VMworld 2020…Recap

This post is the 1st in a series for #blogtober 2020 – more info about this challenge can be found here.

VMworld 2020 is now in the books and for the 1st time ever the event was 100% virtual due to the COVID-19 pandemic and was spread out over 48 continuous hours from Sep 29 – Oct 01.

For me this was the 3rd VMworld I had attended and because this event was 100% free it was a no brainer for me and given I work for VMware we were actively encouraged to attend.

VMworld 2020 had 2 types of sessions which you could attend:

  • ‘Live’ Sessions which ran three times daily to accommodate US/EMEA/APAC timezones
  • Breakout Sessions that were available on demand

These “live” and breakout sessions were split across 7 different categories.

  • Vision and Innovation
  • Multi-Cloud
  • App Modernization
  • Intrinsic Security
  • Virtual Cloud Network
  • Digital Workspace
  • Telco 5G

As you can see with 930 sessions split over 7 tracks there was a wide range off topics, audiences, technical levels, industries, job roles, that were covered across the sessions.

Now that the event is over, these 930 sessions are now available on demand (from both types of session) on the VMworld website – registration is required.

VMworld On Demand Session + Demo Zone Chat Host

As I alluded to in my VMworld 2020 preview post last month this years VMworld would have extra significance for me as I was fortunate enough to not only have a VMworld session accepted but I was also asked to be a chat host for the VMware Demo Zone for vRealize Network Insight during the Americas Time Zones.

On Demand Session

This year at VMworld I had a session accepted ISNS1285: Why vRealise Network Insight is the Must-Have Tool for Network Monitoring and this was available as an On Demand offering which means attendees could view the session recording but there was no option to ask Q&A.

Before the event there was some amplification of the session both by myself but also by the official VMware Network Insight twitter account (@vmwnetinsight) which was cool!

After the General Session Keynote I went to view the final version of my session and I was a little disappointed as the slides and video were split screen and there was no option to re-size the video so the size of the slides and demos was reduced. One suggestion I would have for future events would be to allow the videos to be resized and give the viewer choice.

Nevertheless I did have a good attendance and the survey scores received post VMworld were positive with an average of 4.0 for all questions which is Very Good.

Even though VMworld 2020 is now over you can still view not only my session but also all the other 930+ sessions on demand.

In addition, if you missed VMworld or part of it, I would encourage you to take a look at all of the news and announcements in the VMworld 2020 Media Kit

Demo Zone

The VMware Demo Zone gave attendees the opportunity to view demos of all of our products along with the opportunity for Q&A with the chat hosts.

Unfortunately despite some amplification of the Demo Zones on social media, the attendance for Q&A chat was very low and I can only put this down to the “on demand” element of the event and seeing that a lot of people were still doing their “day job” whilst also attending VMworld which in itself would be a challenge.

Favourite Sessions

Here are a selection of my favourite sessions from this year’s VMworld 2020 outside of the General Session and Solutions Keynotes which you should go check out:

HCP1392: Planes, Trains and Workload Mobility – In this session William Lam + Emad Younis discussed the decisions you need to make when moving workloads from private cloud (on premises) to various different cloud providers (AWS, Azure and GCP). Now being a VMworld session, there was an extra cool surprise during the demos involving different virtual assistants to help automate the workload migrations using VMware HCX.

HCP1358: VEBA and the Power of Event-Driven Automation – Reloaded – Here William Lam and Michael Gasch talked about VEBA or VMware Event Broker Appliance and showed the latest features and what updates had been delivered since the 1st release last year at VMworld 2019.

ETML1760: VMware vRealize AI and the ML Drivers of the Self-Driving Data Center – This session presented by Jad El-Zein and Arun Annavarapu talked about vRealize AI and how it focuses on ML analytics and reinforcement learning to self tune performance of VMware vSAN in order to optimise workload performance.

MAP2419: Introduction to Infrastructure as Code – Hosted by Kyle Ruddy (now with HashiCorp) this session gave attendees a good overview and introduction to what Infrastucture as Code is and how simple it can be to use this to manage a vSphere Environment inc NSX-T using just code.

VCNC2919: Prepare for the New Normal of Work from Anywhere – In this session we heard from Sanjay Uppal, SVP + GM of VeloCloud Business Unit @ VMware who described how using VMware Technologies like SD-WAN, Workspace One, NSX and Avi are helping businesses to be able to embrace SASE (Secure Access Service Edge) transformation as we move to a more distributed working model due to COVID-19.

Note: I have deliberately selected sessions outside of a Cloud Management Business Unit (CMBU) focus as I wanted to check out other parts of the VMware Ecosystem outside of my day to day area and I found this very useful in being able to expand my knowledge.

John Legend

As with previous VMworld’s there is usually a party on the 2nd night of the event with a headline musical act. This year with a fully virtual conference the attendees were treated to a pre-recorded performance by Grammy award winning artist John Legend who played hits from his catalogue and provided an entertaining 30 mins set.

Conclusion

This year’s VMworld was like no other we have seen before but with the shift to an entirely 100% virtual event VMware did a great job to pull this off. In addition, I would imagine just like myself more people will catch the on-demand content now it is available as they will be able to dedicate certain times of their schedule around their day job to review sessions.

I am ever hopeful that this 100% virtual setup will be a one off and we will return to some form of in-person event in 2021 however VMware have already said that they plan to do a hybrid VMworld conference (some in person, some remote) for the foreseeable future so we will have to wait and see how this evolves.

Thanks for reading and please feel free to leave a comment or message me on twitter (@lukaswinn) if you found this article useful.

— Lukas

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