VMworld US 2012 - Day 0 (Should I stay or should I go now?)

So, I have been looking forward to this trip for a LONG time. Having been to a couple of VMworld Europe events I decided it was time to cross the pond and check out the US version. Decided to fly out a few days early and check out some San Francisco sites, which has been great. Today was the first official day of the conference with registration open and the labs advertised as available for most of the day. In my planning for what to do on each day I figured today would be a good day to get a head start on some labs and not need to be concerned that anything else was going on at the same time.

The Good:

I arrived early and registration was very swift, no issues and very well organised.

The Bad:

So I was 30 mins early for the labs and there was already quite a long queue. No problem I thought. I reckon there’ll be about 400 seats and there’s no more than that in the queue, so even if they stagger the start there shouldn’t be too much waiting around. My aim was to get through 4 labs today and I thought that would still be possible.

2 hours later of a queue moving incredibly slowly I made it through the door, to sit in a dark room still queuing up to get to the lab waiting area. We spent approximately another hour in this section during which time there was no information given as to what the issue might be with the delay and any indication of how long it might be. And I mean no one directly talking to us out of courtesy for the long wait, or any of the information points such as the VMworld Twitter account who remained silent.

Naturally you get rumours circulating around and you don’t know what to believe unless it is from an official source, so I tended to ignore them. Most people were extraordinarily patient despite the lack of information.

“Sit down, sit down, sit down, sit down, sit down, next to me….

Sit down, sit down, sit down, sit down, sit down, in sympathy….”

Finally I got through to the waiting area where at least there were comfy chairs to sit on and after a while some basic refreshments were supplied. Still no further information was really given, other than being able to stare at the few people who had made it through.

I did have some good conversations with new people and there were some tech talks to listen to so it wasn’t a complete waste of time. After a further 2 hours here and my name not even on the board I gave up and went to the solutions exchange which was opening.

The Ugly:

Everyone who works in IT knows that you have times when bad things happen and you have to deal with them, either as being the person responsible for fixing it or waiting while others sort things for you. The key element during these times is communication. If you have information on the issues, then you can make a decision on (in this case) whether to hang around or give up and do something else.

There was nothing.

Why did you bother hanging around you crazy fool?

I guess (despite the tone of this post) I’m a reasonably positive person and always looking for good to come out of bad situations and I was still hopeful I would get to a lab at some point. After a few hours a lot of people started giving up, I thought it about too. However, having done all the sightseeing I wanted in San Francisco and with nothing else at the conference open I figured I would hang around. I was also curious to see how people who did hang around would be treated and whether the communication from VMware would improve.

I saw that around 7pm this evening that the VMworld Twitter account was informing people that the labs were open and they were extending the hours to 10pm. This was good and the kind of thing that should happen in such a situation, it’s a shame there wasn’t such communication earlier in the day.

Disappointed was the understatement overall. In total I waited for 5 1/2 hours for nothing of what I had hoped to experience. I’m hoping for a better day tomorrow!