I’m at Sydney airport on my way home from vForum and I’m trying to put together an impression of the event.
First off huge, over four thousand attendees, nearly double last year’s number and a quantum leap from my first VMware conference, the 2007 TSX event which had about four hundred people.
I spent most of my time in the Solutions Exchange talking to exhibitors and students I’ve taught in the past. For me the social contact at vForum was huge this year both the social media and the social people. I also attended the awesome hands on labs and a couple of the sessions.
This was the first year I did Twitter at vForum, the combination of iPad and NetComm MyZone portable hotspot making it easy to update and keep up. You can check out the comments, even if you’re not on Twitter, by seraching for #vForum on Twitter.com. As usual Rodos was a powerhouse of content. The other social media activity I engaged in was the unofficial Booth Awards with Rodos, we wanted to bring some fun to the coverage of the show and make a reason to talk to a few exhibitors.
One of my managers from my salaried days told me that geeks are a tribe, they like to be around other geeks. For me vForum is a gathering of my clan, the virtualisation tribe, I see more of my friends and colleagues at vForum than over the rest of the year. It was great to chat to past students, other instructors and friends from the APAC Virtualisation Podcast. It was also great to be collared by Stu Bernstein from HP who has been a supporter of my access to quality gear to test virtualisation products. My highlight though came at the After Party at the PowerHouse museum. I spent half an hour chatting with Chad Sakac about everything and nothing. I had heard that Chad was the sort of guy you can walk up to at a party and chat with and I found it to be true, he even recalled a twitter conversation we’d had a couple of months before. I didn’t talk tech with Chad but left feeling better about the world. I don’t think Chad is unique in being very approachable, all of the people I’ve talked to in the social media circle are very willing to talk to anyone, that’s why they do social media.
Much has been written (tweeted) about the labs, they were great. The server side was in Miami and was the same setup that was used for both the VMWorld conferences. Thanks to hard work done by the Australian VMware team and the US based Labs team all of the labs were available to us. There were 80 dual screen PCoIP terminals (Samsung NC240) using a 100Mb link to the Internet with a 240ms latency to the servers in Miami, most surprisingly the link had a massive 8% packet loss yet the terminals behaved like they were connected to local resources. The US based labs guys were at the end of a very busy time few months, having done both VMWorld’s and then had our vForum added to the end they deserve a nice long holiday (they won’t get one, Partner Exchange isn’t far away) after a job well done. The interesting part is that the connection into the Miami datacentre from the Internet used a very custom build of the View Security server (SS). In it’s normal build the SS doesn’t support PCoIP and I’d understood that there was no plans to support it. Clearly it is possible and I for one would love to see VMware productise this build and allow PCoIP over the Internet to be useful, maybe when the iPad View client is released.
I didn’t attend a lot of sessions, the Keynotes and a couple with people I know presenting. Stephen Herrod (VMware CTO) was good at both keynotes, Chad was good and I learned a bit from Jeff O’Connor. A lot of the message was familiar as I’ve been following the proceedings at VMworld and read a lot of blogs. I am sorry I missed Scott Drummonds, he’s a great speaker and has great insight, he’s also someone to chat with at a party.
A great conference, lots of technical content in the sessions for people who aren’t yet deep specialists and lots of vendor experts in the Solutions Exchange for those needing more deep information.
Like all conferences, sleep well beforehand, wear comfortable shoes, drink water and talk to everyone.
© 2010, Alastair. All rights reserved.