It’s VMworld time again in Barcelona and I am here to meet all my like-minded colleagues. For many people, VMworld in Barcelona starts a little earlier; on Sunday with the vRockStar Party. This party is organised by Patrick Redknap and Marco Broeken (with other volunteers) and has now become a tradition and its popularity is only increasing. One can judge by the fact that the tickets sell out within a couple of minutes of becoming available.

vRockStar Party is also the first chance to meet everyone, chat and have a drink or two. The venue was different this time so felt a little awkward to start with but when the chats started, it was all back to normal. As always, it was a great. Many thanks to the sponsors too as they make it all possible.   Great start to VMworld, I’d say!

Monday is Partner/TAM day, however, it’s a great day to do an exam. I think it’s the best day to do it because once VMworld and the parties start, tiredness takes over and that’s not good for an exam. I am not taking any exams this time but I would highly-recommend taking the opportunity to take an exam as it costs half as much and the facilities are much better than typical test centers.

Even if you are not taking an exam, it’s still a good idea to go to the venue as it’s a good day to trying out Hands-On Labs, meet other attendees, or just to memorise where all the sections are. Just remember that if you’re not a Partner/TAM (or Alumni), food and drink won’t be available to you so take suitable refreshments with you.

I spent most of the day at VMTN Community area, which is also doubling as the blogger’s area. That’s what I or other bloggers typically do at VMworld i.e. if not in a session or at Solutions Exchange. As always, met new and old friends. I also got to know about the new initiatives that VMware is introducing to have more interaction with bloggers and dissemination of information etc. If you are a blogger, you must talk to Elsa Mayer or Katie Bradley and get yourself registered. Trust me, there are things that you will be very interested in.

Monday was also VMworld Hackathon day, arranged by William Lam, Alan Renouf and VMware Code. This is a fairly new event but is all about getting together to have food, drink and chat but also at the same time, develop something new and learn something. One does not have to be a coder in order to attend and is lots of fun. There are teams that work on their concepts and do a short presentation at the end. There are prizes for the top three teams but also spot prizes for other star participants.

This is one event you don’t want to miss so make sure you’re are in it next year and book early, unlike me, who booked at literally the last minute (as luckily, some seats became available). However, still managed to join a team and participate. I’d recommend you attend next year too!

Then came Tuesday and Day 1 of VMworld. Morning was all about the mad dash to vBreakfast – another great early morning meetup happening near the venue and going for the last few years. It’s gaining popularity and was even sponsored this time. I hope it continues like that and more sponsors join in as the more chances one gets to meet, the better!

As VMworld US happened a few weeks ago, the general session was mostly a repeat of what was said in the US version. However, there were announcements regarding new versions of VIC (VMware Integrated Containers), VIO (VMware Integrated OpenStack) and HCX Technologies for IBM Cloud and OVH etc.

The best thing about the keynote for me was I think one of the coolest demos ever presented at VMworld. Alan Renouf presented a VR-Powered Cloud Management demo with Pat Gelsinger as a SysAdmin of his “Virtual Virtual Datacenter”. Very Minority Report but cooler, I think!

Rest of the day was all about attending my booked sessions related to VMware on AWS – something that I am very interested in, doing a quick Pop Up TechTalk and preparing for a very special podcast that the OpenTechCast team had arranged with a very special speaker: Pat Gelsinger.  It was a blast having a chat with him about all sorts of things i.e. his life, gender equality, culture within VMware and more.

If you haven’t listened to it yet, you must download OpenTechCast EP6: Life, technology and everything with Pat Gelsinger and let us know of your thoughts.

After some scary moments post-interview, I rushed to attend the vExperts Party. It was quite busy on the roads and Corey arranged it in the most remote part of Barcelona, so it was quite fun getting to the venue. Once there, however, it was great fun as always. Venue was great and good atmosphere for a relaxing chat with fellow vExperts.

Then it was time to go back to the hotel as we had to finalize the podcast. Besides, I needed to recover a little after a hectic few days. Hopefully, with some sleep, I should be energized again for Day 2!