VMware User Groups or VMUG’s for short is an independent, global, customer-led organization, created to maximize members’ use of VMware and partner solutions through knowledge sharing, training, collaboration, and events. VMUG meetings are held throughout the world and since 2010 have been organized through the main VMUG Leadership board. They operate with the blessing of VMware itself but are independent and align as a champion group for the end user community. Currently there over 75,000 members and 190 Chapters worldwide.
A little bit more on the structure from Rod Gabriel @ThatFridgeGuy:
With the loose structure of VMUGs in the past, there is not a formal leadership defined for local groups other than there is a leader or co-leaders. Some of the leaders call themselves president, others just use term leader / co-leader. Structure varies greatly some examples:
- Leader only
- Co-leaders (2 or more)
- Leader w/ Steering Committee
- Co-leaders w/ Steering Committee
Where is VMUG:
The different VMUG chapters are broken into geographical areas with each chapter having a President, and co-leaders. These leadership roles are open to end users of the VMware products, and while Vendor members can participate with VMUG events; their participation in a leadership role is usually not allowed.
How Large is VMUG:
Chapter events are usually held on a quarterly basis, but it’s up to each individual chapter to determine when and where to hold an event. The largest VMUG event globally is the New England VMUG, which generally attracts up to 1000 people and in the past has been held at Gillete Stadium due to its size.(note correction below) The Dutch VMUG event has reportedly drawn around 600 people and is probably the largest one outside of the US. Do keep in mind, newer VMUG groups tend to take time to develop, and it’s not uncommon for a fresh chapter to have 5-7 people show up for the first few meetings. Still, once mature, the VMUG is an excellent resource for the end user community as well as the vendors who play in the VMware space.
Again some additional information provided to me earlier today from Rod Gabriel @ThatFridgeGuy:
What was the New England VMUG that does their event at Gillette Stadium along with the famed Lobsterfest in the summer is no longer technically a VMUG. Chris Harney who was on inaugural VMUG Board leads that group. He officially changed it last year to a VTUG (I think virtualization technology user group). If it was a VMUG they would be the largest as his Gillette Stadium event this year was over 1300 members.
The Indy VMUG’s Demo Days is now the largest VMUG in the US. They had 900 attendees in 2011 and 890 in 2012.
I think this additional context is helpful in expanding upon the reasons as to why you would want to attend or be a sponsor at a VMUG event and it illustrates just how large the VMUG community is.
How Do I Attend VMUG
To attend events, simply sign up for your regional meetings and attend. Follow this link to get to the main world map, and dig in to find your local VMUG chapter. As an end user, the cost to you is nothing. From a vendor standpoint, sponsorship prices will vary and are usually in line with most customer facing events where booth or table space can be reserved, as well as more funds being requested for speaking and presenting roles. These funds go towards securing the venue, providing food/drinks, and the support of the VMUG chapter. The best way to inquire about sponsorship opportunities is to reach out directly to the Chapter Presidents, they will be listed on each Chapters page on www.vmug.com This is also the area you can use to register to attend events.
One beneficial aspect of joining the main VMUG site is the ability to follow the local chapter VMUG groups and be alerted to the upcoming meetings. Make sure you follow the VMUG groups you are interested in working with.
Why Attend or Sponsor VMUG
VMUG’s tend to be full of the end user engineers and administrators who use VMware products. These are the in the trenches IT workers who see the value in VMware products and who are looking to reach out and discuss the technology with their peers, as well as see what’s new. They tend to be seeking answers for problems they are incurring in their data centers as well as to keep abreast of the current trends. The larger events will have higher level decision makers attending, as those big events are like a mini-VMworld and used for networking and socialization.
For Sales Engineers, the VMUG is an excellent opportunity to seek out new customer business and do discovery of open opportunities. For the account managers and sales team members, the larger events will have Territory and Account Managers from the larger VARs and OEMs that you can interface with. It is not uncommon to see the larger events sponsored by HP, Dell, or IBM as well as Tier 2 and 3 OEMs, software providers, and the larger VAR/Channel groups.
The higher level sponsorship roles can provide the opportunity to speak at the events, usually in time slots of 45-60 minutes depending on how large the event is. If you read this and would be interested in sponsoring a VMUG event, please follow this link for more information.
VMUG Advantage – Advanced Benefit
Is the advanced membership for VMUG end users and members. The VMUG Advantage membership brings many benefits.
VMWare Cert Exams
$100 Off VMworld Admission
Fusion and Workstation Licenses
All Access eLearning Courses
I would like to point out that currently if you join VMUG Advantage that they are offering a free VCP Exam Voucher along with the additional benefits that VMUG Advantage provides. A most excellent perk of membership in my view.
For me personally as an end user VMUG was an invaluable resource for me and allowed growth for my networking with other Virtualization engineers in my local area. Additionaly, as an end user facing Sales Engineer, VMUG allows me to reach out to the end users and my contemporaries in the VMware space.