Having been a VMUG member for several years and now a VMUG leader I have seen the value of being a VMUG member and attending the meetings/events/conferences continue to increase.
If you are using VMware technologies/products in your workplace or you are regularly consulting on said VMware products, the VMUG events are in my opinion invaluable.
It simply doesn’t matter what experience/knowledge you have of the products, whether you are very new to virtualization or an old hand I guarantee you will come away from any VMUG meeting having learned something useful or dare I say been a great source/help to others whom you have met and networked with.
Each VMUG meeting is usually broken down into sessions, some of them vendor specific (but still relating to virtualization) while others are community led.
Community led sessions are a fantastic opportunity to see how your peers are using VMware (or related) products in the real world. They are always very well informed, unbiased and in some cases very frank! More often than not you will be able to gleam those really useful nuggets of information you were hoping for which will help you should you ever need to look at or deploy any given product. There isn’t any sales fluff you are quite literally hearing it from guys who have carried out installs, deployments, tackled issues and problems and in some cases have come up with ingenious ways to get the most from the product.
I can almost hear your eyes rolling at the thought of sitting through a vendor session but I will ask you to consider the following. The vendor sessions are very specific with regards to their product where it sits in our area of interest (virtualization) there is always the opportunity for Q&A not just in the session but afterwards and it can be a great chance to learn something new and discover some new tech that may well be what you have been looking for.
The above are the most common sessions but frequently you will also come across the following type of sessions.
Usually limited in the number of people whom can attend they are often focusing on a particular subject matter hosted by very knowledgeable community members.
Probably not termed in such a fashion but it is usually a session where someone whom is considered a “rockstar” in the VMware world/community is presenting on their specialist subject matter. These are usually very popular and for good reason, these guys didn’t become rockstars for nothing!
These sessions are sometimes vendor specific (EG a demo or hands on) or can be simply training workshops where a VMware certified instructor or knowledgeable community member is freely giving their time on a particular product or area of interest.
The above is by no means an exhaustive session list, but should give you an idea as to what often takes place in any given VMUG meeting.
So what other good reasons are there to come along?
Networking with your peers of course! During the many tea/coffee/lunch breaks it’s a great chance to meet and get to know other community members and VMware users.
Well more often than not VMUG meetings are followed by vBeers! which are usually sponsored by a vendor so in short, free beer and more chance to talk tech! what’s not to like?
If you want to know where your nearest VMUG is visit the VMUG website.