VMworld 2017 is just around the corner. According to the countdown timer on the VMworld webpage, VMworld Europe is just 52 days away. As always, ITQ will be massively represented at VMworld Europe by about 30 VMware enthousiasts, of which 13 are VMware vExpert and 4 are VCDX. There’s no question about our dedication to VMware technology and the community. For me personally, this will be the fifth edition of VMworld in Barcelona. On one hand you could argue it would be smart to maybe change gears after five editions, and maybe focus on some new technology and select a different event. On the other hand, every year I attend VMworld I feel more satisfied about the value it brought than the year before. Besides that, attending VMworld while working at ITQ does not limit me from attending other events.
This blogpost will try to help you obtain as much value from VMworld as possible.
Two classic mistakes
At my first visit to VMworld, I made two classic mistakes while trying to get the most value out of VMworld:
- Booking breakout sessions back to back
- Only selecting (deepdive) sessions about products and technology I was already familiar with
Attending VMworld can be exhausting. Long days, there are a lot of social events in the evenings and staying focused during breakout sessions can be challenging due to fatigue. Do yourself a favour and reserve some downtime in your schedule. Most, if not all, sessions are recorded so there is nothing to worry about if you miss a session. Grab some lunch, rest some, drink water, the usual stuff. I also advice you to really visit the VMworld Solutions Exchange and try to look past the endless quizes and presentations to win gadgets and really engage people on the different stands. There always is an innovation corner somewhere on the floor and you would be amazed by the new technology emerging.
My second mistake was more profound in hindsight. I only specialized in vSphere in 2012 so I mainly selected sessions about vSphere. But, why learn stuff about things you mostly already know? My advice is to select a healthy mix of sessions about technology you currently specialize in and technology that you are still unfamiliar with … but potentially interested in. If you are a vSphere admin for example, attend some automation and orchestration sessions to learn how you can make your life as an admin much easier, or attend a session about DevOps or IT Transformation to learn about new ways of working in IT. Expand your horizon!
The Pi shaped skill set model
In traditional IT organizations, people can be mostly categorized by the T-shaped skill set model. This means they have broad, general knowledge about IT technology (the horizontal line on top op the letter T) and just one specific area in which they deeply specialize (the vertical base of the letter T). For example, someone could be a storage, networking or virtualization specialist. Now, to provide some guidance during your session selection process, picture yourself the Pi symbol (π). This new shape now includes a second vertical base that represents a second area of expertise to specialize in. This Pi-shaped skill set model is very popular in the IT industry now. If you are a T-shaped specialist now, take some time to consider what your second are of expertise would be in the Pi-shaped specialist model. With your second area of expertise selected, choose the appropriate sessions in that field.
Sessions to look out for
I personally made the decision to also specialize in cloud computing / hybrid cloud a couple of years ago. To be honest, VMware went through a pretty rough patch with their cloud strategy. VMware is now fully focused on becoming a cloud services company as opposed to being a cloud provider, and I am really looking forward to this years edition of VMworld. Last year, VMware announced Cross-Cloud Architecture (consisting of VMware Cloud Foundation and VMware Cross-Cloud Services) and of course, the VMware Cloud on AWS service as part of the VMware and AWS partnership. VMworld 2017 promises to provide all the details we have been waiting for since the announcements were made last year!
Here are the sessions I am personally looking forward to. They are a mix of technical and non-technical sessions about modernizing the data center (i.e. creating a strong foundation for a hybrid cloud using SDDC solutions such as VMware Cloud Foundation, NSX and so on), hybrid cloud (i.e. VMware Cloud on AWS) and IT transformation (i.e. guiding an organization into a hybrid cloud operating model):
- AWS Native Services Integration with VMware Cloud on AWS: Technical Deep Dive
Paul Bockelman, Principal Solutions Architect, WWPS, Amazon Web Services
Aarthi Raju, Solutions Architect, Amazon Web Services
Cloud Transformation Best PracticesAernoud van de Graaff, Principal Business Solutions Strategist, VMwareArt de Blaauw, Strategist, VMware
Configuring a Hybrid Cloud with VMware Cloud Foundation: A Technical Deep DiveRyan Johnson, Staff Technical Marketing Architect, VMware
Modernizing Your Data Center with VMware Cloud Foundation: Group DiscussionKyle Gleed, Group Manager, Technical Marketing, VMware
Dimitri Desmidt, Senior Technical Product Manager, VMwareYasen Simeonov, Technical Product Manager, VMware
Organizing and Structuring IT in the DevOps WorldPaul Wiggett, Technical Operations Architect, VMware
VMware Cloud Foundation – Hybrid CloudRandy Carson, Sr. Cloud Specialist SE, VMware
There are lots and lots of more interesting sessions but this is just a shortlist of my favourite sessions. The schedule builder will include new undisclosed sessions about products and services that are to be announced during the keynotes so keep a close eye on the schedule builder!