Especially if you are new to VMware, attending a VMUG UserCon is one of the best things that you can do. This is an event that goes all day long. You start meeting your fellow VMWare Users around 7:30 in the morning. The opening session typically starts around 8:30. Depending on how your local VMUG Chapter has been able to arrange to come in, you might end up having a teleconference or in person visit by even the CEO of VMware. There are an assortment of sessions that should have something of interest to anyone from a C-level executive to the engineer that actually installs and maintains VMware.
I had the good fortune of attending the Kansas City VMUG UserCon, which as I understand it, has the reputation of being the 3rd largest day long conference of all of the VMUGs across the US. The technical content of the sessions was among the best of conferences that I have attended over the years. I should know as I was a presenter for one technology company’s users conference on two continents for several years. The speakers to a good job of sizing up their audience so that their presentation is as effective as possible. One suggestions that I will make is that if a session is really high on your interest list, you don’t want to wait until the last minute to get a set. As you can see from this photo, just about every seat was filled. What you can’t see is the two rows of attendees that were behind me. The slide decks used by the presenters were promised to be available shortly after the conference had concluded.
The sessions are just one of the benefits of attending UserCon. There was a large vendor area where you see a good assortment of companies that had products that would be of interest to just about anyone with VMWare. You definitely have the chance to kick the tires or get eval copies of software to try in your own environment. There are also a variety of hardware vendors that are worth taking a look at as well. The two main categories that I noticed at the UserCon I went to were those offering products for Virtual Desktop environments or a good variety of Storage systems that would benefit just about any size implementation. Some product offerings were represented by the OEM’s themselves or by local/regional partners.
You dont have to be a member of VMUG to be able to attend. All comers are welcome. VMUG membership is free. There is another benefit to VMUG membership known as VMUG Advantage. While it does come with a $200 price tag, it has a variety of benefits that more than justify the price. One of the recent additions is something known as EVALExperience. You get an assortment of licenses that are good for one year that allow you to experience the full feature set of several VMware products that could be a great help when you decide to study for one or more of the VMware certifications. If you don’t the ability to add the VMWare conference, VMUG Advantage allows you to experience a majority of the sessions so that hopefully the next year, you will be able to do. Some of the other discounts available are discounts for VMware Class and help with the cost of the exam. Start you journey today by going to http://www.vmug.com.