Lights are off in the conference center which hosted the first Italian VMware User Group User Conference. Rooms are empty, sponsors booths have been dismantled, all is silent, guests, organizers and attendees are all back home and at work.
But the excitement and the adrenaline still have not faded out.
I thought that, once we had scattered in many different directions after the event wrap up, we would have returned back to our normal lives, perhaps savoring that warm feeling coming from a sense of achievement, maybe vaguely making plans for our next meeting in the back of our minds. On the contrary, after two days my mind still has not stopped thinking about what happened on April 3rd and how great it was. Maybe it’s because we – the VMUG IT board guys – are still busy with post-conference tasks (you know, collecting, sorting and uploading photos, slides and videos), maybe because the Twitterverse is still buzzing with references to the event. The truth is that I am still in full Conference mood. I cannot stop thinking how well it went. And I like this.
How would you measure success then?
Probably by numbers. We had approximately 270 attendees who were welcomed with a smile by the VMUG HQ staff flown into Milan from Chicago (thanks Victor, Frannie, Jen and Megan for the hard work and the long hours!). But that’s not a good enough Key Performance Indicator. I would rather measure that by the number of shaken hands, smiles and compliments we all – again, the VMUG IT board guys – received by attendees while running frantically between conference rooms or queuing for lunch, waiting for our turn to grab a quick bite.
We are also really glad we keep receiving even more positive feedback through Twitter and other Social Media a few days after the event. This means a lot to us, it means that all the hard work we put together during the last months paid off. Our motto is “Users First” and we are happy and proud that you, The Users, had a great day and a good experience.
Let’s have a recap of the day for those who attended and those who could not: first of all I would like to thank the sponsors who were instrumental in making the Conference possible. We had 20 booths with a strong presence from some of the strongest players in the IT arena. We are glad that you guys visited the booths and were interested in what the sponsors had to present: the feedback we received about this has been very good and we are happy there has been a fruitful interaction between the vendors and our audience.
Talking about feedback, we would like to share with you some considerations from our special guests: they were genuinely surprised by the attendance numbers (the General Session room was always full) and flattered by the response, interaction, and interest level demonstrated by you, the participants. Just check what Duncan Epping has posted earlier on his LinkedIn profile:
This kind of recognition and appreciation means that it will be easier for us to bring more vRockstars to our future events thanks to the good publicity we are receiving internationally. Thank you VMUG Users for coming in high numbers and for demonstrating your interest.
The General Sessions had a very high technical content: Scott Lowe kicked off the Conference with a speech on Network Virtualization, clarifying some common misconceptions and paving the way for a broader acceptance and understanding of this very new, yet disruptive technology.
Then it was Duncan Epping’s turn, with a superb session on how to properly design a Virtualization Infrastructure. No matter if you support a small three-node cluster in a small company or if you architect 100+ nodes stretched clusters spanning continents: the information Duncan shared with us will be precious to you anyway, as he – in mere 45 minutes – provided the audience with a method and a design discipline!
Mike Laverick came next with a very popular topic: Virtualization Labs. He spoke about his multiple years long experience, started with a scavenged PC hiding under his desk and continuing now with a rack full of servers, storage and network equipment sitting in a co-location facility in UK! The best thing about Mike’s presentation style is how he manages to mix complex technical concepts with his typically British sense of humor – and a little sing-a-long too! How can I describe him? He’s a “technical entertainer”!
Mike’s session inspired me to prepare one on the same topic, but based on my own personal experience: I might present it at the next VMUG IT Meeting, so be prepared – and no, I won’t sing on stage!
Cormac Hogan closed the event in front of a packed General Session Room (thanks for staying late, people!), giving a speech on the future of Storage in VMware. He gave us a sneak peek at what is coming along (very soon, I guess), focusing on exciting and promising solutions such as vFlash, vVOLs and Distributed Storage. I might blog about this later on, as soon as I have digested so many complex details: I am sure though that all of this will be the next “buzz” come next August – and VMworld USA!
Besides the General Sessions, we had three parallel Breakout Sessions for a total of 15, some of them presented by Partners/Vendors, other ones by End Users. I could not attend all of them (I still have not figured out how to split myself into three my-selves!) but I was particularly impressed by a few, including one given by Giuseppe Pagliarulo regarding the implementation of Telecom Italia’s CRM Virtual Desktop platform using Flash technology and one given by our very own Andrea Mauro, Giuseppe Guglielmetti and Luigi Rosa, specifically tailored for the Italian “Small Businesses” reality.
For those who missed the event, but also for the participants who would like to re-watch their favorite sessions – or the ones they could not attend, please be informed that all the presentations were professionally filmed and, after the necessary editing and post-processing, we should be able to share the videos on our YouTube channel. Same applies for photos, which will soon show up on our Flickr page.
I hope you enjoyed the Conference as much as we loved organizing it, so let me close this post with a picture taken on stage a few minutes before we wrapped up the show!
Arrivederci at the VMUGIT User Conference 2014!