VMware Explore EMEA – Review and Outlook

VMware Explore 2022 has come to a close. Four days packed with information, conversations and activities. Now it’s time to pause and take a recap of the last few days. I won’t go into technical innovations, products or announcements here. I will write separate technical articles for that and there is also the VMware Explore Video Library with numerous videos including a recording of the General Session and many of the Breakout Sessions. Instead, I would like to go into things that I liked very much and also those that have potential for improvement. Not all points concern VMware itself – in many cases they are things that were good or not so good at the sidelines. Perhaps it will inspire some readers to consider a visit to VMware Explore in the future.

A Plus – VMware Explore 2022 on site in Barcelona

The fact that after two cancelled VMworlds (yes, World) an on-site event took place again is a big plus. No matter who I asked in the last few days – everyone was tired of the virtual meetings and was looking forward to the personal contact. From this perspective, VMware-Explore 2022 was bound to be a success.

A Plus – Public Transport

The Fira is located just outside the city center. So for those who have accommodation in the center, there are twice daily trips by public transport. Barcelona’s metro system is well organized and the trains run at a tight schedule. I rarely had to wait more than 5 minutes for a connecting train. The tickets are cheap and VMware gave out cards of 10-rides at registration. But you have to ask for them. Even if you buy a 10-rides ticket for the Barcelona city area yourself, it currently costs less than €8. This has even become a little cheaper compared to 2019.

The transfer to and from the airport is also cheap and reliable. A special airport bus runs at short intervals between the terminal and the city center (Placa Espana and Placa Catalunya). Pro tip: Buy a return ticket straight away, it’s cheaper.

Attention. After midnight, many lines close down. So night owls should have some cash ready for a cab, or plan a long walk to the hotel.

Blogger Program with Potential for Improvement

There were only 15 blogger passes in total, which is very few if seen in terms of the entire EMEA region. This also hit some of my fellow bloggers who had been providing excellent VMworld contributions for many years in a row and now surprisingly missed out.

At this point I would like to thank Elisabeth Kefal, who included me in the official program in the follow-up.

To clarify, this is not a full travel package. All bloggers always finance flight and accommodation on their own. Only the admission pass to the VMware Explore is sponsored by VMware. So costs can only have played a minor role.

After all, it’s the bloggers who have a deep reach into the community in their respective countries and beyond. I don’t like the word “influencer,” but it does come pretty close to the role of tech bloggers. Let’s call them “community networkers.” They are mostly the same people who are active in the VMware User Group (VMUG) and maintain close contact with the user base there.

The current practice should be reconsidered here. Instead, it would be nice to prioritize inviting bloggers in the future who are not only seasonally active during the 4 days of VMware-Explore, but who keep the community together all year round and constantly deliver valuable content.

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VMware-Explore EMEA is back

It was almost exactly three years ago that IT experts from all over the world met in Barcelona for the VMware IT trade fair, which was then still called VMworld. Due to the pandemic, the following events in 2020 and 2021 had to be canceled and held virtually instead. Certainly an alternative in times of emergency, but no substitute for the on-site event. Lectures and presentations are only a small aspect. Much more important, on the other hand, is personal contact and networking.

Fira Gran Via Barcelona

VMworld is now VMware Explore

This year’s event is a new beginning in many aspects. The rebranding may be subject to controversy. VMworld was a constant term within the community and many are still having a hard time with the new brand. That VMware-Explore is a new beginning can also be seen in the visitor numbers. While there were more than 12,000 visitors in Barcelona in 2019, the organizers expected only about half that figure in 2022. Also from the experience from the North America event in San Francisco which remained far below expectations. Surprisingly, demand in the EMEA region is high and instead of around 6,000 estimated attendees, there are over 7,500, not including VMware employees.

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VMware vSphere 8 is GA !

Waiting is over. Fire up your download engines and get VMware vSphere8 binaries.

The wait has been rewarded. After the announcement at VMware Explore 2022 in North America, the installer files are now available on the VMware Portal (login required).

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