Thursdays are different to the other days. There’s no General Session so VMvillage opens earlier. I checked out from my place early and got to the venue. It pays to be early on Thursday as almost everyone has luggage to store in the morning. The staff is great as they are extremely quick in taking it off you and then you’re on your way.

I hurried to the VMvillage as I had to get yesterday’s blog post out quickly. Then we found out that Kev Johnson lost his jacket, which amongst other things, also had his VMworld Pass. Obviously, that was an accident and I won’t bore you with the details but the reason I brought it up was because you need to keep it safe. It’s required for entry but if you lose it, a replacement costs you 55 Euros.

Yesterday, we had a few more OpenTechCast recordings planned so we waited for Joe Baguley. He is the nicest CTO you’ll ever meet and despite his ever busy schedule, he’s always ready to give the community his time whenever asked. He came and we asked him exactly that i.e. What drives him to be so active in the community? You will hear his answer soon in our VMworld special episodes coming up soon.

Next up, were Gurusimran Khalsa (a.k.a. GS) and Karl Widmer GS talked about what got him excited about the new announcements and we also talked about what VMware’s partnership with AWS could mean for SRM, a subject “close to his heart”. It was Karl’s first VMworld and he talked about what were his highlights for the event and what he learned from it.

That took us way over lunchtime and Kev had to run away. In the hurry to get the blog post out, I was still running on last nights’s meal so I headed towards the “Hot Food” area in Solutions Exchange. Every year, in addition to easily accessible snacks and cold lunch, there’s also a big area where you can have hot meals. There is always a good selection of food available and clearly marked for suitability to various dietary requirements. As always, the service is fast and efficient and you can be in and out very quickly, especially if you time it correctly.

With recordings out of the way, it was time for me to head towards the vendor stalls and cover as much as I could in the remaining time. You should keep in mind that on Thursday, Solution Exchange closes at 14:30 as vendors have to pack up and vacate the stall. Don’t wait too long to start the day or you’ll miss out. As a side-note, it’s your golden chance to collect any remaining swag as most don’t want to take it back with them.

After that, I went to VMvillage again with Fred Hofer. There I found Fabian Lenz, Lars Troen, Abdullah Abdullah and Wil van Antwerpan. We were all exhausted but had a great chat (read “rant”) about exams, work and many other things. VMworld is the only chance that one typically gets to meet everyone together so I enjoy this part the most and try to absorb as much wisdom as possible, amongst lots of laughs.

Just wanted to quickly mention an offer from VMware: There’s a free demo of VMware Learning Zone available that you can register for and it gives you 21 days of access. It’s a great resource, especially if you’re planning to take any certification exams or just want to learn about a particular VMware product. You need to hurry though as the offer expires on 31st December 2016. All you need to do is register here.

I also got a chance to pay the Education and Certification booth another visit. Frank Büchsel couldn’t attend and wanted certification pins but as a bonus, I got a chance to meet some more great people: Brett Guarino and Rebecca Fitzhugh. Just a few minutes with Rebecca and you know how entertaining her class might be. Maybe I should book a course with her!

Soon after that, however, it was time for us to leave as everything was shutting down. We said our goodbyes and headed towards the exit. Collecting the bags didn’t take very long as the staff there is extremely efficient. Then Fred and I walked over to the shuttles that VMworld arranges to both terminals and boarded to leave.

Despite being quite punishing on the mind and body, VMworld is an experience everyone should have at least once. Although after that, it becomes an addiction. You meet so many great people and learn so much that the realisation that you’re leaving it for another year is difficult.

I’ve met a lot of people over the past few VMworlds that I immensely enjoy meeting again but yet, I get meet so many new every time. Everyone that I met this week: Thank you for making my conference so enjoyable.

This year was also great due to the many new announcements made and as ever, it was very efficiently run too. I also met so many people who were attending for the first time and without fail, everyone said that they would attend again.

It seems that VMware is getting it right!