VMWorld 2009: Final Thoughts

VMWorld 2009 has lived up to it’s predecessors.

The food was seriously lacking at meals and at the party.  The logistics in the hallways, however, were far better than they were two years ago at Moscone.

The Partner Technical Advisory Board (PTAB) was definitely one of the highlights of the conference for me.  The PTAB is made up of 20-25 individuals that represent companies that push about 40% of VMware’s revenue.  Needless to say, it’s an elite group of technical folks.  We spent one and a half days in a room with many different people from VMware, including Engineers, Product Managers, Partner Support Managers and R&D Managers, who conducted very interactive (sometimes heated) sessions with us to discuss current and future VMware features and policies.  Always an interesting time that makes me think hard and push everyone’s creativity.  More can be found on my Day 1 and Day 2 coverage posts.

The Paul Maritz keynote was luke warm and didn’t introduce anything major.  More info on my Day 3 coverage post.  Steve Herrod’s keynote was much better.  Though he didn’t make many announcements, there were just enough live demos to keep this geek interested.  More info on my Day 4 coverage post.

Sessions for me, as always, were hit and miss.  Some sessions I gain a lot from (LAB12, LAB07-even though it was too slow to enjoy, DV2181) and some simply don’t realize their promise (DV2672, DV3266, TA3576).  Note to presenters for next year: Describe your sessions very well in the abstract and make sure to note if your session will be technical, or just business/conceptual.  There’s nothing wrong with it being business or conceptual, I just want to know ahead of time.  Also make sure to show the product as much as possible, not just why or how you would use it.

The Solutions Expo didn’t seem as large and boisterous as previous years, but that wasn’t a surprise given the economic climate.  There seemed to be a big Twitter-based backlash against the “booth babe” (or “boob babe” as some Freudian slips put it) phenomenon.  I have to concur with this sentiment.  The conference is mostly men, but there are definitely women there, and most guys aren’t necessarily interested in women in skintight cat suits.  Maybe it’s just me, but I avoided certain booths (and aisles) because of such stunts.

I think the vExpert program, Twitter and the blogosphere did a lot to bring together the top community members.  It definitely helped me to meet a lot of new people.

All in all, a great conference.  Learned a lot, made a lot of great connections and met some great new (to me) companies.  I’m hoping to do it all again next year!