VMware Explore US 2022 Experience

I had a blast at VMware Explore US. There was a lot to do in a few days, especially with the event being one day shorter compared to past events. Registration went smoothly and good that materials pickup was now located directly by registration. The welcome reception and hall crawl were fun. This allowed more time to be spent in the expo area. The official party was at the Chase Center with great food which was a huge step up for the venue and food compared to VMworld 2019. This was some of the fun parts and now let’s dive into the meat of the event.

vSphere 8 and vSAN 8 were announced. I was glad to see VMware’s core products had announcements on stage during the general session. It’s been years since this has happened. I will write another article that goes into these new product versions. VMware Aria was also announced on stage. The Aria family includes familiar names, such as CloudHealth, Operations, Log Insight, Network Insight, and Automation. This is more than a rebranding and will offer a unified platform for cloud management called Aria Hub. There are also new solutions with Aria: Guardrails, Migration, and Business Insights.

There were many informative sessions. I stuck to my plan that I did the previous event with attending TAM sessions, which are not recorded and under a NDA so I will note some other sessions. Ariel Sanchez delivered the best presentation I heard during the event. He covered upgrading from vSphere 6.7 to vSphere 7.0 U3 and it’s all detailed in a GitHub repository of his. Session ’10 New and Exciting Things About vSphere That You Absolutely Need to Know’ was scheduled right after the general session. Prior to the event I figured it had to be about announcements in regard to the next major version of vSphere and it was! This was the only session I ever attended that was completely full and had to deny people from entering. vSphere 8 is all about the DPUs (Data Processing Units), aka smart NICs, and referring to Project Monterey. There are a lot of sessions that I will be watching over the next few weeks as there was only so many that I could squeeze in during the event.

I attended a couple of the vRealize Hands-on Labs Expert-led Workshops and learned a lot from them. They quickly filled up registering a head of time, but both of my labs had open seats so worth stopping by if not registered for future reference. Keep in mind these labs are a bigger time commitment and can be done at home. Therefore, you have to make sure it’s something you really want to do at the event and come with questions to ask the experts leading the lab. Computers are provided for these labs. The Hands on Lab course numbers are displayed on the content catalog so you can look them up after the event.

I wanted to spend as much time as I could in the expo to check out the products offered by the various vendors. Be sure to click on the panoramic photo of the expo hall that I have below. There wasn’t as many extravagant booths are previous years, but the products were there to shine and also the swag was generously given out. Cohesity and NetApp were very good to vExperts. Lego sets were the main giveaway for a lot of vendors and Zerto had the biggest of them all with the AT-AT set pictured below and a Millennium Falcon set.

The food was extremely better than the 2019 event. In 2019, there were sandwiches pretty much everyday in huge plastic containers. This time it was a hearty bowl of food three of the four days. There was 2-4 meal options everyday. It was also a lot easier to eat for people with some specific food allergies and mostly served in a compostable bowl. Breakfast was a little better than the past.

I won’t be at VMware Explore Europe in November, but I am eagerly awaiting what VMware will announce next at this event. Then will be interesting to see if there will be any changes to next year’s event with the Broadcom acquisition of VMware. I am exited to see VMware continue to develop it’s multi-cloud strategy and Explore is the place to be to learn it all.