Virtualization Field Day 4 – Austin, I am IN you!


I’ve been fortunate enough in my career to be a part of a group of IT folks that have been able to take part in a Tech Field Day, a series of industry events bringing together technology purveyors, community influencers, analysts, enthusiasts, tweeter folk and grey beards (none of these are mutually exclusive of the others). It’s a place that brings new vendors with exciting visions of technology and old vendors with shiny newness, both of which provide an exciting look at the ever changing landscape of enterprise IT.

Besides my general fondness of Stephen Foskett (and his glorious peanut brittle) and Tom Hollingsworth, I’m excited to be a part of the event from the vendor perspective, getting to attend with my friends Jesse St. Laurent and Brian Knudtson from SimpliVity to give delegates (and viewers) a deeper look into how we do Hyperconverged Infrastructure and what’s possible when you do deduplication and compression in real time in-line.

But where the real action takes place is the delegates. The industry folks (admins, engineers, bloggers, analysts, friends) that come to these Field Days are the linchpin to its success and to its enjoyment. Most of the people going I’ve had the pleasure of knowing for a while and meeting in person previously, and some I’ve only interacted with online and am thrilled to finally meet in person.

Amit Panchal @AmitPanchal76
Amy Manley @WyrdGirl
Christopher Kusek @cxi
Emad Younis @Emad_Younis
James Green @JDGreen
Jeff Wilson @Agnostic_Node1
Julian Wood @Julian_Wood
Justin Warren @JPWarren
Larry Smith @MrLESmithJr
Marco Broeken @MBroeken
Matt Simmons @StandaloneSA
Mike Preston @MWPreston

This current event (Virtualization Field Day 4) will be held in Austin, TX January 14-16 and focuses on technologies and people that enable and push the virtualized datacenter forward. You can follow along with the events with the live stream on the TFD site and on twitter with the #VFD4 hashtag.

Spirit of the UNparty

Way back machine:

The year was 2012. VMware was having this little get together (VMworld) in San Francisco and had decided to toss in a little soiree at the end to show their appreciation for their customers and partners. They rounded up this small indie east coast artist to play some music (Bon Jovi) and got some food and drinks and other miscellaneous entertainment stuffs.

While I greatly appreciated the gesture and great effort to put together said soiree, I am not a big fan of these large engagements and at the same time, not a big fan of Bon Jovi (don’t tell my 80s rock loving spouse). So after talking with several other in the same boat, Jim Millard, Matt Leib and I decided that we’d spread the word and meet somewhere local and small and have some drinks together. Without meaning any offense to VMware’s party, we called it the UNparty and invited others who felt similarly.  About 50 people showed up to the Toronado that night. Many beers were consumed, laughs were had, and connections were made. Good times.

Fast forward to 2013 and VMware again (surprise!) decides to have another gathering of virtualization peeps in San Francisco. This time, the location and festivities were more elaborate (at AT&T park) with bigger, more ‘not 80s’ bands Train and Imagine Dragons. Cool! More people wanted to go to that, but there were still folks that were not into that large of an event, and to people’s surprise, not everyone wanted to hear Train or Imagine Dragons. So, again, we had an UNparty at the Chieftain. This time, about 100 people showed up and we actually had a sponsor – Computex (thanks!).

Present day machine:

VMware is (again! Man, they must really dig this stuff) bringing folks from all over the world together for a week of virtualization goodness. This time, the band for the week’s party is The Black Keys. Part of the premise of the UNparty was that I (nor my partner in crime, Jim) wanted to see the band that was lined up to play. And if it came to be that we DID want to see the band, well, someone else would likely not want to see them and they could ‘organize’ the UNparty if they wanted to. There’s never been anything tying myself or Jim to it other that it was something else to do with the community as an alternative to VMware’s party.

All that being said, I’ve been wanting to see The Black Keys for a very, very long time. And, it turns out, that Jim also would like to see them. So, the UNparty for 2014 will have to be passed on to another to organize. Or it doesn’t have to happen at all. That’s the spirit of the UNparty.

So, if you want to organize it, fly my friend, be free.