A few weeks back, I received an invitation from Don Sullivan to attend the Sydney version of the VMWare Experts Program. I worked with Don during our time at Oracle, and caught up with him again a couple of years ago at one of the Collaborate conferences. He had moved on to VMWare, and is still working for them today.
As Don describes the event, “the VMWare Experts Program was started in 2013 as a collaborative effort between the Cloud Platform Business Unit, then referred to as vSphere Product Marketing team and the VMware Global Center of Excellence. Members are initiated into the program when they attend a 3-day workshop delivered by VMware. Everyone invited meets with VMware executives and technical specialists, VMware partner personnel and alumni of the program itself. Attendees of the event often include the highest-level executives, architects and veteran engineers who build the platform and write code. A variety of open discussions and exercises facilitate an intense learning environment leading to the expansion of a broader community of Database and Applications experts who have extensive knowledge of VMware virtualized infrastructure.” There have been multiple runs of the event, in Palo Alto USA, Cork Ireland, Sofia Bulgaria, and now in Sydney.
Branches of the VMware Experts program presently include Oracle, MS SQL Server and “Big Data and Scientific and Engineering Workloads”. For the Sydney event, we had the Oracle and SQL Server branches held at the same time, with some shared sessions where attendees from both backgrounds were together, and some sessions where we split off into separate presentations for SQL Server and Oracle. This is the first time I can recall having experts from both backgrounds in the same room, and I must say it was an interesting way to do things. It was great to get a slightly different perspective on things.
It was certainly a fun-filled three days, with the material ranging from high level marketing stuff from the sponsors right down to some VERY detailed technical material on things to look for from a performance perspective, and also included some hands on labs. Don even managed to organize a fire alarm both at the hotel in the middle of a presentation AND at Jamie’s Italian restaurant where we went for dinner one night. 🙂 I can’t go into too much detail as some of what was presented was under NDA, but I must say I was very impressed with the capabilities of the VMWare product set. Obviously, as an Oracle employee for 22 years I hadn’t been exposed much to VMWare’s technology as Oracle has competing products, but from what I saw over the past few days, I would definitely be recommending customers investigate VMWare over the competing capabilities from Oracle. I was particularly impressed with vMotion and its capabilities to move VMs while they were live and running.
Of course, one of the questions that always comes up when talking Oracle on VMWare is licensing. We had presentations from Dave Welch from House of Brick and Dean Bolton / Michael Corey, cofounders of LicenseFortress on that subject, and all I can say is if you are in any doubt around your Oracle licensing in this arena, I would definitely reach out to these three gentlemen as they all REALLY know their stuff in this arena.
It was a fantastic event, and I really must say thank you to Don, Jen Shockley and all the crew from VMWare for inviting me. The investment from VMWare for this program was outstanding – they brought a team of experts from around the globe in their organization and invested a lot of time, effort and of course money to bring this event together. It ran very smoothly thanks to Jen (apart from the fire alarms, of course!), the food was to die for – well, Jamie’s maybe not so much 😉 – and the social side was well covered too. A few shots stolen from Mike Corey’s blog on the event:
Moving forward from here, it’s really going to be interesting to see how the program progresses. I can’t wait to get my hands on the technology again!