VMworld Europe 2011 wrap-up

I was asked to speak at VMworld Europe in Copenhagen and before I flew out I planned on writing daily wrap-ups again. It usually helps me to wind down, but this time I never really got around to it. I figured I would at least write this article at the end of the week to summarize some of my personal highlights.

First of all, let me say that I love the city of Copenhagen. I like the fact that it is clean, they have great public transportation and in most restaurants the food is great and the service okay (for European standards). The Bella Conference Center is an excellent location in my opinion. The rooms are nicely setup, to be honest the lights and audio were much better than in Las Vegas. Surprising in my opinion as you would expect that in Las Vegas they are better equipped for conferences like these.

I also love the fact that it is relatively “small” show compared to VMworld US and for some reason it also seems that the audience is different. Definitely one thing I noticed during the sessions I attended is that it is difficult to break the ice. Even at the end of the sessions I noticed far less people asked questions then during the sessions I attended in Las Vegas. This had me worried for a while as Chris Colotti, Frank Denneman and I were scheduled for a Q and A. As Chris stated on twitter, without Qs there will be no As. Besides a couple of sessions I had a lot of meetings scheduled, the week before VMworld my schedule looked fairly empty but it completely filled up with meetings the days before it started, but I cannot complain as I learned a lot from these meetings as well. Every customer has a different use case / perspective and that helps me again when writing articles or when providing feedback to the Product Managers and Engineers.

We started on Monday at the TAM day with a technical discussion panel on Cloud and all challenges around it. We had a lot of questions around security, availability, compliance, networking, storage and resource management. It was definitely an interesting session as it gave a good perspective of the challenges our customers are facing and the things people care about when it comes to cloud infrastructures or offerings.

On Tuesday I had my Experts One on One session scheduled and I actually managed to attend some sessions. The Experts One on One was great, particular one 15 minute slot as that person showed up with a full diagram of his environment and we discussed some design considerations around his metro clustering solution. My vSphere Q&A session, which I co-presented with Chris Colotti and Frank Denneman was scheduled on Wednesday at 15:00. It was scheduled  in one of the larger rooms and the place filled up. Chris Colotti kicked off with a short introduction of the session and himself after which Frank and I followed. This was the point at which the audience needed to start asking questions… luckily the first person got up and our lovely assistant David Hill ran up and handed the microphone. We were off and it did not stop until the very last second. Great questions and in my opinion it was a very entertaining and educational session. Considering our survey scores I would say that the audience fully agreed. I could not be happier about the outcome (see below).

  • How would you are the session: 4.72 out of 5
  • How likely are you to recommend this session: 9.14 out of 10
  • How likely are you to implement what you’ve learned: 4.61 out of 5
  • How would you rate the speakers overall effectiveness: 4.78 out of 5

For everyone who attended the Q and A please feel free to leave your comments here on how we can improve it in the future, or if there is something you would like to see different. (Different topic, different panel members, different format, etc etc.) I am open to all suggestions.

On Thursday I had my Group Discussion (GD43) planned. Again I did not know what to expect as many had told me that some of the Group Discussions were more a monologue because the audience did not speak up. I might have been lucky or I phrased my questions differently, but whatever was the reason is besides the point… It was GREAT again, just like in Las Vegas we ran out of time, but the interaction was awesome! Excellent discussions and great use cases provided by the audience. I hope they will do these at VMware Partner Exchange as well and of course next year at VMworld!

One of the other things that was definitely a highlight for me was the show down between the Dutch vMaffia and Matt of VMworld TV and the Monster VM. I think all of us had a huge laugh. Things like this is what makes VMworld fun and it is the reason I love working for VMware.

I want to thank a couple of people for an excellent time this week, Chris and Julie Colotti, David Hill, Alan Renouf, Raymon Epping, Mark Erica, Luc Dekens and Frank Denneman. I really enjoyed your company. See you at Partner Exchange or VMworld 2012 in San Francisco or Barcelona!

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    1. says

      Hi Duncan,

      I agree with you, the Q&A session was great. Also was great that I saw you and Frank on one of the last session (RDRS) as a normal attendant.
      Furthermore, it is always is great pleasure to meet people like you, Alan Renouf, Luc Dekens and Frank Denneman.

    2. Christian says

      Hi Duncan,

      thanks for this great Q&A Session.
      The Q’s and A’s was really intresting and the combination of you, Frank and Chris was awesome.

      Hope to see you guys again at VMworld 2012 in Barcelona, maybe with some more sessions?

    3. Selami says

      Hello Duncan;
      I was in your group discussion in Copenhagen.
      Honestly altough the discussion is small, u would need to a microphone. English is not native language for many attendees. You and your friends was talking very silently and fastly, people just behaved like they can understand what u were saying.

      It was very good session and u pointed out very important matters about HA&DRS. Thanks for that good session.

      • says

        Really? Could you let the speaker know next time so that we can take that in to account when there’s no audio setup. We can try to slow down or talk louder where and when needed.

        Funny thing is though, I read our feedback… None of the feedback indicates people didn’t understand us. Also some of the people in the room who came up to us afterwards did not indicate this. But I will keep it in mind for next year.