lot of good questions. I l personally like to do a more in-depth Q&A after these discussion because it helps on a two fronts: did the audience pay attention during your session, and do they see the potential answers to the questions you are attempting to solve with your solution.
I’d gauge this session as a success we spent about 15 minutes answering many questions.
Silicon Valley – May 1st 2013
So break down the booth, high-tail it to the airport and rush up to San Jose for the following day. One of the things I like best about working on the vendor side of things is that I get to interface with a lot of friends across the industry. Sure many of them may work for competitive companies, but in the storage and virtualization arena there is kind of a group cohesion, or what I would call a respectful rivalry. It’s not uncommon to share a cab from the airport or a meal with the team members from competitive companies. This reminds me in a way of my time in the Military where there were inter-service and even inter-company rivalries that could get heated, but at the end of the day you could all go out and have a beer together.
San Jose had great turnout.With a keynote by Scott Lowe, they broke past the 500 user mark. Being so close to VMware and many other technology based companies gave me the opportunity to speak with a larger number of the programmers and engineers who develop the technology systems that OmniCube works with. I spoke with representatives from Ebay, Cisco, Disney, VMware, Intel, and many other players in the Valley. I think with close to 150 visitors and roughly 40 demos done that day, my voice was pretty much shot. One thing about doing these back to back events is that you have no idea how much speaking you will do. Thankfully, tea with honey and lemon was provided and served as a soothing presence. In the course of your work day you may speak to 10 people for 30 minutes to an hour of sustained speaking. At events like this, its 10-12 hours of speaking straight. I’ll be investigating throat lozenges.
Post VMUG it was over to Bennigans for a vBeers that Kokopelli organized, which honestly was one of these rare events where some pretty big players in the industry just happened to be in the same room together. I totally bumped into Mark Twomey aka Storagezilla, who I’ve enjoyed reading and listening to for years, and who I missed at VMworld last year which for a storage geek like myself was a treat.