VMware Explore 2022 Europe – Know before you go
VMware Explore Europe is less than a month away. Preparation for this event has already started. This is the perfect time to give some advice or tips & tricks for people who will attend VMware Explore for their first time as well as for recurring attendees. These “know before you go” tips & tricks are the outcome of multiple previous attended VMworlds. Some of these are general for both, US and EMEA conference and some are especially for EMEA conference.
After nearly 3 years of pandemic VMware Explore is back to an in-person event and I will also be there.
General Tips & Tricks
Wear comfortable shoes and clothes – my preference for dress code is Jeans, T-Shirt/Polo and sneakers. Use wear in shoes, you don’t want to have blisters at your first day at VMworld. If you are a vExpert, CiscoChampion, EMCElect or any other community award holder don’t forget to bring your customized T-Shirt/Polo if you have one with you.
Use large luggage – when you visit the Expo you will get a lot of vendor swag especially T-shirts you have to carry home. If you have already a lot of vendor T-Shirts at home, also take it and donate it for a good cause like giving it to homeless people out there in Barcelona. Personal note: I will travel just with carry-on luggage so that I won’t have the chance to grab that much stuff.
Get certified – If you want to get certified with VCP or VCAP/VCIX use the 50% off promotion when you are at Explore. This can save you approx. $225/225€ when doing a VCAP/VCIX exam. Personal note: Don’t do 2 VCAPs on one day. Did this once and it was really exhausting and cold after 8 hours in the certification room.
VCDX workshop – There will be a VCDX workshop at Explore Europe. If you pursue VCDX then this is a must attend event. For more information follow #VCDX on twitter.
Schedule your session – When scheduling your sessions do not schedule too many sessions. You will have long walks between the sessions especially at the EMEA conference and you will do other stuff beside sessions like visiting the Expo, doing some labs or get in touch with other people. Remember that all sessions are recorded and will be available for all attendees. Personal note: The last 3 VMworlds I only scheduled 1-2 sessions. For me networking is more important.
Network, Network, Network – This is for me the most important reason why I’m attending VMware Explore. It’s once a year where I can meet all the tweeps, geeks, bloggers and vRockstars of the #vCommunity and maybe blog readers, if there are any :). Get in touch with everyone you know and would like to talk to. Don’t be shy, say hello they are people like you and me.
The Expo – The Expo is my second most important reason for attending Explore. There you will get a pretty good overview across the whole VMware ecosystem. I’m a technology junkie and I like to learn what’s new and what’s hot in the industry and the Expo is a great place to satisfy this curiosity.
Vendor Swag – You probably can pack your luggage with only one shirt because you will get a lot of shirts in the Solutions Exchange. Try to get most of the swag you want at the first day when the Expo is open because on later days the range of sizes available will drop to M or XL. L is always “sold-out” really quick. As I said before if you have already your closet full of Shirt just donate it for a good cause to homeless people in Barcelona. Personal note: This was the experience from before the pandemic. Could be that swag is much less than before or changed from T-Shirts to socks! 🙂
Attend Parties – there are a lot of vendor parties everyday. The best I was at were Veeam and certainly VMware Explore Party itself. If you’re a vExpert or VCDX you should also attend vExpert/VCDX party. There is no recommendation how many parties you should attend. I would recommend a maximum of 2 parties a night if you need to juggle to many balls at once or how I like to call it in austrian german “Mit an Oarsch auf 10 Kirtog sein”. Check out my post about VMware Explore Europe 2022 parties. Personal note: As I’m getting older parties are not that important anymore to me. Having dinner with people you really like and haven’t seen in a while is ten times better.
Taking pictures – You can take pictures at VMworld with your DSRL if you have one, but keep in mind you need to carry it and the lens(es) with you. With the backpack (incl. Laptop) and the DSRL bag it’s getting very heavy over time. So use a small camera or even your Smart Phone. This phones getting better and better each year and make awesome photos even in low light situations.
Get a Twitter account – it’s easier to get in touch and follow people. You will also get a lot of information when using twitter e.g. new blog posts or information about parties at VMware Explore. Don’t forget your twitter handle during ticket registration. It’s much easier when it’s on your badge.
Prepaid SIM Cards – Data roaming is still very expensive if you’re not from the EU, so I would recommend buying a local SIM if you need mobile internet access. Since June 15th roaming in the EU is free of charge. Sounds great but you need to know how providers still get their money if you’re not in your home country. In AT some provider removed roaming completely from their current plans. Therefor customers had a special right of cancellation. New contracts do have roaming included but are more expensive now. Also if you have a specific data plan in your home country that doesn’t mean you have it also in the EU. I have e.g. 20GB data plan but only 5GB in the EU. I found this site which is unfortunately german language only. It has a variety of SIM cards from nearly all countries around the world and shipping is for free worldwide. Only the costs per SIM is a little bit high from my view, but it’s the best way to get one before starting the journey. For VMworld EMEA check the Prepaid SIM Card section below. IMPORTANT: Don’t forget the tool to open the SIM card slot!
Charge It – You will use your mobile devices a lot during the conference, so be prepared to have some power banks with you. Get as a minimum a 20k mAh bank. This should easily charge your phone multiple times.
AC power plugs – If you come from the US, UK or Irland we have here in Barcelona AC power sockets for power cords using Type E and F connectors. In the US they are using Type A and B connector and UK/Ireland using Type G connectors. That means you would need a converter when using your default power cords. From the experience of my recent travels I saw that the hotel rooms I booked were lacking power sockets. Sometimes I had 2 and sometimes only 1 I could use. With 3-4 devices this is not so good. Therefor I found this beauty. It’s a power cube with 4 output ports, 2 USB ports and has 4 interchangeable wall plugs. Just search in an Amazon Store near you after “allocacoc PowerCube DuoUSB ReWirable”.
Drink, Drink, Drink – And I don’t mean alcohol (except for the parties). A typical IT person disease is to drink too little over a long distance of time. There are a lot of refrigerators spread across the venue, so grab your water or two and drink it. In my case a lot of drinking will also help with headache.
Alcohol – As I said there are a lot of parties and a lot of alcohol. Don’t drink to much because the next morning starts early and you don’t want to miss something. Personal note: In 2019 at the vRockstar party I didn’t listen to myself and the next morning was the worst in years.
EMEA conference Tips & Tricks
Watch your wallet – In Barcelona there are a lot of pickpockets so don’t put your wallet in the back pocket or it may get stolen.
Free time – if you have free time, take the opportunity to visit the most interesting spots in Barcelona (Park Guell, Sagrada Familia, Magic Fountain of Montjuïc, Las Ramblas, Gothic quarter). One personal recommendation if you want to buy fresh fruits and fresh fruit juices visit the La Boqueria market (Maps), it’s quite in the middle of the Las Ramblas. Just take the Metro L3 (green line) in the direction of Trinitat Nova and get out at Liceu.
Public transportation – If it’s like the last years you will get a free public transportation pass with 10 rides sponsored by a vendor. If you need more and trust me you will need more except when taking a taxi, you can buy a multi-person travel card (T10, 10 rides) starting at 7.95€ depending on zones you will need. Getting to the conference center (Fira Barcelona Gran Via, north entrance) could be little bit different this year if you have already attended a VMworld in Barcelona before. Here you download the most recent metro plan. If you’re using public transportation to get to parties be aware of the operating hours of the metro which are mostly only until midnight. After that you need to take a taxi.
Way to the Fira Gran Via – In 2016 metro line L9 was opened which has a station called Fira where you will be directly at the north entrance. To get there you can use the lines L8, S4, S8, R5, R6 or S33 from Placa Espanya to Europa Fira station or Metro line L1 to Torrassa. From there change to metro L9s (direction Airport) and leave it at station Fira. In previous years there was always a shuttle bus service from station Europa Fira to the conference center but I think with the new metro L9 this will be obsolete.
Taxi – When using taxis to get somewhere in Barcelona always ask if the they take credit cards and don’t forget the receipt for your expenses. Be also aware that there are 4 different fares depending on day and time.
Airport transfer – There are shuttle buses which goes directly from the BCN Airport to the conference center. Search for the ladies with the VMworld sign! You can also take the metro L9 and go directly to the conference center located at station Fira.
Attend #vRockStar Party – if you’re in Barcelona on Sunday then you have to attend vRockstar party invented by Marco Broeken and Patrick Redknap. Follow these guys on twitter to get the latest updates about the party. Unfortunately this year’s party is already SOLD OUT.
Attend #vBreakfast – it’s something I invented for the EMEA conference. It’s my version of Shane Williford’s vBreakfast US.
Carry a vest and/or light jacket with you – November in Barcelona is not that warm (12-18°C) and the conference facilities are all air conditioned and it’s getting a little bit cold inside. If you will take an exam DON’T take a vest/jacket with you because you have to take it off for the exam (security guidelines). Use a sweater or something similar instead.
My good friend Dan Belmonte over ITGaiden wrote on his blog an awesome VMware Explore 2022 local guide. It includes information about places, restaurants, and local food you can try or visit outside of the conference insanity!