Informational

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.

Party Ticketing 101

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Here we are again: VMworld US 2014 is around the corner and as excited as everyone is for the conference, there’s this “little” party that everyone is wanting to attend in order to kick off the week just right.

Q: How do I get into The Party?
A: You’ll need a wrist band for entry (a second wristband may be required to be served alcohol).

Q: Okay, I’ll bite: How do I get a wrist band?
A: There are three ways to get a wrist band:

  1. Sponsor give-away
    Sponsors have wrist bands; show them some love, and they may show some back in the form of a VIP wrist band!
  2. Opening Acts participation
    We’ve posted it and talked about it: Attend Opening Acts and participate and you can earn a wrist band.
  3. Ticket exchange
    Buy a ticket (see below) and exchange it for a wrist band outside the door the night of the party.

Read the rest of this entry »

Heating Things Up

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We’re less than 6 weeks away from the inaugural Opening Acts and VMunderground events at the start of VMworld US 2014, so we’re starting to turn the heat up on our information flow. Only a couple of items with this post, but they’re important:

1) We’re starting our sponsor announcements. These are the folks that allow us to put these events in motion; please bookmark our 2014 Sponsor page and show some love to all the companies and organizations that appear here. Plan to visit them during the show, too, and let them know you appreciate their involvement.

2) We officially announced the ticketing & registration for Opening Acts. We told everyone when & where it’s happening; we also told everyone that OpeningActs (The Sessions) and VMunderground (The Party) will share the same venue but occupy different time slots. If you’re the savvy IT folks we know you to be, you’ve figured out where the evening’s activities will take place.

3) Given the proximity of The Party to the main VMworld campus, we have no doubt that people who hesitated to attend last year (due to distance) will be flocking to it this year. This means we are going to have a paid ticket process similar to last year–a variety of times and days-of-week to cover the global community, plus some special releases at some VMware Community events–with details on the process & “rules of engagement” to be announced.

That’s all for now, but keep this blog site bookmarked for additional details and announcements!

Tickets and Registration

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With registration for VMworld 2014 opened and the content catalog available for scheduling, the VMunderground team is starting to get questions about how to get into The Party.

As in previous years, The VMunderground Party will be open to ticket holders first; then as long as there’s capacity, conference badge holders will be admitted.

TL;DR: You can get a free ticket by receiving one from a sponsor or participating in Opening Acts. Paid tickets will be announced at a later time. Read the rest of this entry »

Introducing: Opening Acts

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As has been intimated on Twitter and through teasers on the vCommunity Podcast, the #VMunderground and #vBrownBag teams have joined forces for 2014 to bring a new type of community-driven event to anyone willing to come into San Francisco for VMworld 2014 a little bit early.

While it’s true that the mission of the two organizations are quite different in their approach to community participation—#vBrownBag is about education and happens year-round, independently of VMworld; #VMunderground is a party held prior to VMworld US—we do have some important synergies:

  • We are all about community participation
  • We absolutely support the “work hard+play hard” ethos

So how do these things come together, yet avoid kicking the shins of the VMworld giant as well as avoid cannibalizing #vBrownBag TechTalks? We believe we’ve got something here…

We are pleased to introduce “Opening Acts.”

Opening Acts will be a series of group/panel discussions over the course of a few hours on Sunday afternoon. Whiteboards will be present, but no slides or PowerPoint.

Like a concert, where you have a major big-name act that draws the crowd, an opening act is often used to warm up the audience, get the mood and tone set for the headliner. The VMunderground party has often referred to itself as a “Warm-up Party (as a Service);” Opening Acts is going to be a Warm-up Pre-con (as a Service). The idea is to get discussions started to get into the mindset for the conference.

And here’s where you—our community—come into the picture: We need feedback on what needs to be covered—and who you think should be there—to help push the conversation. We’ll have time and space set aside for sessions, but the number, topic and duration of each will be determined by those planning to attend. Nothing is off limits: Want to start to the discussion early on disruptive new technologies like hyperconvergence or the growth of flash storage in the datacenter? Fine. Want to chat about licensing challenges in a multi-vendor infrastructure? Fine. Want to talk about techniques to study and prep for certification? You bet. Do you think the authors from the five top vBlogs for 2014 (Duncan Epping, William Lam, Frank Denneman, Cormac Hogan and Scott Lowe) should be there? Sure: we’ll ask them—and any other community members you suggest in the form—to come join us.

Please give us a few minutes of your time to complete this Google Form so we can get a sense of what will be of most interest. It shouldn’t take long, but will give us valuable input into making this a great event.