My review of VMworld Europe 2012, Barcelona – Spain

Have to admit, when I was first looking at the VMworld dates and noticing they were in mid October, just like my birthday – I was pretty excited.  What better way to treat ones self than going to Europe for the 2nd time!

For my flight, I had been managing several credit cards (most useful was Chase’s line of ink Business Bold and Ink Business) which give you x # of UR (Ultimate Reward) points for spending y $ in z # of months.  The offer changes from time to what, but I believe mine was $3000 in 3 months for 50k points, not really a hard feat to achieve considering all of the places that take the card (ie using it for utility bills and paying them in advance if you are looking for 1 idea out of the box).  In the end I had enough points to get a Lufthansa 1st class ticket (Charlotte -> Munich -> Barcelona -> Munich -> Charlotte) for the Vmware Europe 2012 dates!  Moreover, I’m not exactly a frequent flyer but it is fairly generally known that Lufthansa is one of the top airlines in terms of their hospitality!  It is only a shame I was unable to line up some Amex SPG or MR points in order to equally take care of my hotel bill, next time!

I have been to my share of tradeshows and company conferences but I have to admit I didn’t know what to expect.  The site was a few KM away from city center (I was staying on La Rambla, basically city center and would recommend that if one likes to stay wherever the action is!), so it was a few metro stops away if one is brave enough to engage in mass public transportation.  Otherwise the taxi ride was approx 12 euro 1 way (taxis are not always based on distance in Spain, for I seen my cabs meter increasing by .05 about every 15 seconds while at a stop light).

The venue was rather remarkable, only 2 stories but very wide and spread out.  I guess they opted for the scale out approach instead of scale up.  Lots of people thing there was a problem with having the breakout sessions so far away (probably 5 minutes if you hustle, 15 if you take your time) from the Hands on Labs or Solution Exchange area, among others.  Basically the break out sessions were in 1 area and everything else was in the other area.  Wifi was plentiful.  Plenty of people complained about it as well but I didn’t have any issues.

My first stop was the hands on labs, as for me, someone who is more interested in advanced technical things rather than solutions exchange AND for the fact that this is the only place you can do the labs!  The sessions you can always watch and download later.  I opted to try the BYOD version the first time.  On Monday and Tuesday we can say this did not exactly run well.  I was then given a workstation to do the lab instead.  The setup for it was efficent and such and there were plenty of workstations.  The dual monitor setup was perfect for such a lab as well, in the end one would prefer to use the workstations over BYOD unless you happened to pack dual monitors with you (though the mac + ipad and ipad video ext. thingie may have always been worked and would have made you look like the cool kid on the block).  My biggest gripe about the labs, you could only do 1 at a time and then had to reenter the line, despite the fact that the lab area was never close to being full.

I’m a lab guy, so I probably did 25+ (of the 36) available labs–of course doing all of the advanced technical ones first.  After all, if you can’t learn anything then whats the point?

Enjoyed the show, enjoyed seeing “Red Hats” everywhere, that probably wins as the best giveaway.  NetApp had a FlexPod there but FAS30xx is kind of old now, in my opinion.  Like most people, I was not impressed with the food except for desert choices and finger foods.  The actual lunch was a joke, and this is in a place in the world that is generally known for great food.

In all I am happy to have experienced Vmworld Europe and certainly look forward to the next one.  It is now time to put ones head down and pursue the next milestone (VCAP-DCD)!