VMWorld 2009 – Overall Impressions…

My first VMWorld was last year at Las Vegas.  It blew my mind.  Unfortunately, it seems to have set the bar rather high.  Hearing stories about past conferences in San Francisco (renting out Universal Studios, etc.) did not help.  As the foreshadowing may indicate, I was somewhat disappointed with this conference.  Major sore points for a LOT of attendees included:

  • Registering for sessions and labs, only to be bumped due to overbooking or having labs and sessions suddenly cancelled.
  • Rather poor lab setup and stability – the one I attended seems to have been the norm, not the exception, in which there were lots of problems and inconsistencies that just wasted time.
  • Really poor wireless access – I was pretty jazzed to learn I could get online free in my hotel (they were charging $10 a day, but the VMWorld WLAN was strong enough to ride), but then I spent two days offline simply due to the overwhelming overload of wireless clients and networks.
  • Poor power accessibility – there are four horseshoe-shaped platforms (I am in one now) with power strips, but they have been packed all week.  Downstairs, power outlets are few and far between, and not all work.  The Bloggers Lounge in the Solutions Exchange was pretty much filled up as well.
  • Lousy food – what can I say?  It sucked, and they ran out of breakfast at the Marriott and had to turn people away on Monday.
  • The general session on Monday was just not sparking it for me or a lot of others, although the HP blade server display with the slide out side-loading drive tray was insanely sick.  Too bad they didn’t have a floor model at their booth…
  • The party last night was sorta OK, but I have low standards, I guess.  Foreigner played and that was good, although they blew it when they closed by hawking their next CD to be available at WalMart.  FAIL.  Plus, nobody knew where the food and beer were, and the selection of beer was heavily weighted towards Corona and Miller.  It is San Fransicso – you should NEVER run out of Anchor Steam here.  Period.  (epic fail)

Overall, I am pretty sure VMware is going to get shellacked over this one.  I really hope they do better next year – attendees pay well to come here, and walking and waiting hours and days in a row should be offset witth much better service, organization and entertainment.  I mean, we ARE the reason they can completely OWN a conference like this, right?

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