Well technically I am now back home, but I liked the title and ran with it.

This year, I was lucky enough to attend my first VMWorld in Las Vegas, NV. To say that it was awesome, would be an understatement. Not only did I have a chance listen to some amazing sessions (and ear mark several for viewing once the VoDs are up), but I also got to meet quite a few VMware Community members.

I was sent to VMWorld for my job, which is something i am very grateful for, and I wanted to make sure my manager didn’t regret sending me to Las Vegas for almost a week on the company’s dime. So I made sure to register and attend as many expert led sessions as possible on topics that relate to my day to day job and items that may prove benefical to our shop in the future. They ranged from Introductory Overviews of new solutions to Technical Deep Dives of items I am responsible for on a daily basis. There were even a few community discussion groups that weren’t on a strict topic, but more just Q&A between peers.

Before I got to badge pickup I knew that this cannot be the only VMWorld I attend. I met peers on the airplane and talked about differences and similarities between our IT lives. Walking the halls towards registration it became obvious that there was something unique about being together with 20-30 thousand of one’s peers. Meeting people from across the globe, that deal with or have found solutions to issues you face every day was amazing. There was even a point near the end of the week in the VMware Technical Network (VMTN) booth where a speaker on the VMware Validated Designs had dropped out due to illness where I found my self sharing my, all be it still limited, knowledge about the VVDs and why one might choose to follow them. Thanks to a friend, and former co-worker, I was also able to meet several of the people behind the blogs and Twitter handles that I follow; Along with new individuals that will be added to that list.

I was surprised at how much one could benefit from the “Vendor Showcase” as well. Typically these setups are known for trading E-Mail address for S.W.A.G, and don’t get me wrong, that did happen. Meeting new companies, either within new spaces that I haven’t dealt with yet, or alternatives to solutions I already help maintain. However, the biggest surprise was that I was also able connect with vendors I already deal with through work, and because they sent actual experts to attend the booth I got quick answers to some questions that I have had for a while that support calls for forum posts never fully answered.

Then, of course, there were the vendor sponsored events that started after the conference doors closed each night. Being my first VMWorld and my first major IT conference in general, I am not sure anything could have prepared me for the scope of these. From networking social hours to flat out concerts, these companies get that we IT work hard and like to play harder.

Thank you VMWorld I will never forget my first trip, and now I must figure out how to get back next year…

$Eric