As of this writing, it’s only seven (7) weeks until VMworld 2018 US? Seems like seven (7) weeks is still plenty of time before we need to pack our kit and head to the airport…
But by other metrics, it’s going to get here faster than anyone wants…including the team here at Underground Central. We’ve got our homework still cut out for us: finding additional sponsors, announcing committed sponsors, finalizing session topics, populating the panel membership, coordinating with the venue for catering and audio-visual, etc.
But no worry…we’re veterans at this (this is our twelfth year!) and plan to have everything ready & in place for you when you arrive at Beerhaus on Sunday afternoon.
That’s right: We’re essentially “reverting to snapshot” from last year, doing pretty much the same venue and timing. Like last year, we’ll be starting the Opening Acts sessions at 1pm, running them back-to-back until 4pm. The kitchen & bar at Beerhaus will be open, but remain unsponsored for the panel sessions: you’re on your own to pick up the tab. If you’re not interested in eating there, best plan is to do lunch prior to arrival…and there are many, many options in the vicinity of New York New York Resort and Casino, the major landmark near Beerhaus.
MARK YOUR CALENDAR
Opening Acts: 1pm — 4pm PDT
VMunderground: Evening PDT
Beerhaus (at the Park)
3784 S Las Vegas Boulevard
Las Vegas, NV 89109
The evening VMunderground party will start after the staff resets the venue space from the panel sessions; we’re still coordinating the exact time for the doors to open, but you can plan on it being after 7pm and no later than 8pm…
As mentioned in the first paragraph, we’re still seeking sponsors, so we aren’t planning on being able to commit to a zero-cost ticket for the party (as always, Opening Acts is a free event for all participants, but we’ll be requesting you to register for free reservations to help us get an idea of how full the venue will be). Like the last few years, we’ve needed paid tickets to “get us over the finish line.” so we’ll be selling party tickets once we’ve been able to finalize the sponsor slate.
And on that note, we’ll also begin announcing our committed sponsors this week; they’re the ones that really make this all possible, and will be an alternative option to purchasing party tickets. Keep an eye on the @VMunderground Twitter feed for new announcements–as well as the 2018 Sponsors page on this site–for more news on sponsors.
Before You Go, 2017 edition
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.
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!!!
Opening Acts 2017 Panel Lineups
Join us for the 4th annual Opening Acts at VMworld US in Las Vegas on Sunday, August 27th. This year, we’ll be at Beerhaus at the Park next to New York New York casino. Here’s a fancy map link for your mapping pleasure!
As always, we strive to find just the right combination of snark, wit, and smarts in each and every one of our panelists and moderators. The only missing ingredient is your winning personality and friendly smile. Space at Beerhaus is limited, so please reserve your seat today.
1pm: Current State of the VMware Ecosystem
- Moderator: John Troyer (@jtroyer)
- Josh Coen (@joshcoen)
- Chris Colotti (@ccolotti)
- Leah Schoeb (@vLeahSchoeb)
- Cody Bunch (@cody_bunch)
- Steve Beaver (@sbeaver)
2pm: How Failing Made Me Better
- Moderator: Jody Tyrus (@jtyrus)
- Rebecca Fitzhugh (@RebeccaFitzhugh)
- Tim Antonowicz (@timantz)
- Michelle Trombetta(@bombchelleshock)
- Gregg Robertson (@GreggRobertson5)
- Mike Letschin (@mletschin)
3pm: Buzzword Bashing – Double-clicking on the premise of words in IT Marketing
- Moderator: Jim Millard (@millardjk)
- Gabe Chapman (@bacon_is_king)
- Gina Minks (@gminks)
- Ed Haletky (@texiwill)
- Stu Miniman (@stu)
- J Metz (@drjmetz)
Opening Acts: Double-clicking on the premise of words in IT Marketing
I think the Opening Acts panels that we’ve hosted for the last few years as the daytime part of the VMunderground event might have become my favorite part of the day. One of the fun things we get to do with the community is decide the topics that we are going to host, and as usual, this year there were lots of great suggestions and lots of lively internal debate on which to choose.
One that stood out for me, for a number of reasons we’ll discuss, had to do with language, and specifically how marketing teams can use language in all sort of ways, both for good and for evil.
In my experience, there are two kinds of ways that people get pedantic about language in our industry. First, there are the people who constantly correct people on the use of there/their/they’re (@millardjk), the people who lament the lack of an edit button on Twitter, and the people who freak out about the improper use of words whose spellings are close but whose meanings are completely different, like premise and premises (@ucs_dave).
The second kind of person, of which I admit to being one of, sees how the definitions of words and phrases can be deliberately and systematically changed over time. For me, this is a far worse offense, because it’s designed to deceive. Back in the day I wrote an entire blog post about this phenomena, and while it’s a much more devious use of language, it doesn’t seem to get the same level of scrutiny and scorn as the poor person who dares to use “premise” incorrectly.
In either case, language is a powerful thing, and how it’s used, where it’s used, and the patterns we create and reinforce can have a significant impact on perceptions and buying habits. If you are interested more in this idea, there’s a lot of great academic articles out there, but here’s one of my favorites.
Join us at Opening Acts to talk about language, buzzwords, bullshit, marketing and the power of words. This should be fun!
OpeningActs 2017—How Failing Made Me Better
Have you ever been out socializing with your IT peers, and somehow the topic shifted to some data center horror story? Whether it’s the “zero U switch” that was only supposed to be temporary; or the accidental “rm –r /”; or that time you deleted the wrong LUN (raises hand, hangs head). We all have one or more in our collective history that we occasionally bring back out, dust off, and (hopefully) share to the amusement of all.
There are also those failures that you never bring up. You know, the ones that other folks call “RGEs” (Resume Generating Events). The “cautionary tale.” The sort of thing that, in hindsight, you can’t imagine why you thought it would be a good idea.
And then there are the failures that you were sure would be successes: the exam you almost passed, the project you declined, the proposal—or VCDX defense—that you poured blood, sweat and tears into only to have it rejected.
Aside from “fail,” what should all of these things have in common? All should have been learning experiences.
With a nod to the old saw of “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger,” we present a group of panelists who have risen to personal and career success, not through a string of only positive achievements, but through reasoned risk-taking, occasional bad luck… and failures.
OpeningActs 2017—The Awkward Teenage Years of the VMware Community
One idiom all IT professionals know to be true is “the one constant is change.” Nature adapts and changes over time. TV series shift over time. People come and go into your life. Enterprise IT is always chasing a more efficient and simple solution.
As we humans mature from childhood into adolescence, many changes occur. We get bigger and our internal systems change. Our interests change. We struggle to find purpose. Our friend groups change, sometimes turning friends into enemies and enemies into friends. The IT industry and the companies within it also go through similar growing pains.
Another common idiom that seems to ring true in multiple facets of life is “it takes a village to raise a child.” In the IT industry, most companies start with only one or two products and very few of them can make it from startup to self-sustaining (or a marriage to another company) without a system of support around it. This system is usually composed of other vendors, customer advocates, and third-party industry “watchers” who help to promote interesting products/concepts.
As these companies mature their one or two initial products, they almost always find an inflection point where they find the need to diversify their portfolio in order to remain competitive and maintain the growth they experienced before. This often leads to changes in interest and a struggle to find new purpose (often referred to as a pivot). Sometimes these pivots create friction with their old partners and friends. Sometimes they draw closer to and create partnerships with old enemies.
VMware appears to be in the midst of this awkward adolescence-like growth phase. They’re creating a bunch of new products far from the core hypervisor. Their primarily purpose is now cloud and management technologies. They’re directly competing with companies that have ridden in the wake of VMware’s success (see: Veeam, Cisco, every storage vendor). They’re even creating significant partnerships with old enemies like AWS.
The community is also being affected. Newer technologies that VMware isn’t reacting to quickly enough (e.g. containers) are drawing people away from the VMware community. This is causing a reduced focus in the ecosystem sponsors on organizations like VMUG and the myriad of VMworld community events, causing struggles to find sponsors to keep VMware-focused events afloat.
This is a topic hitting us directly at VMunderground and vBrownBag, so we decided to have an open discussion during Opening Acts. One of our panels will be dedicated to discussing how the industry matures and how technology, ecosystems, and communities are affected when vendors mature or move from innovation to sustaining.
Opening Acts 2016 Panel Lineups
We’re pleased to announce the Opening Acts 2016 panel lineups!
Location: Liberty Loft meeting space at NYNY casino, Sunday August 28th. You can find a map to the Loft here. Ticket details are available here.
Note: Opening Acts is completely free, but we’d like folks to reserve a spot so we can monitor the space’s available capacity.
I imagine that we’ve all asked ourselves, “Where do I take my career from here? How do I prepare for the next step? What, exactly, do I want to do?” In this panel, we’ll discuss these topics as well as acting professionally on social media even when you’re in competition with other folks in technology, tips on how to cope with imposter syndrome, and how to maintain a healthy work/life balance.
- Moderator: Gina Minks (@gminks)
- Sean Massey (@seanpmassey)
- Tom Hollingsworth (@networkingnerd)
- John Arrasjid (@vcdx001)
- Mike Letschin (@mletschin)
- Jeramiah Dooley (@jdooley_clt)
New Age / Next Generation IT (12pm)
Technology is changing. “Virtualize all the things!” was the refrain from past years, but emerging technologies and solutions such as containers and their orchestration, network virtualization, and cloud-native applications are quickly altering how we approach IT. In this panel we’ll discuss these topics, and explore ideas on what’s next.
- Moderator: Jody Tyrus (@jtyrus)
- Tim Carr (@timmycarr)
- David Klee (@kleegeek)
- Guru Chahal (@guruchahal)
- Josh Coen (@joshcoen)
- Matt Brender (@mjbrender)
vBrisket Lunch (1pm)
Great BBQ’d food and casual technology conversations with peers.
Storage & Hyper-converged (2pm)
Storage is and will continue to be a hot topic. The market is crowded with storage startups and incumbents, and it’s easy to get lost in the noise. This panel will explore the pros & cons of various storage technologies (traditional, hybrid, all-flash) and hyper-convergence.
- Moderator: Scott D. Lowe (@otherscottlowe)
- Gabriel Chapman (@bacon_is_king)
- Marcus Puckett (@mpuckett259)
- Howard Marks (@deepstoragenet)
- Tim Antonowicz (@timantz)
- Phoummala Schmitt (@exchangegoddess)
Managing an IT environment at scale can be challenging. We’re all human and make mistakes that often lead to not being able to meet the demanding needs of technology consumers. We’ll explore various methods of automating IT configuration management, new ways for IT to interact and cooperate with software development, and adopting new concepts such as infrastructure as code.
- Moderator: James Bowling (@vsential)
- Luc Dekens (@lucd22)
- Eric B Lee (@ericblee6)
- Jon Hildebrand (@snoopj123)
- Amy Manley (@wyrdgirl)
- Kyle Ruddy (@kmruddy)
#VMunderground, #OpeningActs, and #vBrisket Ticket Release
Eventbrite is all setup. The schedule is set. Here’s what you need to know.
We’ve combined the ticketing process for VMunderground, Opening Acts, and the vBrisket lunch at Opening Acts into a single process. Tickets for all events will be available here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/community-events-at-vmworld-2016-us-tickets-26600043446. (If you want the vBrisket VMworld Bus Tour, you want to head over here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/vbrisket-vmworld-bus-tour-tickets-25211421039)
Go ahead and head on over to our Eventbrite now to review the FAQs.
Here’s the big part, everyone has been waiting for: Tickets will become available at 2:00 pm PDT/2100 UTC on 28-July 2016. No time is ideal for all parties, so we tried to pick the best time for the majority of timezones. Put it on your calendar. Setup an alert on your phone. Tell the family (work or personal) you have an important commitment at that time.
As a reminder:
- VMunderground will be charging $25.
- vBrisket (lunch at Opening Acts) will be $5.
- Opening Acts will remain completely free, 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.
All are limited due to budget and venue restrictions, so be ready at release time!
UPDATE: The first big rush is past, and there are still tickets left as of 1800h PDT. If you don’t have a ticket, it’s worth the click to see what’s available…
Before You Go, 2015 Edition
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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 (@keithnorbie) moderator
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 (@vmcutlip) moderator
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 (@sixfootdad) moderator
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 (@millardjk) moderator
Chris Wahl, Rubrik (@chriswahl)
Gina Minks, Spanning (@gminks)
GS Khalsa, VMware (@gurusimran)
Tim Antonowicz, #vDB (@timantz)
Nick Howell, Cohesity (@datacenterdude)
Shannon Snowden, Zerto (@shannonsnowden)
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