News/Trends, Tech/Engineering

VMworld 2017 — The Off-Road Preview

That’s right, this is not the usual VMworld preview! This event is about getting you hyper-connected to the community, getting you out of the sessions as much as possible to join the “Hallway track,” and finding resources that you may not have ever heard of or experienced.

It’s All About the People

There is a beehive of VMware user community activity around the show as over 23,000 people descend on Las Vegas and are all in one place at one time. It’s all about the people…people, so take advantage of this amazing opportunity to meet with others face to face. Exchange ideas, swap solutions, laugh, eat, and drink (but not too much). What other opportunity do you have to get access to this many people across this many companies and talk tech one-on-one? You can see the official VMworld Gathering List for the Off-Road events.


  • Don’t load yourself up with wall-to-wall sessions — you’ll burn out.
  • Attend the sessions that are most crucial to your business, and watch the others online after the event.
  • Make sure to give yourself enough time to walk the show floor (aka the Solutions Exchange), visit the various booths, and meet the people who make the technology happen.
  • Go to the hands-on labs (110 this year) to collaborate with experts, get sneak peeks, and learn for free.
  • Schedule some time to relax your brain and process what you’ve seen.
  • A great resource to check out before you go is the VMUG VMworld orientation webinar.
  • Here is VMworld venue map for the Mandalay Bay.

Get Your Community On

So where do you go? What do you do? How do you meet all of these fantastic and interesting people and engage with them? Don’t be shy, they’re not that hard to find, and they don’t bite.


The VMvillage is the best place in the entire conference to get away from the sessions, rest, and connect with others. This year, there will be a loop walkway that runs you through every part of the village, so you can easily see it all. Here are some of the highlights:

  • Social media “Hang Space”
    • You’ll find your favorite bloggers, podcasters, and social media personalities here.
  • vBrownBag stage
    • Watch people live on stage as they do the tech talks that are streamed on the vBrownBag website
  • TheCUBE broadcast studio
    • The whole studio is built here and hosts interviews with leaders from all types of companies, including the top execs from VMware.
  • Podcasting booths
    • For the first time in the VMworld conference history, there will be two fully enclosed podcast booths where you can watch your favorite podcasters in action.
  • The “fun zone” (not the official name) 
    • Video games, physical games, food, fun, and chill areas are what this place is all about.


  • Eat meals here — There is no line and there are interesting places to sit and eat.
  • Swag at the blogger zone — The blogger table in the social media area has some great swag left by podcasts, vendors etc at the table specifically for people at the show.
  • Watch the general sessions on the big screen You get a front-row seat and a comfortable chair and skip the fight in and out.

Outside the Main VMworld Conference Center

Lots of things happen outside of the Mandalay Bay conference center during the VMworld conference. Here are some that you might want to check out:


This event takes place the Sunday before the U.S. VMworld show starts. SInce it’s inception 9 years ago, VMunderground’s “Opening Acts” has grown into the biggest community-organized activity at VMworld. It’s a great way to hear from expert panels in an informal setting, start talking with others about what they’re doing with the technology and relax after a long day of travel. For more information, see


This is like a network-architect sub-conference within the VMworld conference. Future:NET is being held at the Four Seasons hotel in Las Vegas this year from Wednesday, August30, to Thursday, August 31, and hosted by VMworld. Network architects who are interested in attending future:net can get a free pass by requesting an invite and get some amazing network-focused content from leaders across different industries, including highlights from their digital journeys and the current state of their networking solutions.


During the 2007 and 2008 VMworld conferences, Crystal Lowe discovered that she was not the only one who found herself alone while her spouse, Scott Lowe, was working at the conference — so she came upwith Spousetivities. Since 2008, Spousetivities has organized events for spouses, significant others, families, parents, siblings, or whoever joins the conference participants. For more information, see

After Hours

In addition to the “official” VMworld conference events, there are lots of opportunities to connect with people and really get to know them better. Check out the full VMworld party list to register.

The vTrail Map

The 2017 VMware User “vTrail Map” was created as a result of the Level Up project. Members of the technology community from all over the world have contributed to this guide, providing the information and assets you need to “level up” your skills an d advance your career in the tech field. The guide features both physical and virtual resources that can help you progress on your VMware virtualization career journey — and ultimately discover more.

How to Get a vTrail Map         

  • Attend the 2017 VMworld conference in Las Vegas
    • Printed copies of the vTrail Map will be exclusively available to those attending the 2017 VMworld conference in Las Vegas
  • An eBook version of this guide will also be available as of September 1st
    • Send an email to to request one.
      VMworld Preview Podcast

In the latest episode of the SOCK(net) podcast, Tony and I are joined by the illustrious Keith Townsend (@CTOadvisor), who reveals his VMworld secrets.