This content is part of the Essential Guide: VMworld 2015 conference coverage

Top 10 VMworld sessions for 2015

Before you start filling out your VMworld schedule, take a read through our recommendations for the top 10 sessions to attend.

There are no shortages of hands-on labs and networking opportunities at VMworld, but the majority of attendees go to learn about new products or get deep technical insight into the software they rely on every day. There are multiple breakout sessions for just about every product in VMware's line and it can be hard to know where to start – especially for a first-time attendee.
The VMworld 2015 schedule builder opens this week, but before you start filling your agenda, take a read through these top break-out session recommendations.

While your choice should be heavily dependent on the software you're running and what you hope to learn, this list highlights products across several of VMware's business lines and should help you get started. Remember, space is limited for many sessions and the most popular ones tend to fill up fast.  Be sure to weigh in below and tell us which sessions you think are missing from this list and what you're looking forward to most.

1. INF5060 - What's New in vSphere?

A perennial VMworld favorite, this session is a must for vSphere administrators looking to understand where VMware's flagship product is headed. In addition to an in-depth overview of new features, this session often includes roadmap plans and a lively Q&A about new additions and what's still missing.

Michael Adams - Director, CPBU Product Team, VMware

Alternatives if you can't make it:
CNA6647-GD - Provisioning Containers to vSphere
STO5022 - VMware vSphere Replication: What's New, Technical Walkthrough, and Best Practices

2. SDDC5273-S - Growing from EVO:RAIL to EVO: RACK – Scale with Investment Protection

It's been almost a year since VMware unveiled its first hyper-converged infrastructure product, and while the adoption has reportedly been slow, VMware is doubling down with a second product in the EVO family. This session should shed some more light on exactly how EVO:RACK will differ from the smaller EVO:RAIL appliance. But, more importantly, the session description hints at a possible integration between the two platforms – or at least a forgiving licensing model – saying, "we will also discuss how an existing investment in EVO:RAIL can be preserved by migrating to a new EVO:RACK instance." This session should be on your list if you're thinking about investing in (or already have) either of VMware's hyper-converged infrastructure offerings.

Jason Lochhead - Chief Technologist, EVO:RACK, VMware
Sujit Panika – Director, VMware

Alternatives if you can't make it:
BCO6657-SPO - vExpert Panel – Deep Dive Review of Hyperconverged Infrastructure
NET5640 - Building a Hyper-Converged Infrastructure with EVO:RACK and NSX Integrations

3. HBC5474 - VMware vCloud Air Roadmap - Key Highlights

VMware's vCloud Air has undergone several modifications in the last few years including the addition of new licensing models and a name change from vCloud Hybrid Service. VCloud Air customers – or those considering a hybrid cloud – should try to attend this session to get a glimpse of what VMware has in store for the platform. According to the description, this session will address "the key new services and enhancements we are working on," and how "vCloud Air [will] better address customer pain points and create customer value."

Angelos Kottas - Senior Director, Product Marketing, VMware
Amit Gupta - Senior Director, Product Management, VMware

Alternatives if you can't make it:
PAR6419 - What's new with vCloud Air
MGT5952 - What’s New and What’s Next in VMware vCloud Suite

4. STO5906 - Virtual SAN Technical Deep Dive and What's New

Alongside the vSphere 6 release earlier this year, VMware made some significant changes to its Virtual SAN platform – adding new features and improving scalability. The company also realigned version numbers to coincide with vSphere and this session will dive into Virtual SAN 6, examining those new features and helping IT professionals understand how the technology works and whether it would be a good fit for their organization. Bring your technical questions for this deep dive.

Vahid Fereydounkolahi - Product Line Manager, VMware
Rakesh Radhakrishnan - Product Management & Strategy Leader, VMware

Alternatives if you can't make it:
STO4949 - Extreme Performance Series: Virtual SAN Performance Deep-Dive
STO5157 - Running Business Critical Applications with VMware All Flash Virtual SAN

5. INF5803 - Deploy Hundreds of VMs Instantly via Forking

One of the most overlooked features added to vSphere 6 was the addition of the Instant Clone feature – previously known as Project Fargo and also called VM forking. The Instant Clone feature can provision new VMs in seconds and has several important use cases that you can learn about in this session. VSphere administrators should consider attending this session to hear how the feature can help save you time, hassle and money.

Alan Renouf - Product Line Manager, VMware
Li Zheng - Engineer, VMware Inc

Alternatives if you can't make it:
EUC4827 - VDI Sizing Deep Dive - The Horizon Sizing Tool
INF4936 - Insight Into vSphere 6 vMotion: Architecture, Features, Performance and Debugging

6. INF5229 - Docker and Fargo: Exploding the Linux Container Host

VMware is going all-in on the "better together" strategy pairing VMware virtualization with Docker containers. If you have any interest in learning about how containers are changing modern data center infrastructure – and you probably should -- this session is worth checking out. It will likely cover some of the recent technology previews and announcements VMware has made in the open source arena, including projects Photon and Lightwave. Judging from the session title and the fact that an engineer working on the Bonneville project will be speaking, this session will also likely cover VMware's strategy for integrating containers into today's vSphere infrastructure. Don't be surprised if VMware also offers some more new information about its cloud-native applications strategy.

Benjamin Corrie - Senior Staff Engineer, VMWare
George Hicken - Staff Engineer - Bonneville, VMware Inc

Alternatives if you can't make it:
CNA5636 - Ask the experts: Microservices on VMware
CNA5479 - Running Cloud-Native Apps on your Existing Infrastructure

7. MGT5151 - vRealize Automation or VMware Integrated OpenStack or Both?

VMware raised a few eyebrows when it announced at VMworld last year that it would release VMware Integrated OpenStack, which seemed to compete with some of its other offerings. This session is likely to answer some of the questions users have been asking and help you decide which platform would best suit your private cloud needs.

Ryan Kelly - Senior System Engineer, VMware
Long Wang - VMware

Alternatives if you can't make it:
MGT5006 - Monitoring Software Containers with vRealize Operations
STO5812 - Automating Operations for vSphere Replication, Site Recovery Manager and vCloud Air Disaster Recovery with vRealize Orchestrator

8. STO4649 - Virtual Volumes Technical Deep Dive

Most of Last year's Virtual Volumes sessions filled up fast, with both server and storage focused professionals eager to learn more about the technology. Don't be surprised if this session fills up fast too. VVOLs offers many interesting advantages for administrators who are all too familiar with the pain of provisioning storage. This session will cover the technical details and get you up to speed on the new technology.

Ken Werneburg - Senior Architect - Technical Marketing, VMware
Patrick Dirks - Senior Manager, Core Storage R&D, VMware, Inc.

Alternatives if you can't make it:
STO5571 - What's New in Virtual Volumes
STO5888 - Top 10 Thing You MUST Know Before Implementing Virtual Volumes (VVols)

9. NET4989 - The Future of Network Virtualization with VMware NSX

VMware launched NSX in 2013 as the future of network automation and flexible deployment. But, in the last few years, much of the attention has turned to the micro-segmentation and security advantages of network virtualization. Facing tough competition from Cisco and relatively slow adoption, this should be an interesting session for anyone interested in seeing whether VMware's vision for the software-defined data center will become a reality. Subjects will include VMware's plan for NSX, including plans to improve performance and scalability beyond a single data center.

Bruce Davie - CTO, Networking, VMware

Alternatives if you can't make it:
NET5560 - VMware NSX - Deep Dive
NET4468 - Defining Your Future With NSX Certification

10. EUC5909 - VMware’s End User Computing (EUC) Strategy into 2015 and Beyond

VMware has made significant investments in its end-user computing line over the last few years – but is facing tough competition in this market too. In this session, you'll hear from some of VMware's most prominent end-user computing executives about the company's strategy and roadmap. The session description says attendees will get a "peek into the upcoming Workspace Enterprise Management (WEM) platform."

Shawn Bass - Senior Director, Strategy & Planning, VMware
TJ Vatsa - Principal Architect, VMware
Harry Labana - VP Products, VMware
Karthik Lakshminarayanan - Director, Product Management, VMware

Alternatives if you can't make it:
EUC5617 - Take Advantage of AirWatch 8.1: Preview the Latest Release
EUC4847 - Your Laptop Has Been Stolen with 80,000 Patient Records – You're Held to Ransom for… ONE MILLION DOLLARS!

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