VMworld 2011 – Copenhagen Recap

Since I was so busy during the week I was not able to post a daily recap, so this single longer post is my review of my week.  I apologize for the one long one, but sitting here on the plane for the eight-hour flight home, it seemed just easier.  Let me start by saying it was a great trip for both my wife and I.  We had a great time meeting new people, and seeing close friends for the week.

Tuesday

After a few days of time adjustment had finally settled in, I was pretty ready to begin a full three days of VMworld sessions.  All told I actually had two sessions per day to present to the attendees so I knew it was going to be a busy week.  We arrived at the speaker center to get checked in for our sessions and made sure our slide decks were ready to go, then we headed over to see Alan’s PowerCLI presentation to start our day.

The first session was at 12:00 with David Hill doing CIM1264 – Private Cloud Architecture Deep Dive.  We actually thought a 12:00 time slot was going to be pretty empty.  We were dead wrong!  The session room filled to capacity and they actually stopped letting people in.  We were pretty impressed with the turnout for sure.  It was much better than expected so we thank all the attendees.  We had pretty good feedback on the content and material.  Right out of the gate we noticed that the folks in Europe were a little behind the US in adoption of the vCloud Ecosystem, but that was okay for us it meant the material was fairly new to everyone.

Once we finished up time for a quick lunch, catch up on a couple emails, then off to GD06 – Group Discussion session on vCloud.  I learned in Las Vegas to bring David along as we found it much easier to handle the questions in a tag team fashion.   We had a room of 35 people and we think we got through a lot of good conversation going.

Once those were done, we hit the solutions exchange for a little walk about, found the rest of the Dutch vMaffia, Frank, Duncan, Raymon, and Alan and started making plans for the evening once we got out of the General Session.  Dinner, then over to the Veeam party where we ran made some new friends and ran into old ones.  Finally we ended the night at the Dutch party at another club for a bit then back to the hotel.  All in all it was a pretty full first day.

Wednesday

This seemed like it was going to be an easy day, at least until I remembered that I not only had an expert 1:1 slot, as well as a group discussion GD45 to help out a co-worker, but I almost completely forgot about VSP1682 with Duncan and Frank.   This by far was going to be the busiest day of all.  First thing in the morning I got my 1:1 list and I was pretty bummed out there was only one person signed up.  In Las Vegas I was told by folks they filled up so fast they needed more than one slot as people were getting upset they were not able to get in.  I showed up for my time slot, and to my surprise another two had signed up so I had almost a full hour.  From what I was told this was pretty darn good as others had nobody for their whole hour.  So thank you again to those that find my work good enough to sit and talk with me 1:1.

Another quick bite, that seemed to be the theme for those of us that had multiple sessions to run to, then off to VSP1682.  I will say this has to be the most fun we had….so I thought until Thursday.  As in Las Vegas, I was the moderator, Frank and Duncan were taking the questions, and we enlisted David and Kamau to run microphones for questions.  Note, that when I say run….we actually had David Hill running around like a mad man.  The session started off with a lot of playful banter between the five of us, which we think really lightened, the room.  We got some really good questions, and we even had one of the DRS/HA engineers in the session as well to supplement.  This session went great for sure by the sounds of it and the initial feedback seems to show it as well.

Back to the hotel, quick refresh, dinner, then off to the VMworld party for the rest of the evening.  It was pretty cool at least for me.  I had a couple people come up to me and introduce themselves telling me they follow me on twitter and they were in my sessions, and follow my little blog here.  Honestly, there is no better feeling that knowing you helped at least one person with something that you never met.  It is one thing to work onsite with people it is a completely different thing you have random people you never met thank you for what you do to help them.  Duncan and Frank know this all too well, but for me it is a bit new and it really made my week.

I will say, this is the night the most famous quote of the week came from.  If you follow twitter you saw it and you know what I am talking about.  If you did not let’s just say it will live in history for Alan, Duncan, Frank, Julie, David, and myself for some time to come.  Ask any one of us about it and we will tell you the story behind the quote.  It is Priceless for sure.

Thursday

Rise and shine!  Time to go to work for the third and final day here in Copenhagen.  By now I have realized I have done more in three days in this event than I did in the four days in Las Vegas.  This one is by far much more jammed packed for the VMware people than the US based one.  This was the day of repeats for the most part.  CIM1264 and GD06 again, but today was going to hold some fun for us all.  Presenting the last day is always tough, as folks start leaving early to head home.  As a presenter you expect that your repeat sessions, especially those on the last day will be pretty light.  The group discussion had only 8 people and the other session had about thirty.  The reality is we were glad there were still people that showed up, so thank you again.  The highlight for David today was my quote of the day introducing myself as ‘Chris Consulting’, instead of Chris Colotti, Consulting Architect.  Yes I was pretty tired by now as you can see.

Today though was the day the Monster VM was going to be beaten.  Throughout the week there was twitter chatter about the Dutch vMaffia and how some folks were taunting them.  Now, I am not Dutch and I do not live in Holland of course.  However, I am by certain people’s standards good enough to be considered an Honorary Dutchman.  By the same token I am now also part of the Dutch vMaffia, so it was my duty to stand with the family.  You can see the entire video caught on tape by VMWorldTV here.  Let’s just say not even the Monster VM made it out without a hospital visit after trying to mess with the Dutch vMaffia!

After the day was done, we actually ended up getting kicked out of the conference center by the staff.  We said our goodbye’s and thank you’s to the folks we saw on the way out, headed to the hotel, then you guessed it off to dinner.  Julie, David, and I had a nice quiet dinner while the others had a team dinner together.  We made it back to the hotel and pretty much crashed.  Well I will say I had a few emails I simply should not have read prior to going to sleep, but what can you do. I got a little fired up, but all is fine now I guess.

Friday

Nothing much here to report really other than a VERY long day of travel to finally get back home.  The cool part was even on our first flight there we sat, Julie, myself, Duncan, and Frank all on the same plane in the same exit row.  I know it sounds corny, but we are all really good friends and when we only get to see each other but a few times a year, it is just too much fun.  They always are good to Julie, and we all really have some laughs when we are together.  It was nice to be on the same flight to spend the last couple hours chatting and laughing about the events of the week.  I for one also wished David was there, but he was on the earlier flight to Amsterdam, so maybe next time.

Other Thoughts

This being my first trip ever to Europe it was certainly a learning experience.  The culture, travel, people, and even dealing with the power situation was all new to me.  I took a fair amount of grief from my close friends about being so uptight about it all, but to be honest I just felt a little stupid until I was able to wrap my arms around things.  Sadly, the most comfortable place for me all week was up on stage delivering the sessions with David, Duncan, and Frank.  Getting used to the level of service in restaurants as well as just the people on the street was an interesting change for me and my wife who tagged along.  I will this, I lost more items on this trip than ever before, not the least of which was a brand new wool hat I got in Tivoli gardens, as well as my MacBook power adapter.  Those two misplaced items really sent me over the edge.  As you all can see I have no hair and it was cold all week.  That hat was a nice one too.

So now there is three weeks before some much needed time off and in between that I need to start to coordinate some internal projects, maybe get a PEX2012 session or two approved, and make it through the rest of Q4.  Hopefully I see many of you again at Partner Exchange and VMWorld 2012

In the words of Ferris Bueller, “Life moves pretty fast, if you don’t stop and look around once in a while….you just might miss it.”

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