Informational

Before You Go, 2017 edition

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As I sit typing this, we’re exactly one week away from the kick-off to VMworld 2017 US: Opening Acts will have wrapped, and those who are inclined will be braving the crowds at the Solutions Exchange expo floor.

With it being the umpteenth conference in Las Vegas this year alone, and the second consecutive year for VMworld, there may not be a whole lot of new or important information for us to share that you wouldn’t know already.

With that in mind, I’ll try to keep it short and focus on the most relevant details for our events…

First off, we’re in a cool, new venue. Beerhaus is a fairly new addition to the New York-New York campus, so even seasoned conference-goers may not be familiar with it. It’s a bit of a beer garden, with a large variety of craft brews on tap as well as a full bar and kitchen. Although it’s affiliated with the New York-New York Hotel and Casino, you may find it easiest to reach from Las Vegas Boulevard (“the strip”) itself, especially if you’re coming from Mandalay Bay to the south.

BeerHaus Overhead

In simple terms, if coming from Mandalay Bay, head North on the west side of Las Vegas Blvd until you pass Shake Shack; turn left (west) and head back into the park area. You’ll see Beerhaus on your left.

Next: during Opening Acts, the Beerhaus bar and kitchen will be open, but there won’t be sponsored drinks and eats—you’ll have to wait until the VMunderground party for that!—so check their menu and make alternate plans for lunch if it doesn’t suit you.

Opening Acts is sold out according to EventBrite! While we don’t charge anything, we do have to limit the reservations due to space in the venue; but the reality is, we only worry about capping the attendance because of the indoor cooling & sound capability (as well as Fire Marshall restrictions). If you didn’t get a reservation, you should still consider dropping by to see if a) everyone that had a reservation is in attendance, and b) standing-room-only and outside-looking-in are options. It’ll be Vegas in the summer (+100°F/37°C), so it won’t be comfortable outside—even in the shade—but you’re still welcome.

If you do decide to come and eat/drink before or during Opening Acts, we’re going to ask you to stay on the east side of the venue so that conversations will be isolated away from the panel sessions.

The VMunderground party starts at 7pm, and entry is only permitted with a wristband. If you have an EventBrite ticket instead of a wristband from a sponsor, you will be able to exchange the former for the latter at the door; we haven’t made a final decision on which entrance(s) will be taking tickets in exchange for wristbands, but we’re planning on having several minions available to get you quickly checked-in and into the party.

The party has sponsored food and drink, and we can assure you that we have included both non-alcoholic and vegetarian options; however, other dietary requirements (vegan, gluten-free, etc) are not being explicitly accommodated. The simple reason is that we just don’t have any idea of the percentages, and our costs would skyrocket if we tried to be everything for everyone.

The event is in Las Vegas; there will be alcohol served. Although we are a private event, we still must adhere to domestic laws for serving alcohol, which means you must bring proof of age (government-issue photo ID with date-of-birth) showing that you’re 21 or older. The party is sponsoring selections from the beer and wine options; if you prefer cocktails or other “hard liquor” options, you will be able to purchase them on your own. We will also abide by venue rules for bringing in beverages from outside (you can’t) as well as departing with them (depends on container).

The venue this year does not lend itself to a coat/bag check, so keep that in mind if you’re in the habit of toting around a backpack or conference swag-bag…

Finally: this is a social event kicking off the conference. Please plan to wear your badge, both to identify yourself as an attendee as well as to let new and old friends have a crutch for remembering your name. I am absolutely certain that I’m not the only attendee who is horrible at remembering names…

THANKS FOR YOUR SUPPORT, and WE’LL SEE YOU IN VEGAS!!!

VMunderground 2017—Ticketing

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We’ve had a number of questions about the availability of tickets for the VMunderground 2017 party; apparently, the Early Bird tickets we made available at the end of April were confused with the General Access tickets that we’re going to make available later this month.

July 26th, 2017 at 8am PDT, to be precise.

As we announced on the Eventbrite site for the party, the Early Bird tickets would be lower-cost than the General Access tickets when they became available. That hasn’t changed, either, and when they go on sale, they’ll be $40US each.

Opening Acts is still a free reservation, just as in previous years, and is really meant to help us keep track of how many to expect in attendance…

And no…we’re still not telling you where things are happening. It’s still our little secret.

VMunderground, 2016 Edition

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At long last, here’s the details for VMworld 2016’s Warm-up Party as a Service. (TL;DR, see the bolded items, but I think you’ll want to read the rest anyways).

WHAT: A pre-VMworld US party

WHY: To get old and new friends together to kick-off the week in a relaxed, friendly atmosphere to set the week off right

Now, before we get into it, we want to preface our announcement with a little bit of background. Finding sponsors this year was hard. With US presidential elections, Brexit, a massive vendor acquisition/merger, and a cooling off of the VC and IPO markets, vendors don’t seem to have a lot of money to spend. That has affected our plans. Some of you will not be happy, but this is better than nothing. Hopefully you’ll agree. If not, remember that we’re just a bunch of introverted nerds wanting to get together to support the community.

On to the plans….

This year, VMunderground will be held August 28th, 2016. For those not keeping score, that’s exactly 5 years after our last round in Las Vegas (August 28th, 2011). And this happens to be the 10th VMunderground. Needless to say, nostalgia weighed heavy on the group this year, so we decided to aim for sacred VMunderground…well…ground.

WHERE: Nine Fine Irishmen, in New York, New York Hotel & Casino

Now, those who attended the party 5 years ago may be saying: “I don’t remember Nine Fine Irishmen being as big as City View was last year.” If you said that, you’d be correct. While we did have great plans for making this venue work with the much bigger attendance numbers, circumstances (see the preface paragraph) led to the venue being the right size after all.

WHO: 550 of our Sponsors and VMworld compatriots

Of course, timing is everything, and this reduced buyout of the venue has left us in a bit of bind with a double whammy.

WHEN: August 28th, 7-10 p.m.

Yes. That is the same time as the Inaugural VMUG Member Party. We have been talking to VMUG for months now trying to coordinate as best we can, but this was unavoidable. We’re excited to see them launch their own event and wish them the best of luck with it. I’m sure we’ll both have enough attendees given the size of VMworld.

HOW: Tickets.  Yes…tickets.

Given the reduced size of the venue, paid tickets will be required to get in the door at the beginning of the party. We will be opening up an Eventbrite page to acquire tickets soon, so keep an eye/ear/Tweetstream open for more details very soon. We’re going to do a single process for Opening Acts, vBrisket, and VMunderground to make it as streamlined as possible. Be prepared:

  • VMunderground will be charging $25 (see preface paragraph).
  • vBrisket (lunch at Opening Acts) will have a $5 charge to their expenses.
  • Opening Acts will remain completely free if you can resist the BBQ smell, but we still want get a count ahead of time, so please pick up a reservation even if you’re just planning on Opening Acts. We won’t restrict Opening Acts to only registered attendees, though.

Not the plans were were hoping for, but think of it this way: where else are you going to get a full BBQ lunch sandwiched in-between 4 hours of learning from your peers AND 3 hours of food and drink with the VMworld “who’s who” for only $30?

See you in Las Vegas!!

Before You Go, 2015 Edition

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Here we go: the home stretch before VMworld 2015 US opens in San Francisco, CA— and that means it’s also the kick-off for Opening Acts II and VMunderground. In the short few days before, we thought we’d pass along a few items of note…

Where we’ll be

City View at the Metreon
Top Floor
135 Fourth Street, San Francisco


You can enter from either the Fourth Street or Yerba Buena Park entrances. Take the elevators or escalators up to the top floor.

Opening Acts

We have three sets of two, hour-long sessions running simultaneously and starting at 1pm; doors open at 12:30pm.

You are welcome to move between spaces, but please be mindful of those around you. We’ll be recording and (hopefully) streaming the content, so disturbing those around you will also have…lasting repercussions…

Panel sessions will expect give-and-take from the attendees. Plan to participate.

VMunderground

This is an adults-only party. We will be serving alcohol, and whether you plan to consume or not, it’s the law of the land that attendees have aged 21 years. You will need to provide proof of your age with a government-issued photo ID; driver’s license or passport are acceptable examples.

Wear your name tag! It’s a great way to reconnect with friends old and new.

Doors open at 8pm. Those holding VIP passes will be admitted at 7:30pm, but if we reach capacity after the doors open, your pass won’t guarantee admittance. Fire Marshall’s rules won’t be bent, period.

Final Thoughts

Don’t forget our sponsors! Not only will they be present during the events, but they’ll be around all week at the conference. Let them know how much you enjoyed the events of the day: the more positive feedback they receive, the more likely they’ll be willing to continue supporting us.

See you on Sunday!!!

Opening Acts 2015 — Panelists and Moderators

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With just over a week to go, the members of our panel sessions are being finalized; here’s who we’ve got on board…

Storage (SDS & traditional) (1pm)
Renée Lawrence, HDS (@reneehlawrence) moderator
Jase McCarty, VMware (@jasemccarty)
Gabriel Chapman, SolidFire (@bacon_is_king)
Stephen Foskett, Tech Field Day (@sfoskett)
Phoummala Schmitt, Blogger & cohost of Current Status podcast (@exchangegoddess)
Matt Cowger, EMC (@mcowger)
Calvin Zito, HP (@calvinzito)
Infrastructure (1pm)
Keith Norbie, SolidFire (@keithnorbiemoderator
J Metz, Cisco (@drjmetz)
Leah Schoeb, Intel (@vleahschoeb)
James Bowling, General Datatech (@vsential)
Eric Wright, VMturbo (@discoposse)
Stu Miniman, Wikibon (@stu)
Rick Scherer, EMC (@rick_scherer)
Networking (SDN & traditional) (2pm)
Lauren Malhoit, Cisco (@malhoit) moderator
Tom Hollingsworth, Tech Field Day (@networkingnerd)
Lisa Caywood, Brocade (@realLisaC)
Ryan Hughes, Presidio (@angryjesters)
Scott Lowe, VMware (@scott_lowe)
Josh Coen, Sirius (@joshcoen)
Automation (2pm)
Tim Jabaut, BB&T (@vmcutlipmoderator
Al Renouf, VMware (@alanrenouf)
Josh Atwell, SolidFire (@josh_atwell)
Luc Dekens, Eurocontrol (@lucd22)
Jon Hildebrand, LightEdge Solutions (@snoopj123)
Smiti Sharma, EMC (@smiti_sharma)
Careers (3pm)
Damian Karlson, EMC (@sixfootdadmoderator
John Troyer, TechReckoning (@jtroyer)
Kat Troyer, Jigsaw Staffing Solutions (@dailykat)
Emad Younis, Tintri (@emad_younis)
Lauren Cooney, Cisco (@lcooney)
Keith Neighbors, Neighbors & Associates (@datastoragejobs)
Dom Delfino, VMware (@domdelfino)
Data Protection (3pm)
Jim Millard, OneNeck IT Solutions (@millardjkmoderator
Chris Wahl, Rubrik (@chriswahl)
Gina Minks, Spanning (@gminks)
GS Khalsa, VMware (@gurusimran)
Tim Antonowicz, #vDB (@timantz)
Nick Howell, Cohesity (@datacenterdude)
Shannon Snowden, Zerto (@shannonsnowden)

The Bettering of VMunderground

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Every year, we try to put together something new to improve the VMunderground experience.  In the past, it’s mostly been based around increasing the number of people we can accommodate, which has required ticketing and venue changes over the years.  Last year, we feel we found the proper venue to enable us to bring in the right number of people, with room to still grow.  To that end, we were able to eliminate the need for tickets this year.

Last year, we worked with the vBrownBag crew to add an educational component to what we provide.  Already having a large venue we simply added additional hours to the venue rental and were able to introduce Opening Acts.  This proved to be such a huge success that I ended the event realizing that we couldn’t NOT bring Opening Acts back. Fortunately, the level of success didn’t necessitate too much improvement, so you’ll see some minor tweaks, but they’ll be minor.

A common criticism of the traditional conference circuit is the overemphasis on alcohol consumption.  While most of the VMunderground crew are perfectly happy to network over a variety of alcoholic beverages, by no means is that a requirement for any of us.  I have great conversations all week at VMworld over coffee, soda and even water, so I am by no means pushing off the fun conversations for when the beer flows.  To provide better options to those who prefer (or simply cannot) partake in the “adult beverages” we have added a full smoothie bar to the menu at VMunderground.

This year, we also wanted to improve the ability for community events at both VMworld conferences to obtain sponsors, so we gathered with the teams that put on vBrownBag TechTalks, Spousetivities and vRockStar to put together a series of packages to make it easy for vendors to sponsor multiple of these events in one shot.  The feedback (and signup rate) have been very positive.  I’m proud to announce the following sponsors have chosen to take advantage of these packages and will be the first to take advantage of this opportunity:brocade-logo-black-red-rgb

cloudphysics

Cisco

EMC Elect 2014

Infinio

Rackspace

SolidFire

VMUGWe’d like to give special thanks to these companies for truly getting and appreciating our little community. VMworld simply would not be the same without companies like these.  Give them (and all our sponsors) a special thank you before VMworld, then stop into their booths during the show to let them scan your badge and give your appreciation in person!

Opening Acts is BACK!

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Opening Acts is returning for its second year at VMworld US 2015.  You can find us at the Metreon’s City View (the same place as last year) starting at 1pm on Sunday afternoon, August 30th.

A collaborative venture produced by your friends at #vBrownBag and VMunderground, Opening Acts will host a total of 6 panels with as many smart, funny, and snarky panelists & moderators as we can convince to come out and argue about technology.

Each panel will last an hour, and will run side by side, two at a time. The community voted for their top 3 panels, and here are the results:
1pm: Infrastructure, hyper-convergence, containers & more vs. Storage of all kinds
2pm: Automation & orchestration vs. Networking of all kinds
3pm: Careers, podcasting, smart people saying funny things vs. Data protection of all kinds

We’re still putting the list of panelists & moderators together, but we promise you’ll get your money’s worth. (Well, since it’s free you’ll get what you get and you won’t throw a fit.)

Stay tuned.