VMware Explore Europe 2022: My Immediate Thoughts

Published by Christian Mohn · Read in about 4 min (797 words)

This week was the return of VMworld, post-pandemicly renamed to VMware Explore, in Europe. As has been the case for several years now, it was held in the Fira Gran Via in Barcelona.

VMware Explore Europe 2022 at the Fira Gran Via in Barcelona

VMware Explore Europe 2022 at the Fira Gran Via in Barcelona

This years theme was Multi Cloud, and going from Cloud Chaos to Cloud Smart, but one of the other main things customers seems focused on in Europe is Sovereign Cloud. I guess this is a bigger focus in Europe than it is in the US, especially since there are different regulations in place here, and many customer span several regions.

Of course, there was other news as well, which I plan on covering in future posts.

The good #

VMware Explore 2022 Badge

VMware Explore 2022 Badge

As far as going back to physical events goes; finally! We have all been waiting for this, and while video and online content is good, nothing beats meeting up in person (perhaps not including “barefoot guy”, who probably should have stayed at home).

People absolutely seem ready for physical events again, the energy and buzz at the venue was fantastic — According to people that also attended the US event, the event was much more up-beat, with more energy and enthusiasm, and the questions both in the sessions and on the Expo floor was of a more technical nature. Way to go Europe!

I also had the chance to have some excellent customer meetings, with VMware representatives, at the event. This is an invaluable resource, and getting customers in front of Program Managers and technical resources from VMware is always a good thing. As I’ve said on many occasions before, this is where I find real value in these events. Meeting my friends in the industry, making new connections, and also introducting my customers to the right people in order to create joint value.

The bad #

That being said, I have a feeling that VMware misjudged the attendance level this year. It may be due to a “hockey stick” growth in attendees, but when you run out of backpacks on Monday (and the conference doesn’t really start until Tuesday), something is off. The same goes for the General Session on Tuesday, when there simply wasn’t enough room to hold everyone who wanted to view it live, even if it was streamed online simultaneously.

The venue seemed undersized for the attendance numbers, while at the same time being almost too large to walk around effectively. The Expo floor was sized well, but the rest was a problem. The hot lunch area was too small, and ineffective. The whole area felt big, but at the same time cramped and off-kilter.

Session rooms were to small too, causing long queues as well as lots of people not getting into the sessions they wanted to attend. Even if some sessions where repeated, some even three times, there were still lines of people trying to get in.

The VMware Communities and {code} area was also undersized, with too few blogger/community tables and chairs, and with the theatre so close, it was almost impossible to have a proper conversation there. Kudos to vBrownbag who had a seemingly endlesss stream of content, but going forward there should probably be more space available in that area.

It was fantastic to be able to actually meet people again, have a quick chat. Some of the people I’ve met this week I haven’t seen in years, and even if we only got a chance to spend 5 minutes talking during the week, it was great being able to do so again.

VMware Explore, now what? #

There are no official numbers yet, at least not that I’ve seen, but rumor has it that 2022 was the year that the European event eclipsed the attendee numbers for the US one. If not, it’s going to be very close.

Details for VMware Explore 2023 has not been announced yet, so we’re all waiting for details on what’s up for 2023. Based on this years event, I can’t envision it going back to virtual only again after this.

Conclusion #

All in all; An awesome event. It was as the good old days where back, meeting people in the flesh again. The energy of the event was great, and I can’t wait until next time! I’ll chaulk all the problems listed above down to attendee numbers being a post-pandemic surprise, and cross my fingers that it will be fixed for future events. After seeing this years event, I’m sure Hock E. Tan and Broadcom has been paying attention as well.

Oh, and I’ve had enough cerveza, jamon and tapas to last, well, just about a year or so.

  • Step Count: 75432
  • Kilometers: 53.3
  • Exhausted: True

Here’s a small video I created at the event #

Post last updated on January 2, 2024: Add author


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