VMworld is now VMware Explore

As you have no doubt heard, VMware has changed the name of its very popular Customer and Partner event this year to start a new tradition. It came to our attention a couple months back and as presenters from previous VMworlds, we have been asked to submit for the honor of presenting at the newly named Explore. Thanks to the rebranded CXS booth, you could see me four times during the four days… 😉 I’ll put the links to the sessions below.

The upcoming event caused me a bit of nostalgic memories from previous VMworlds. The very first VMworld I attended was 2016. With encouragement from and a shout out to @Brett_Guarino, @v_gandalf was born. First on Twitter, then You Tube, then this blog.

Memories from that VMworld event include finding a cardboard tube in the show management trash pile behind the curtain near our Education Services stage. It was over 6 feet long and was originally a carpet roll, I believe. I always planned on using “You Shall Not Pass” as the introduction to my talk on the NSX Distributed Firewall but having a pile of trash representing a wizard’s staff seemed to my feeble brain as appropriate behavior. It was certainly the start of something. Twitter kind of blew up following that presentation. The next year I bought a prop of the staff. Year after that, I grabbed a set of robes. As I mentioned, vGandalf was born!

The second memory from 2016 was swag hunting with my friend Stephen DeBarros. We co-presented a break-out session for “Demystifying Control Plane Tables.” He named the session, truth be told. Most of our presentations were complete and we hadn’t been to the main hall to visit vendors, so we headed onto the floor. It was undoubtedly a simple swag hunt. Booth to booth, registering and/or sitting for presentations. I needed a break and sat down at a booth that was offering a GoPro camera to a lucky attendee. This was in Las Vegas so they used a “slot machine” to spin the pictures of the attendees to that presentation. After a couple faces showed up that had left the area, Stephen’s face shows up!! He won and walked out with a brand new GoPro.

We continued to wander the floor as I kept reminding him that I was the reason we stopped at that presentation! Sore feet and an offered chair was really the reason! We stopped at SanDisk for a presentation of solid state based vSAN including an amazing performance tracking display. Latency almost non-existent. In order to qualify, you had to see and collect four coasters from their booth and get a ticket for a drawing for three 3-D printers they were giving away. Drawing at 4:20. It was just after 3:00 when we walked away. After seeing a couple more booth presentations, it got to be a little after 4:00. Tired, but hey, it’s only 20 minutes until that drawing, so we hung out and were in the crowd awaiting the results. They drew a number and began reading it out. Stephen started to get a little excited. Every number matched his ticket right to the last digit. Our tickets were sequential. Yep, mine was the winner. Indeed a few weeks later a FlashForge Creator Pro Printer showed up at my house!

So this little swag hunt resulted in over $1500 retail product between the two of us. Needless to say, I wanted to return to VMworld. Funny though, I have seldom walked the floor searching for swag in the subsequent VMworlds. It has been my pleasure to be in 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 in person. Las Vegas is my preference to San Francisco, but the conference over-rides any location preference! I’ve also done recorded and live sessions during the pandemic incited on-line events in 2020 and 2021. I’m VERY excited to be heading to San Francisco this year to re-acquaint myself with Corey, Alistair, Abdullah Abdullah, and the multitudes attending VMware Explore. vBeards gather at each of the in-person events. Always a great picture with a collection of bearded geeks! Cheers friends — See you there.

If you would like to know where I may be during Explore, the following link is a catalog search on my name: https://event.vmware.com/flow/vmware/explore2022us/content/page/catalog?tab.contentcatalogtabs=1627421929827001vRXW&search=burkard

I am delivering four talks in the CXS lounge. That is probably where I will be spending the majority of my time when not out visiting with new and existing friends. Come by and say hi!

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