But for many VMworld 2010 attendees, the networking events and social activities are the best part of the conference, because they give IT admins and systems engineers the chance to discuss real-world problems and solutions with their peers.
That seems to be the case for some members of our Server Virtualization Advisory Board, who answered this question:
What are you most looking forward to at VMworld 2010?
Greg Shields, Concentrated Technology
Three words: the expo hall. Why? That's where I expect to see the real action at this year's VMworld.
Think about it: VSphere 4.1 is out. View 4.5 will likely get some announcement. VMware will assuredly reinforce the moving target that has been its cloud vision. There will be days of breakout sessions on best practices and installing things and building a better whatever.
But it's on the floor of the expo hall where you get to see the really interesting technologies at work. These are the technologies that won't make front-page news, but that you absolutely need to build a better virtual environment.
What neat new modular, virtual hardware has Hewlett-Packard cooked up? With the rumors of Vizioncore finally being folded into Quest Software, how will it impact their product portfolio? What ridiculously useful performance- or capacity-management feature will we see out of Netuitive or vKernel or Neptuny?
It's in the expo hall where you'll find me, because it's in the expo hall where the future of virtualization truly resides.
Eric Siebert, Boston Market
I can sum up what I most look forward to at VMworld in one word: networking. VMworld is all about networking with bloggers, VMware employees, vendors and other end users. I deal with these people a lot via social media, but Twitter limits the effectiveness of a conversation with someone, and hearing about their viewpoints, experiences and opinions is often priceless. I also look forward to the keynotes, especially CTO Stephen Herrod's, to hear VMware's vision and to learn about upcoming features.
Finally, wandering around the Solutions Exchange is a great way to find out about products that you may not have known existed. Having all the vendors under one roof also gives you a chance to compare products that you might be interested in. Sure, the sessions are always great, but don't sweat it if you miss some, as they are all available for you to review at your leisure after the conference is over.
Rick Vanover, Alliance Data
Virtualization has the strongest community aspect in all of IT. The best part of VMworld is the opportunity for virtualization personalities -- bloggers, analysts, vendors and users -- to connect.
VMworld is also about the technology. There is a lot of information available in the form of new announcements, the Solutions Exchange experience and, of course, the sessions. The whole event allows attendees to choose the right amount of community interaction, partner discussions and sessions to meet their needs. Attendees and members can make the most of their on-site time by catching sessions later online, but there is something to be said for attending the events in person and talking to other attendees dealing with the same issues.
Have a question for the Server Virtualization Advisory Board? Email Colin Steele, Senior Site Editor.
This was first published in August 2010