Updated: May 1, 2020
VMware Empower? What's that you say? Well, can you remember the VMware Partner Exchange (PEX) just in front of the VMworld event? It's a bit the same, but not all the way. People gave VMware a lot of feedback on PEX in the last few years. It was just too much, as there was a large overlap with VMworld itself. For some of us, it was also just not technical enough and did not provide much unique content for partners as a whole. Much of the content was found very sales driven and did not give partners enough in terms of technical knowledge. This year, for the first time ever, VMware has decided provide us with a new event, called VMware Empower. One in America in april and one in Europe, with the one in America being the very first one of this concept.
VMware Empower Europe has been a very informative and technical event, especially for partners. According to their recap, the event was comprised of 50 unique sessions, 122 hours of content, 8 demo zones and 18 tons of production kit including 47 km of cable and 100+ laptops. Besides that there were 54 expert speakers which provided sessions to 676 partners from over 48 countries that visited the event. These partners received 700+ water bottles and coffee mugs, almost 1500 bottles of beer and at least 361 burgers and 54 big pizza's. To be able to function again in the morning, 251 litres of coffee was served up, which probably also helped with the taking of 316 VC(A)P exams in the DW, DTM, DCV, CMA and NV area's.
To get the maximum out of an event like this, there's a couple of tips and tricks I'd like to share.
1. Be prepared and get up on time. The days are long and full of information, so getting there on time is a very good idea. This gives you the time to get yourself coffeed up and ready for a great day.
2. Plan your sessions ahead of time, before you get to the conference and read very carefully how they are organised. Some sessions just require you to be there, listen and maybe ask some questions, but others require some prerequisites to be done beforehand. It could also be that you need a laptop and a tablet, to be able to do actual labs in the sessions. Some of the sessions are half or whole day events and are very nice to be able to follow from beginning to end. This wasn't entirely clear from the descriptions, so if you're in doubt, just contact the organisation by e-mail.
3. If the session was either good or bad for you, provide feedback! There are a few ways in which you can provide this. Either by going to the presenter at the end and getting in direct contact or using the digital ways to do so, on the provided app on your phone or by using social media like Twitter.
4. Be active on social media! An event like this can generate a lot of attention, which is not only good for VMware, but also for your employer and yourself. For an event like this, there's always a hashtag that is used to centralize the attention. For this event that was #VMwareEmpower, so if you want, read up all about it (#VMwareEmpower)
5. Get to the party! Events such as Empower are always accompanied by evening events, catered to fulfill any networking you can do with either the VMware organisation or colleagues and companies in the same field. It can be hard though to combine this with the first point of this guide as there are usually plenty of 'refreshments' on hand.
6. Last but not least, go and do an exam! As a part of the deal, you are allowed to take an exam on a selected number of certifications. Even if you aren't able to study up front, it is still a very easy way of getting some exam practise in. One caveat though is the fact that the learning center only had laptops available to do the exams so a deploy exam on such a monitor without an external mouse connected would be a challenge. The multiple choice exams however are ofcourse no issue.
Take these tips to heart for an even better conference experience, I for one hope to see you next year!