The first London VMUG meeting of 2020 was held at our usual location, TechUK, on Thursday 30th January and I’d been looking forward to it for quite a while. Sadly, I didn’t make it all the way through the day, as I came down with some form of plague, which took a few days to fully shake off! I don’t think I looked very welcoming and I’m also sure that the rest of the leaders didn’t really want me hanging around, so I was ‘encouraged’ to go home early. I missed some good sessions, but I did manage to catch some of them before I left.
However, I didn’t take photo’s or be around for enough of the day to provide a full-on review, so instead, this post will become more of an overview of a VMUG meeting, which makes it more accessible, to be honest.
If you don’t know VMUG, where have you been?! I have a number of posts on it here on this blog, which will help shed light on what it’s all about. The key part to remember is that this is a ‘by the user, for the user’ global organisation, so it is quite likely that one of the 200+ local groups is near you. Most are supported by VMware who supply speakers to give updates on all the new stuff, by sponsors who cover room costs, lunch costs etc. in return for telling you about their products which operate in the VMware infrastructure space and by community speakers, who will tell you about their pet project/from the trenches experiences/horror story or anything else they want to share - this is my favourite bit!
Other than those three types of people who are likely to present something, there’s time to simply network with your peers, or even acquire some swag, which always seems to be popular in IT Circles. The networking part should not be taken lightly, there are always breaks between presentations so if you didn’t want to ask the presenter a question in front of a room of people, there’s often a chance afterwards, over a coffee or lunch etc. To this day I am amazed by the number of people who will give their time to share knowledge, to help someone they just met, to have open discussions and so on. You don’t have to say anything to anyone should you not want to, but the opportunity to listen, nod in agreement occasionally and maybe smile a thank-you is something not to be overlooked. If you’re looking for an introduction to someone or want to know who might be a good person to talk to about a particular topic or product, then ask one of your friendly VMUG Leaders, that’s what they are there for - and they are a very friendly and generous bunch of people!
Not every VMUG meeting follows the same template, some are all day events, some are a couple of hours, but generally, each local group organises around three meetings per year, so there’s a good chance that you could make it to at least one of those. Homing in on where I am, UK and Ireland, most of the chapters run all-day events, often with more than one track running concurrently, so we are really spoilt for choice here on these small islands.
Further afield? No worries - there should be something happening close to you, wherever you may be.