Since Covid-19 has seized its hold on the world, virtual events have become the standard for manufacturers. VMworld, the annual VMware festival, was purely virtual in 2020. Following a successful first edition, VMworld 2021 is once again a digital event in which anyone can take part in keynotes, breakout sessions, hands-on labs, workshops and even one-on-one sessions with consultants.
This year’s virtual edition of VMworld 2021 will be held on 6-7 October 2021. We can already hear you thinking: “Another virtual event?” Last year, all physical events had to go virtual and VMware made quite a success of it, with over 600 sessions that could be attended. Of course, the highlight of this kind of virtual event is the keynotes, where all the latest news is announced.
Fortunately, VMware has taken into account the fact that its participants are located around the world during VMworld 2021, comments Thierry Vandenberghe, Technical Consultant at Tech Data. “The programme is tailored to three time zones: America, Europe and Asia. And that’s a good thing, because few are interested in attending a live virtual event that starts at 6 pm our time.”
The daily programme runs from 10 am to 4 pm. During the morning of the first day VMworld kicks off with the keynote, communicating VMware’s most important announcements of the year.The afternoon then marks the kick-off of the over 600 sessions to be held over the two days of the event.
Keynotes and sessions
To give participants the sense of a live event as much as possible, there is also a virtual exhibition that can be ‘explored’ digitally. “Interesting booths can be found on the map and you can chat by video if you want more information,” says Thierry with enthusiasm. “Obviously, it’s not the same thing as a traditional physical event, but they did a really nice job last year. I expect this year’s edition to also offer an impressive virtual experience.”
Keynotes are often the highlight of an event, but those interested in specific aspects of VMware or those who who simply want more general information also have plenty of options. The traditional breakout sessions come in three flavours:
- 20-minute pre-recorded sessions with live Q&A
- 25-minute live sessions via Zoom webinars
- 45 to 60-minute pre-recorded sessions upon request throughout the event
Those interested in learning more about the specifics can join the Meet the Experts sessions. During these 15-minute sessions, small groups can chat with VMware experts. Another possibility are 30-minute one-on-one sessions with consultants where you can ask specific product questions. You can also direct any and all questions about VMware to Tech Data.
The most dynamic sessions are the Hands-on Labs, which come in two flavours: interactive simulations and guided workshops. The simulations are pre-recorded step-by-step simulations of products, while the guided workshops take place in a live setting with an expert explaining everything.
Those who register can easily put together their own programme of sessions in order to maintain a good overview. You receive automatic notifications when a session starts and can rewatch everything laterat your own pace. VMware has a very strong focus on the following important topics:
- Vision and innovation
- App modernisation
- End user services
These topics help guide you through the sessions, so you can easily choose those of most interest to you. Those with a bit more time on their hands can plow through the entire catalogue, filled with topics like Kubernetes, DevSecOps, AI, HPC, Zero Trust Security, Security Operations Center, WAN Edge and 5G. You can also search by product name if you are interested in more specific information.
Pros and cons of a digital set-up
Thierry sees both advantages and disadvantages to a virtual version of VMworld. “The most important advantage is that anyone can register to attend the virtual VMworld without having to worry about the costs of travel and admission. This translates into a very wide reach, which is great news for VMware.” But he also points out that a digital set-up has a number of disadvantages. “With With a physical event, we can meet with our partners in person during the event, allowing us to connect and network.
As mentioned above, VMworld 2021 is free of charge for all participants, but VMworld is also offering a Tech+ Pass for 299 dollars. This pass offers greater live interactivity, including guided workshops, one-on-one sessions and technical tutorials in which VMware experts offer help and follow-up. Those interested in the live interactive sessions and who are considering a Tech+ Pass should not wait too long because the live sessions have limited capacity and are on a first come, first served basis.