VMunderground, 2016 Edition

Posted on Updated on

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!!

Opening Acts 2016

Posted on Updated on

Plans are starting to come together, and we’re tired of sitting on some of this fun information, so here’s our first dump of official details.

As we revealed last week in our Planning Your VMworld 2016 Trip post, Opening Acts is on.  We’ve had two good years of success running two panel stages concurrently to provide 3 hours with 6 sessions.  One common complaint we’ve received: “Why do you make me choose between all these great panels?!”  So, given this request and venue limitations in Las Vegas, we decided to play with the formula a bit this year.

For 2016, we’re going to run 4 panel sessions sequentially:  Show up for the entire time and you’ll catch all the panely-goodness.  This meant moving Opening Acts forward by an hour to noon, which put us into lunchtime.  If there’s one thing we know will get conference-goers riled up, it’s food!  As fate would have it, about the time we made this decision another great community group (who we’ve wanted to find a way to work with anyways) approached us about sponsoring lunch during Opening Acts.

Please join me in welcoming vBrisket to the Opening Acts family!!

That’s right! Opening Acts now offers you technical knowledge AND BBQ!

So here’s the schedule for Opening Acts on Sunday, August 28, 2016:

  • 10:45am – The doors open
  • 11:00am – Panel Session 1
  • 12:00pm – Panel Session 2
  • 1:00pm – BBQ lunch by vBrisket
  • 2:00pm – Panel Session 3
  • 3:00pm – Panel Session 4
  • 4:00pm – Fin.

The panel sessions are still not defined yet.  You still have time (assuming you’re reading this before May 31, 2016) to help us decide on topics (and possibly offer yourself up as a panelist).  Just go fill out this form: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1MtGcD3C4k2vGjvTPthgiyjONWrO1zx5gFrautroj6AA/viewform

Finally, if BBQ is your thing, the vBrisket team has an AWESOME opportunity available to both fill your mouth with meat (yeah, I know…) and help you get to Vegas right on time for Opening Acts. You should definitely check it out, especially if you live in Chicago, Kansas City, or Denver (or any points along that route).  See all the details here: http://www.vbrisket.com/vbrisket-bus-tour-to-vmworld-2016/.

Planning your VMworld 2016 trip

Posted on

If you haven’t noticed, VMware has opened the registration for VMworld 2016 US; they’ve also opened the public session voting for breakout sessions. That means it’s also time to figure out your travel plans if you’re headed to Sin City…

The #vBrownBag and VMunderground teams were given a big challenge when VMware announced the change in venues from San Francisco to Las Vegas for 2016: we had a great, nearby location at the Metreon for our 8th and 9th VMunderground Party, plus two awesome years of increasing attendance and community interest and support for OpeningActs.

So: what to do, what to do…

I hope everyone is as excited as I am that we can officially announce that OpeningActs and VMunderground are GO for 2016. We had to make some adjustments to our previous model of using the same space for both the panel sessions and the party, while still staying in close proximity to the VMworld venue (ie, south end of the strip, near the airport), but we feel pretty happy with what we’ve got planned.

And yes, we’re a community of communities, so some additional shenanigans are in the works with other event teams (more details as we get closer!).

While exact schedules for VMworld are still under wraps—the Schedule Builder won’t go online until mid-July—we can confirm that our activities will occur on Sunday, August 28th. OpeningActs will run in the early afternoon (first panel should start around 11am) and the party will be later in the evening.

As usual, we’re going to be stingy with the final details until we get closer to the end of August, but we wanted to get these critical bits out to the world so that prospective attendees have the opportunity to plan accordingly.

I’m not quite ready to count down the days…

…oh hell. It’s [click here] days away.

Before You Go, 2015 Edition

Posted on Updated on

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

Posted on Updated on

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

Posted on Updated on

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!

The UNticketing…

Posted on Updated on

After years of intense development, we’d like to announce that we’ve fully automated the WUPaaS. You now have access to an on-demand community networking event in a frictionless manner.

Translation:

From its lowly origins in 2007, the VMunderground party has grown from a handful of like-minded members of the community to one of the largest community events of the week. In the course of our growth, we struggled to find venues that had the right capacity and location for the crush of attendees while staying fiscally responsible to our generous sponsor cadre. Ticketing was used as a means to provide some control, and each year, while trying to be as fair as possible, we still received negative feedback again and again…

We learned in 2014 that we finally found our perfect venue: it was close, it had plenty of room, it was “in budget.”

So in 2015, we’re going to try something old, going back to our roots…

Ticketing will not be required. The doors open to everyone at 8pm. As long as we stay below the Fire Marshall’s limit for the venue—and venue security handles that, not us—you will be admitted; we’re planning on over 1000 people, and we’ll serve food and drink as long as supplies last. When the last beer or cheesecake lollipop is gone, it’s gone…

VIP guests will still require a “backstage pass” to be admitted at 7:30. These passes are available from our sponsors; if you’re not interested in queuing up at 8pm, reach out to them to get special access.

You will still need to prove that you are 21 years old and are part of the VMworld community: Bring government-issue photo ID (e.g., driver’s license or passport) for proof of age. And seriously: it’s a VMworld social event. Wear your badge; it helps put names & faces back together after 1 or more years for many of us.

If you’re from San Francisco or surrounding “local” cities, you must have a VMworld badge so we know you’re not simply crashing the party…

See you on the 30th!!!