By Craig Bramley, Solutions Architect at SCC
I was a newbie when it came to VMworld events, and after hearing all the positive feedback from colleagues who have attended these events in the past, I was intrigued to say the least.
So, when I was approached to provide a blog post on my personal experiences at the 2015 European VMworld event held in Barcelona, as you can imagine, I jumped at the chance.
Hopefully, the following paragraphs will give you an insight into VMworld events if you haven’t attended them before, as well as provide a few helpful pointers.
For attendees flying into Barcelona, there is a shuttle service to the venue. This is extremely handy. A good tip is to look out for the VMworld signs which are held by VMworld staff. They are not easy to spot, and they can be some distance from the arrivals exit, so don’t despair if you don’t immediately see them, keep walking and looking. Bear in mind that no shuttle service is offered from the hotels, so make sure that taxi fares are accounted for. If you are OK on the Metro, then you can collect a free Metro pass from the information desk at the venue which gives you 10 trips – I found this extremely useful because the queues for the taxis can be absolutely gigantic.
The food was amazing, I can’t comment on previous years but everyone I spoke to agreed that the food was great, and much improved on past events. There are large food halls, and food stalls located around the venue, serving many different types of food which I imagine caters for everyone, which is a good thing when attendees are attending from 88 different countries. There are seating areas, but if you can’t locate a table or chair (expected when there are +25000 attendees), just ask to sit at an occupied table, if there is space, people are welcoming and it won’t be a problem. If there isn’t space, don’t worry too much, as you tend to find people are happy to hang around and relax in the hallways, networking with fellow attendees while grabbing a bite to eat. In fact, I met quite a few new people while standing around eating.
I made a huge mistake. That mistake was to assume that my mobile phone would work in Spain. I have the correct plan at the end of the day, it says it will work, so it should right? Wrong! I didn’t realise that I had to call my provider prior to travelling for them to unlock my international outgoing calls, which requires a provider code to do so. So now, I am in Barcelona and in order to make calls I need to make a call?? I can’t even call the provider, as my phone can’t make calls! Strange process, but something to be aware of. It is always the little things that we overlook at the end of the day.
At the venue, there is Wi-Fi throughout, but bear in mind you are one of +25,000 attendees, all trying to log on and browse. This can only lead to one thing, intermittent performance. So if internet access is absolutely critical on your visit, bear this in mind too.
Fellow VMworlder Craig Kilborn, beating me at pool, 3 times
One of the outdoor hang out areas
The indoor hang space with pool tables and table tennis tables
VMworld staff are a plenty, you’ll see them in their recognisable VMworld T-Shirts, so don’t panic if you get lost or confused, you can either ask one of them for assistance, or use the many maps and information boards – I did ask (against my male instinct) as the maps can be confusing.
Map and information board showing session times
Once you are inside the venue, there are various halls, breakout areas, your mind will be literally boggled by all the big screens and bright lights. Luckily I had veteran VMworlders with me, but if you haven’t, I imagine that it can be a little overwhelming. Again, just ask if you aren’t sure.
Find out more about Craig’s experience of VMworld 2015 in part two of his series.