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.
We’re pleased to announce the Opening Acts 2016 panel lineups!
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)
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)
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)
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.
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…
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!!!
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)
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:
We’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 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.)