Featured image of post VMware Explore 2024 is Right Around the Corner

VMware Explore 2024 is Right Around the Corner

It is that time of year again, Summer is starting to show up, everyone is shocked half the year is over already, and VMware Explore is right around the corner. It has been quite a while since I last sat down to write a blog entry, and while quite a bit has changed for me both personally and professionally in 4 years, I still look forward to VMware Explore every year.

Before I get too far, let me leave some important links to learn more about VMware Explore 2024, which takes place at The Venetian Convention and Expo Center in Las Vegas, August 26-29.

  1. VMware Explore Official Site and Registration: https://shorturl.at/svCJM
  2. VMware Explore LinkedIn Group: https://www.linkedin.com/groups/2028037
  3. Convince your manager letter template: https://www.vmware.com/explore/us/attend/pricing (link near the top of the page)

I feel that this year will be an especially interesting year to attend. With the acquisition of VMware by Broadcom being the start to about every IT worker’s year, all eyes will be on the keynote stage to get a look into what the future holds. While we can assume “AI” will be another big focus this year, and even though I have my guesses at what could be announced, the product announcements, while interesting, are only one reason VMware Explore is easily my favorite conference.

Community, Community, Community

My favorite part of VMware Explore is absolutely being able to meet up with other members of the community in person. Last year was my first year attending as a member of Tanzu Vanguard, which was an additional group of amazing people I got to meet for the first time, and that is on top of meeting up with fellow members of the vExpert program and of course from various VMUG chapters. This year will be the first year I will be attending as a VMUG Leader as well, so I am extremely excited to meet up with that group as well.

If you are attending for your first time or have been in the past but filled your scheduled back-to-back with sessions, I strongly recommend blocking off time and spend some time in The Hub or other parts of the convention center talking to your fellow attendees. Most sessions are recorded and can be watched after you get home from the conference, but you will only have the 4 days of Explore to talk and learn from others in attendance.

Don’t Sleep on the Hands-on Labs

Yes, I know you can access the Hands-on Labs at home, and while I do not necessarily recommend spending all your time in the HoL area for that reason, there are plenty of reasons to check them out. I personally am hoping to see that the Odyssey Tournament is coming back for 2024. This is a Timed, Skill-based challenge where you compete directly against your peers for a chance to make it to the final round and compete for some awesome prizes. I got to take place in 2022 and 2024 made it to the final round both times, and even took home second place in 2022.

Besides Odyssey, there are self-paced, and instructor led labs with their own daily prize drawings if you remember to check in and follow the directions for the day. You can also get a tour of what it takes to run that many labs during the conference which is super interesting to see. There are also typically a variety of new HoL that release at Explore first before being available online. So, make sure to look up any product you may have thought about looking at and see what labs are available.

Keynotes and Sessions

Of course, you still should make time for checking out the Keynotes and Sessions. Personally, I find grabbing a giant beanbag in The Hub the perfect way to start the Day while watching the Keynote event. No matter how many things may be rumored before the conference VMware always has an ace up their sleeve to announce. For sessions, I try to find sessions at least ‘Technical 200’ or higher for things I am less experienced with and/or are likely to have an unfamiliar perspective.

Some of my favorite session types are the Community Theater and {code} sessions that typically take place in or near The Hub. These are typically faster sessions on extremely focused topics and often will dive very deep into their topic (well as deep as the time limit allows). I even got to check another first off, my list last year when I gave my first {code} sessions talk along with fellow VMUG leader and former co-worker Russ Hamker. It was a nerve-racking experience leading up to and during the talk but once it was over, I knew I needed to find a topic for 2024. As it turns out, another talk of mine was accepted for the {code} sessions this year, so keep an eye on the Content Catalog for the When and Where.

Recharge Your Professional Batteries

As a VERY introverted person, it caught me off guard when I attended my first VMworld in 2017 and despite the crowds of people I felt re-energized from spending those few days among like-minded people and learning about new and upcoming technologies. I soon realized that everyone just needs to be able to step away from the normal day to day of their job and get some motivation and innovative ideas to bring back with you.

See You There

If any of that sounds interesting to you, talk to your manager about going and what benefits it would have for you and what you could bring back to help the team. Just remember, Early Bird pricing ends on June 11th so the earlier you register the less the total cost you will need reimbursed.

Oh, and almost forgot… the vendor run parties and meals you can find and sign up for are a wonderful way to unwind once the conference ends each day. :)

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