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2012 Austin Regional VMUG Recap -- Educational and a Blast!

Once again, hats off to our Austin VMUG Leader Gus Chavira and the VMware corporate VMUG organizers for putting on a great show here in Austin, TX with the first ever Austin Regional VMUG event on March 15, 2012.  And a special thank you to the sponsors of the event, without whom these events would never happen. 

Unlike our normal quarterly Austin VMUG meetings that have been taking place at the Alamo Drafthouse, this regional event took place at the downtown Hyatt.  And instead of being a few short hours, this regional event was an all day affair.  If you haven't been to a Regional VMUG event yet, you should try to attend one in your area.  These free events are considered a mini-VMworld style event, pulling larger crowds in from surrounding cities, offering keynote presentations and technical deep dive breakout sessions, and even hands-on labs -- you know, those things you never seem to get into at VMworld these days!

Some interesting VMUG facts were given.  VMUG now has more than 75,000 individual members, an active online community, over 180 local chapters and 30+ regional events around the globe.  This community of users has really come a long way.

A few of the highlights from this event included:

  • 9 VMware educational sessions
  • 12 partner educational tracks
  • Over 40 VMware partners exhibiting
  • And surprisingly, EMC hands-on labs

  

After Gus and the VMware team kicked things off, security vendor Trend Micro took the stage to deliver a very informative keynote presentation titled, "Security at Every Stage: Trend Micro, VMware and Your Journey to the Cloud."  It's nice to finally see something come out of the security discussions we've been hearing from VMware since, what was it, 2008 when VMware announced VMsafe?  Of course, that was scrapped in favor of what is now called vShield, and this time you can buy it and implement it into your VMware environment.  All I can say after that presentation was, WOW!  Awesome stuff on the security front.  Trend Micro said there were already over a 1000 customers using it, and I have to say, their presentation was pretty convincing.  If you have a data center environment and are currently installing some type of Anti-Virus solution into your virtual machines, you might consider looking into this technology.  Take the Anti-Virus out of the VM and instead let the host server, hypervisor, do the work.  Plenty of benefits... anyone using it in their environment?

After the keynote, it was education time with breakouts, labs, networking and visiting with the event sponsors in the expo hall.  Yes, everything is much smaller and jam packed into a single day, and it's sort of like VMworld speed dating... but it works!  I attended a couple of breakout sessions that I thought were very well done.  During VMworld, things get a bit crazy with the lines and trying to find a seat amongst 15,000 of your closest friends.  So this was a nice treat.

As I said, there were more than 40 sponsors of the event, and the expo hall had them lined up from one end to the other.  I got there pretty early, so I was watching and chatting with some of them while they were setting up.

  

I also had some great conversations with virtualization fan favorite companies like Veeam, VKernel, Xangati and SolarWinds.  And I was able to speak with many of the other great and interesting sponsors in the expo hall as well, folks like Doyenz, Actifio, F5, Double-Take, NextIO, Zert0, Dell and HP to name a few.  So many conversations, so little time!     

  

 

Unfortunately, the crowd was a bit smaller than perhaps expected, but I think that was because of the timing.  The event went head-to-head with one of Austin's biggest attractions, SXSW.  And it was also during our spring break vacation time.  Hopefully this event returns to Austin next year, planned for a different date so that it doesn't have to compete with a heavy weight event that pulls people from around the world.  One other small piece of advice, this is Austin.  If there is a next time, any chance you can offer up breakfast tacos in the AM instead of pastries and some type of BBQ for lunch instead of cold cuts?  I know hot foods are more difficult, but for the 40+ sponsors visiting, it might be nice to have some local food favorites offered up to get a flavor of Austin, TX.  Just saying.  

Thanks again to Gus and the VMware team for pulling this event together.  And a special thanks to the VMUG members who drove in from San Antonio and the Houston area.  It's always great to see fellow Texan VMUG members.

If you're a virtualization user in the Austin area, please make sure to sign up for the Austin VMUG.  We'd love to have more folks show up every quarter at our local meetings -- you won't be sorry.  And you can also find out more information about this and other VMUGs at www.myvmug.org or by following @myvmug on Twitter.

Published Friday, March 16, 2012 6:01 PM by David Marshall
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