Virtualization Technology News and Information
#VMworld 2021 Q&A: An Exclusive Inside Look as VMware Raises the Curtain and Provides Details Ahead of the Show

VMworld 2021 QA 

The world's largest combined virtualization and cloud computing event, VMworld, is coming up fast!  This year, the show returns to an all digital format, and it takes place October 5-7, 2021. 

This event is always jam packed with incredible information coming out of the keynote presentations as well as their huge number of breakout sessions.  All online, all viewed from the comfort of your own chair, sofa, bed, beanbag, etc.

To find out more ahead of the show, VMblog spoke with VMware to dig in a little deeper as we prepare for VMware's premiere convention.

VMblog: Looks like the pandemic has struck again, keeping VMware enthusiasts at bay from attending their favorite annual event, VMworld, live and in person.  The show was all digital last year as well.  What, if anything, did you learn about going from physical to online last year that you've implemented this year?

VMware:  At last year's digital event, we welcomed over 100,000 attendees from 180 countries, a huge increase in the number of attendees we typically see at our in-person events. This certainly presented a new set of challenges in rethinking how attendees would get the same engaging and interactive experience as in-person, but it also enabled us to engage with thousands of new attendees and grow our VMware community. We listened to attendee feedback and doubled down on improving our content for an even better and bigger VMworld 2021. This year, expect more chances to engage with experts with Meet the Expert sessions and Tech+ Tutorials, interactive technical content, and the return of a few popular programs including, VMware Design Studio and VMware {code}.

VMblog:  What's the theme for this year's VMworld event?  And why?

VMware:  The theme for this year's event, "Imagine That," encapsulates the diverse opportunities that VMworld 2021 offers attendees to learn and connect. VMworld is the epicenter of industry conversations on innovative solutions - from virtualization at its outset to multi-cloud today. With over 1000 sessions, hands-on labs and demos, live Q&As, workshops, and more, we hope to inspire attendees to imagine the possibilities for addressing their technology challenges and accelerating innovation.

VMblog:  What are you most excited about in preparing for this event?

VMware:  We are all eagerly anticipating reuniting and connecting with our fellow industry peers from around the world to exchange ideas and solutions. The past couple of years accelerated the shift to digital, so we're excited to go deep into areas such as cloud infrastructure and management, app development, edge, and security - as well as on emerging trends and the future of technology. We can't wait for attendees to experience this year's lineup of speakers, community and networking activities, interactive hands-on labs, and more. In addition, Raghu Raghuram was named VMware CEO earlier this year, so we're excited to see Raghu take the stage and discuss his vision for VMware and have attendees meet with him in his new role.

VMblog: Are you hopeful that VMworld 2022 will be a physical event next year?  And if so, would you plan to continue offering a free online version to coincide with the physical?

VMware:  We are hopeful we will be able to return to an in-person format next year. At the same time, after the success of our online event, we'll have to consider how to combine the best parts of the digital experience, such as broader access and convenience, with the aspects that we miss from in-person events. Ultimately, we will move forward with a model that supports the most valuable, unique, and rewarding experience for attendees.

VMblog:  Without asking you to give too much away, can you talk about what plans you have for the keynotes this year?  What are some of the hot topics that you plan to cover?

VMware:  VMware executives, industry leaders and best-in-field knowledge experts will dive into key areas including app modernization, managing the cloud, supporting an anywhere workspace, multi-cloud and accelerating IT modernization.

VMblog:  Are there any breakout sessions that you want to shine an extra spotlight on that you think attendees should give some extra attention to when scheduling?

VMware:  This year we're looking forward to welcoming a wide range of tech luminaries to participate in our VMworld 2021 program. We're also excited to have attendees tune into talks with thought-leaders and luminaries like Michael J. Fox, Dr. Moogega Cooper, Mick Ebeling, Robin Arzón and Will Smith for a dose of inspiration and entertainment.

Finally, we've expanded the number of Solutions Keynotes this year in order to provide additional top-level, visionary content to our global attendees. The first three sessions after our VMworld general session can't be missed!

VMblog:  Physical or digital, VMware has been able to pull off hands-on-labs for the last few years, and they are always highly attended to the point of quickly closing out with folks pre-scheduling them.  Have you done anything different this year with those lab sessions?  Are there more than usual?  Which labs do you expect to be the biggest draws?  Are there any new labs of note?

VMware:  The Hands-on Labs team has made some fantastic updates to our offering this year. In 2020, attendees told us they were missing the interaction with the lab experts that they enjoy at the in-person VMworld, so this year we have extended our workshops from one hour to two to accommodate more lab time.  Sessions now include 90 minutes of lab instruction and 30 minutes of dedicated time to chat with the product experts. The Guided Workshop user experience has also been refreshed and updated based on user feedback, and we are sure attendees will love the new look and feel.  Finally, we have added the gamification elements of Odyssey to five of the workshop labs, so attendees can test out their skills and see where they rank on the global leaderboard.

Many of attendees' favorite labs are refreshed and available for the first time at VMworld, as well as some new favorites, including new content for VMware Tanzu targeted to our developer audience.  We are also bringing the Guided Workshops to the APJ region for the first time this year with four dedicated Guided Workshop sessions.

Also new this year, are the On-demand Workshops, these workshops contain similar content to what is available in the live Guided Workshops, offered in a pre-recorded format and available on demand for all General Passholders.

The Odyssey Tournament returns with a new always-on format that is open to all Tech+ passholders and some very cool prizes. A cumulative leaderboard ranks your play across five different labs against the rest of the world...take all five labs for the greatest chance to win! If you haven't bought your passes yet, enter for a chance to win 1 of 20 Tech+ passes the Hands-on Labs team is giving away.

VMblog:  Can you talk about what new trends are happening in the industry that people should be aware of?

VMware:  Moving towards a post-pandemic future, IT leaders will need to rely on technology and partnerships to accelerate modernization initiatives and ensure their businesses are built for resilience. Multi-cloud, app modernization, security, 5G, future of work - these are all areas that should be top of mind for leaders. VMworld is a roadmap to tackling today's IT challenges and a great place for leaders to learn how VMware can help solve their challenges. Whether it's learning how Zoom deployed high-definition videoconferencing for a hybrid workforce, or it's understanding how BMW is setting new standards in virtual factory planning, VMworld 2021 is featuring its customers front and center so you can learn from the best.

VMblog:  Growing up in the 80's, one interesting session that jumped out at me was a fireside chat with Michael J. Fox.  Can you give more details about that?

VMware:  We're excited to host Emmy-award-winning actor, author and patient advocate Michael J. Fox at VMworld this year.  Michael will sit down with VMware's Chief Marketing Officer, Carol Carpenter, to discuss his life and passion for helping find a cure for Parkinson's and how optimism and innovative thinking can lead to a brighter future in life and business.

VMblog:  This year's VMworld event is again free to register and attend.  Are there any paid for components that people should consider adding on to their registration?  What do they provide?

VMware:  Attendees can register for a complimentary general pass or a Tech+ Pass. The general pass will provide access to 900+ on-demand VMworld sessions. Attendees will also have access to keynotes and scheduled sessions, hands-on labs, and the VMware and Sponsor Demo Zones. The Tech+ Pass will include everything in the general pass, plus:

  • VMware guided Hands-on Labs
  • Interactive Meet the Experts sessions with live Q&A
  • One-on-one expert consultations with VMware Global Support experts
  • VMware led Tech+ Tutorials
  • VMware OdysseyTM by Hands-on Labs Challenge
  • Discounts on experiences throughout the conference and more

VMblog:  Will sessions be recorded and made available to all attendees after the show? 

VMware:  Yes, the general session, breakout sessions and Solutions Keynotes will be available to all attendees after the event in our VMworld on-demand library.

VMblog:  Lastly, beyond educational, VMworld always finds a way to bring the fun and entertainment to its attendees.  I know it's online and virtual this year, but what do you have planned to keep folks entertained over the course of the event?

VMware:  We've packed even more engagement and fun into this year's sessions. In addition to learning about innovative new technology solutions, attendees will have the opportunity to participate in Odyssey, where attendees can put the skills they've gained over the course of hands-on labs and workshops to the test using VMware's Odyssey gaming platform. We're also excited to bring back a new and improved VMworld Challenge with lots more opportunities to win great prizes like the VMworld 2021 limited edition backpack and VMworld t-shirt.. Of course, we'll also reprise some of our virtual social activities at VMworld 2021, offering attendees access to a number of fun experiences - like mixology and cooking classes, golf tips and tricks from the PGA Tour, poker lessons, and more - throughout the conference.  This year, we've also added a Slack Channel where we can all connect and talk about everything tech.


Published Friday, September 24, 2021 7:36 AM by David Marshall
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