VMworld is VMware’s annual virtualization conference that is held in both the United States and Europe. Each year thousands of users attend to learn and network with fellow VMware users, vendors, customers and employees. There are multiple tracks and over 200 sessions to choose from during the 4-day long conference. This year there will be seven tracks that will focus on the following areas:
o Virtualizing the Desktop
o Building Business Continuity & Disaster Recovery
o Exploring Technology & Architecture
o Planning & Operations in the Datacenter
o Automating the Virtual Datacenter
o Running Enterprise Applications in Virtual Machines
o Virtualization 101
So how do you justify the expense of the conference in addition to travel and lodging expenses to your boss? Here’s some information to help you make a case for attending.
Most IT shops have training budgets for their staff to attend either online or classroom training each year. A typical one week classroom training course is around $3,000; VMware’s Deploy, Secure and Analyze training course alone is $3,295. The cost for conference registration will vary based on when you register it is $1,495 until July 11th, $1,745 from July 12 to September 13, 2008 and $1,895 onsite. Airfare will typically run between $300 – $500, hotels are anywhere from $50 – $120 a night in Vegas depending on how fancy a place you want to stay in.
So the total cost to attend would be approximately $2,500. This would be either comparable or cheaper then most one week training classes. You will also get way more bang for your buck by attending VMworld then you would by going to a VMware training class. There are so many great sessions available and you can customize what you want to see and learn about. Show your boss the great sessions that are available, many may cover a specific pain point in your company (i.e. disaster recovery).
Many conferences are seen as more of a social event, yes it is in Vegas and you could easily get distracted but VMworld is a very intensive training and networking conference. You will get out of it what you put into it, the potential is there to learn a huge amount of knowledge from the sessions, gain experience from the labs that are available, share experiences with other users and to meet with vendors to look at their products that may fit a need at your company. Offer to do a write-up on the conference and share the information and experience that you gained in VMworld with other users in your company. You might even try and convince your boss to also attend, there are many sessions that are suited specifically for management instead of administrators.
There are also many VMware engineers that attend the conference; VMworld is a good opportunity to get close to the people that have designed and developed the software and discuss any particular issues, questions or problems that you may have in your environment. In addition the training doesn’t end when VMworld ends, with the large amount of sessions available (200+) it’s usually impossible to see all the ones that you want to in only four days. VMworld attendees are given a login to a site that has all the slides and audio from all the presentations so they can view all the sessions after VMworld is over. VMware no longer releases all the sessions to the general public right after Vmworld ends. Last year they released a very small amount of sessions and then released a few more each month.
So there are many good reasons that you should attend, hopefully you can make the case with your boss to go this year. If you do attend I look forward to seeing you there!