London VMware User Group #LonVMUG - What to Expect
What to expect if you’re visiting the London VMware User Group for the first time.
The London VMware User Group is one of many “VMUG"s worldwide. If you use any VMware products I’d recommend going along to one, and this guide is aimed at those who haven’t visited one before to give you a hint of what to expect.
The events are all really friendly, and there’s a mixture of attendees often with a high proportion of first-timers mixing with regulars. A volunteer team organise and run the day and whilst it is supported by VMware and other vendor sponsors - it’s very much a community driven event.
Registration is usually open right through to event day, but registering early helps the organisers plan capacity.
The venue usually opens from 9am, with a welcome talk at half-past kicking off the day. Sessions then run throughout the day with breaks for coffee and lunch. Proceedings wrap up at around 4:30pm, but are normally followed by a social event. Check out the agenda on the registration page for up-to-date timings.
The London VMUG events are held at TechUK, 10 St Bride Street, London, EC4A 4AD. This is just off Farringdon Street and is very close to City ThamesLink, and Blackfriars stations, but also only just over a mile walk from Waterloo, Liverpool Street, or London Bridge if the weather is nice on the day.
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TechUK is located on the 2nd floor of the building, with lifts upstairs. On arrival you’ll be greeted at reception and should be able to spot VMUG tables and banners where the team can sign you in and show you round. There are coffee machines available and if you have brought a coat you don’t want to carry around there is a cloakroom.
The venue is reasonably compact with a couple of presentation rooms and the central meeting/ catering area so you won’t be wandering round looking for the right room at any point!
The Technical Bits
This is what you’re here for- to learn something new. The London VMUG event usually has 7 session slots during the day, and on busier events may have multiple sessions running simultaneously.
Speakers are from VMware themselves, the other vendors who sponsor the event (remember, it’s free to attend thanks to their support), and regular users/customers like myself. The subject matter can vary from the technical deep-dives, to looking at new products, to related skills (I’m talking about IT Documentation at the event next week for example). This variety of topics really appeals to me, you can attend for the talks on the products you use, but discover a whole lot of other subjects you might not have considered. Even in the most product focussed sessions at a VMUG there’s no hard-sell, and in my experience the audience generally frowns on any sales pitches and demo’s are encouraged wherever possible.
Sessions are usually about 45 minutes long, but occasionally “Lightning talks” have been held which split a session into rapid-fire 10-minute talks, often by new speakers.
There’s plenty of time around sessions and at the end of the day to chat with fellow attendees and the speakers. There’s also the opportunity to talk with those vendors sponsoring the event, and sometimes the odd giveaway or competition. I’ve definitely learned lots from being able to find out how other people in the community have dealt with an problem, or a product they use that happens to meet a requirement of mine. I’ve heard more than one person at a VMUG use the phrase “there’s no stupid questions”, so if you have any queries about VMware products (or those from the surrounding ecosystem) there’s probably someone at the meeting who will know the answer, or who knows someone who might.
Tea, coffee, water, and biscuits are provided throughout the day - if you want to bring your own soft drinks that’s not a problem. Lunch is provided for free as well; usually things like sandwiches, wraps, nibbles, fruit, and cake. After the event there is usually a gathering at a local tavern for #vBeers. The vBeer doesn’t have to be a beer by the way!. These drinks are sometimes sponsored by the vendors at the event too.
As far as I’m aware there is no official dress code, so arrive as smart or casual as you see fit. Jeans and a T-shirt, suit and tie, whatever you’re comfortable in for a professional event.
So if you’re reading this before 13th July 2023, then Register Here and I will see you at the event.