I was very fortunate that the presentation I created with Jeff Szastak titled APP-BCA1516 – Virtualizing SQL 2012: Doing IT Right was also selected for VMWORLD Barcelona. Not many presentations were asked to also present in Barcelona putting Jeff and me in good company with likes of Michael Webster and Don Sullivan. If you have not seen them present, I would highly recommend both of them.
In this blog, I am going to attempt to give you my honest appraisal of VMWORLD 2012 Barcelona. My review will be from a Business Critical Applications perspective (Oracle, SQL Server, Exchange, SAP, E-Business Suite) which is what matters most to me as opposed to a general VMware perspective.
Fira Barcelona Gran Via Venue Score
The city of Barcelona is beautiful. As a destination city in Europe, it is a wonderful place to visit. As a conference city, it has a very long way to go. When the city built the conference center known by the locals as Fira Barcelona Gran Via, they chose to put it quite a distance away from the city center. In addition, there was no shuttle service from the hotels to the venue. Given the distance the hotels were from the conference venue, I suspect it was cost prohibitive to run such a shuttle service.
I talked to some attendee who attempted to use public transportation. There was not a subway stop near the conference center. I also was told there was a very long wait for the busses that would take you to the nearest Metro station, making public transit a very unlikely option. Most attendees, myself included, used the local taxi service. The line was usually at least 30 minutes long. There was no attempt to try and group people together. So, every day I spent around 25/30 Euros, which was pretty typical. A very expensive trip in and out.
The registration desk was right as you walked in. You could not miss it. The conference registration lines were very reasonable and the staff very helpful.
The conference layout itself was terrible. It was very long and narrow, which made it feel very crowded. It took some getting used to. In the facility's defense, they had lots of help around to show you the way. Because it was so long and narrow, you had quite a long walk to get to the Tradeshow & Hands-on Labs portion of the event.
At European events I have attended in the past, food is usually much better than their U.S. counterparts. That was not the case here. No one was happy with the food. By conference standards, it got low marks. Problem was you had no alternatives. The conference was in the middle of nowhere and you could not walk outside for an alternative.
Speaker services were excellent. A real strength as compared to other events I have spoke at. There is a place for speakers to work, lots of support staff to help and coffee and snacks available.
Tradeshow & Hands-On Labs
The Hands-on Labs were excellent. Just spending your time in the Hands-on Labs alone can make it worth your while to attend the event. I did not experience this first hand, but I was told there was some issues the first days. That seems to be a recurring theme at all VMWorlds. I think they always underestimate just how popular the hands-on labs are going to be.
Here is a sample of some of the Hands-on Labs that were available:
HOL-APP-03 Enable Database as a Service (DBaaS) in Your Cloud with VMware vFabric Data Director
HOL-APP-01 Manage Your vCloud Suite Applications with VMware vFabric Application Director
HOL-INF-02 Explore vSphere 5.1 Distributed Switch (vDS) New Features
HOL-INF-05 Implement Disaster Recovery for the Cloud with VMware Site Recovery Manager (SRM)
HOL-INF-06 Deploy and Operate Your Cloud with the VMware vCloud Suite
HOL-OPS-01 Manage Your vCloud Suite Deployment with VMware vCenter Operations Manager Enterprise
HOL-OPS-05 Explore VMware vCenter Operations Manager Enterprise New Features
The Trade Show, which is, known as Solutions Exchange, was excellent. All the major players I would expect to see were there except for Oracle.
VMworld Barcelona 2012 Technical Content
Business Critical Applications Technical Content Grade: “A”
Business Critical Applications Quantity of Presentation Grade: “C”
VMware Technology Content Overall Grade: “A”
The overall content concerning VMware product and features was excellent. When it came to Business Critical Applications like an Oracle Database or a Microsoft SQL Server database I thought the technical content was excellent, but there was not enough representation.
Here is the List of Oracle Presentations that were available:
APP-BCA1333 Virtualizing Oracle RAC
APP-BCA1344 Virtualizing Oracle for Disaster Recovery with Data Guard and VMware vCenter Site Recovery Manager.
APP-CAP2341 Accelerate Database Virtualization with VMware vFabric Data Director
GD46 Oracle Virtualization with Jan-Willem Lammers
Here is the list of Microsoft SQL Server Presentations that were available:
APP-BCA1516 Virtualizing SQL 2012: Doing IT Right
APP-BCA1530 Virtualizing Highly Available SQL Servers
GD44 Database for Microsoft Applications with Jeff Szastak
The Technical content of these presentations were excellent. But there is just not enough quantity. A database is one of the most intensive business critical applications you will ever virtualize. To only have 3 Microsoft SQL Server presentations or 4 Oracle Presentations is not enough. VMWorld needs to get as serious about virtualizing business critical applications as VMware is.
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