In-Depth

Insights into the Event of the Decade

VMware's Robin Matlock on the show's many offerings.

That's right -- VMworld 2013 is in its 10th year running. Virtualization pros clear their calendars at this time of year, as VMworld has proven time and again its value in what it imparts in knowledge, expertise and -- most important -- networking of the social kind. Virtualization Review asked Robin Matlock, VMware's acting CMO, to offer her advice on how to take advantage of this massive event.

Q. How did you come up with this year's tagline, "Defy Convention," and how is it reflected in the conference agenda?
A. We see Defy Convention as more than a theme or tagline -- it's the imperative that's driving a new world of computing in this era of cloud and mobility. To lead in this landscape, VMware, our partners and our customers need to deliver IT services that surpass business expectations in groundbreaking ways. Together, we can reject the cumbersome, evolve from the ordinary and leave the pitfalls of legacy computing behind. That's why we think this is the year to Defy Convention.

Pitch our readers on the conference. If they have to attend one event this year, why should they be at this VMworld in particular?
VMware is increasingly the best event to get your finger on the pulse of what's happening in the IT industry. You can see the latest products, speak to industry influencers about trends for what's next, and learn about the best practices and technologies that are shaping the future of our industry. With hundreds of in-depth technical sessions, keynote sessions featuring industry thought leaders and more that 20 Hands-on Labs, we think that VMworld should be the No. 1 destination to gain the tools, knowledge and business connections IT pros need to make an impact on their business and their careers. Need more convincing? Check out the video or download a "Convince Your Boss" template letter from the Key Info section.

What makes this show different from past years? Is there anything this year that's unique to the show or that's being done differently?
This is our 10th annual event in the United States and we're really excited to be celebrating 10 years of VMworld. In addition to the fantastic educational and networking opportunities that our attendees have come to expect, this year we'll also be celebrating this milestone with a look back at some of the great moments at VMworlds past.

This year we're working hard to connect the activities at VMworld to help people find content that's tailored to their specific needs. For example, if someone is interested in network virtualization, we want to help them find the right session, lab and booth demos to get the tools and the information they need to go home and start having a real impact on their IT organization.

"We really want to encourage attendees to set goals for their time at VMworld so they get the most out of the experience."

Robin Matlock, Acting CMO, VMware Inc.

Say I've attended quite a few shows over the years, but not this one. What's good advice for a VMworld newbie?
Every year we host a session for new VMworld attendees with tips and tricks for making the most of the show. We've had really great feedback on that session. My advice is to do your homework before you go. There's so much to do and see at VMworld! We really want to encourage attendees to set goals for their time at VMworld so they get the most out of the experience. Think about what you need to learn to address the challenges you're facing today and what you need to learn to really Defy Convention -- I told you it was more than a tagline! Our Schedule Builder tool [launching in late July] is a fantastic way to browse the content catalog and start to build your schedule of sessions. Be sure to make time to walk the Solutions Exchange and take a couple Hands-on Labs to get the full experience. And don't forget the parties, tweet-ups and gatherings after hours.

For those who can't attend, what is available remotely, either during the conference and post-conference?
You can watch the keynotes live at vmworld.com and follow the latest social media conversations from the same page. Throughout the week you'll see lots of news from VMware and our sponsors about the trends, products and services that are shaping the future of IT. After the close of VMworld we'll make select breakout sessions available online.

A big part of VMworld is education. Can you run down some of the numbers on how many people took exams or got certified at the show last year? Second question: Why do you think attendees take exams at shows when they're already pretty busy with sessions and other conference events?
Last year we delivered more than 240 exams in San Francisco and Barcelona. We find that a lot of our attendees like to take advantage of the trip to San Francisco to get certified and also to take advantage of the significant discounts available at the show. This year we have pre-conference courses for those who don't want to miss a minute of VMworld, as well as sessions during the week for 75 percent off the regular price. More information can be found here.

Social networking is perhaps the biggest part of attending conferences. How many of those types of social gatherings are built into this conference?
There are almost too many social gatherings to count! In addition to the now-famous Hall Crawl in the Solutions Exchange [Sunday night, 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.] and the VMware Customer Appreciation Party at AT&T Park [Wednesday night, 7:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.], there are countless gatherings -- everything from tweet-ups to charity dodgeball tournaments. This year we're crowd-sourcing a calendar of all the gatherings so attendees don't miss a thing.

Conferences I've attended have more for the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) crowd. Is that the case with VMworld this year?
Because BYOD is one of our key initiatives here at VMware, we couldn't skimp in this department. This year we'll be enabling BYOD options to take Hands-on Labs both in the central Labs space and at "hot spots" throughout the VMworld campus. And don't forget to download the VMworld mobile application to get info on sessions and maps.

How important is social media, such as Twitter and Facebook, to a conference like this one?
Social media is incredibly important for our attendees to stay connected at the show and enhance their show experience. During the event you can find the latest highlights, tweets and videos at vmworld.com. I also recommend checking out the VMworld blog at bit.ly/qdJ8Vs for updates as we get ready for the event.

Who are some important people to follow while attending VMworld?
We'll be tweeting from @vmware, @vmworld and @vmwareevents, and we'll aggregate event tweets at vmworld.com. The VMware Company Blog is a great source for news from the show, and the Office of the CTO has the latest technology conversations from VMware. As we get closer to the event we'll share more information about how to stay connected on the VMworld blog.

VMworld 2013

San Francisco, Aug. 25-29
Online price: $1,995
On-site price: $2,195
Registration info: bit.ly/14riFE
VMworld blogs: bit.ly/qdJ8Vs
Content catalog (searchable): bit.ly/18AlRE0

About the Author

Michael Domingo has held several positions at 1105 Media, and is currently the editor in chief of Visual Studio Magazine.

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