VMworld 2017 Las Vegas – Key takeaways, where to eat, what to see and how to go about

In a couple of months VMworld 2017 will be held in Las Vegas, conference like this are overwhelming when you experience them the first time. This blog is here to help you be prepared when you walk in Mandalay conference center. This year the conference will be held in Las Vegas for the second year in a row, The Mandalay hotel is the playground. VMworld is the conference of VMware, if you are wondering what VMware offers please look at their site which is found here – In the previous blog I wrote about the preparation and my session pick for VMworld. This blog will be about what is to see in Las Vegas, what to expect at VMworld and more like that.
 VMworld 2017


This blog will consist of several parts, this is the start with a preparation article.


VMworld is held at the Mandalay conference center in Las Vegas. The Mandalay hotel is situated at the beginning of the strip, right across the international airport. Hotels next to the mandalay is the Luxor. The Excalibur hotel is a bit further down the strip together with some others. Mind you that when you stay in other hotels than the Luxor or Mandalay you need to walk a bit in the morning. There is a tram going from the Excalibur to the Mandalay but it won’t go before 9am.VMworld2017

The Mandalay conference center has the advantage that all sessions are held in one location, no walking between building like we saw in San Francisco.  Personally I liked the walking in San Francisco where the weather is pleasant during the end of August. With less walking around people also tend to stay focused at the conference more. No more long lunches in the park but session back to back.

With the location comes a handy tourist spot you can easily visit. The Las  Vegas sign is pretty close to the hotel. If you want to take some nice pictures of it without the siddering sun you have to wake up early and take a walk before 0700am. It’s quiet at that time and the sun is still hovering over the mountains.

Of course you can do like we do and go or a run in the morning. It’s not as easy to run in Las Vegas as there are several escalators but you get the exercise. For all the time-zone travellers it is a good way to start the day, waking up at 5am is useless otherwise.

Breakfast and lunch

Of course the inner you is the most important, you will never be able to stay awake if you haven’t had a good meal.


The most important meal of the day is breakfast, most conferences I’ve been to served food my son would wake up for very early. I call them cakes and biscuits with the
occasional apple laying around for decoration.  At VMworld that is not different, the food you will see at the conference in the morning is not what I would serve my kids in the morning. Mind you that breakfast is only served during the conference days, the other days you’re on your own but there is ample choice around Mandalay Bay.

For breakfast I would recommend to visit the strip and find some fine diners. For only a few dollars they serve a nice meal. Inside the Mandalay a good diner is to be found but be careful what you order, we noticed the pancakes are US size.

We had our breakfast at Citizens which is very close to the entrance of the conference center. They have a decent, large, breakfast to start the day with.

VMworld2017If you want to eat out there are some good options, We ate at New York where we had a good meal. Just walk around and find a nice diner to eat, there is so much choice. If you want to make your own breakfast you need to travel a bit. If you travel north on the strip (direction Vegas sign) a small collection of shops is found. You can find electronics (like batteries) or a food market to get some sandwiches or yoghurts. The SDX is going there, it takes 5 minutes by bus (three stops) and a few minutes to walk. I did the trip last year to get some lunch. The food market is called Whole food market.


For lunch there are many option, it just depends on how much time you have in between your sessions. Of course lunch is being served and last year we had a buffet which was pretty nice. The years before we got the lunch boxes selection which was not that bad also. Most of the time the schedule is so packed that eating out is not even an option. The days leading up to the conference we tend to eat on the strip, last year we found a good place for a lunch, called the Yard house. It is located near the Linq. Just walk on the right side of the Linq down the bars and shops and almost in the end you find the Yard house.


Diner of course is important as you just sat through a whole day of sessions and you’re exhausted. Some evenings the parties you attend will take care of this meal but not all the time. Session can go on until 1900 so with a party starting around that time your time for a meal is limited. Most people will either go to the party and use the booze and snacks to get through the week. Others will skip a party and go for a meal. There is no advice to give there, my VMworld mission is that I want to network as much as possible so the parties are picked accordingly. If a diner is better for networking I skip the party. We had a good Australian meal a bit south on the strip but most days the parties take care of this.

Parties and events

With that being said we end up at the parties. Parties are to relax after the sessions. Vendors throw parties and you will need either get an invitation or apply for a ticket. Some parties are invitation only and others are open for everyone. As VMworld2017 is only one small week most parties are in the first three days. This means that on one evening you may have to select which party to go to as you might have 5 or 6 to attend. That’s the biggest pity of being in Vegas, distances are huge.

Read my other article on the events and swags, found right here – VMworld 2017 Las vegas – Parties and Swags

Tickets VMworld 2017

I guess now you want to go there as well, perhaps you can win one of the tickets for free.


With VEEAM the deal is that you get a full conference pass to access the exhibition floor as well as general and break out sessions. It is not said that you will go to VMworld 2016 Las Vegas as you might win a ticket for VMworld Barcelona. They will choose 10 winners in total, it seems from their site they pick one every month. So if you are still interested, click the link and sign up, we’re going to Vegas you need to gamble


Tegile also gives away free tickets and to be able to win these you need to enter your details. They will give one full conference pass to a winner on July 19th.


unitrendsUnitrends is giving away one (1) full conference pass (see details at their site) in June and another in July so you could be enjoying the sights and sounds of the Las Vegas Strip before you know it. Just don’t forget to stop by booth 1459 in the VMworld Solutions Exchange to pickup some fun
giveaways and see the latest product innovations from Unitrends.


Vmware will add all attendees of July 12th event in a raffle and pick a winner from there.  Good luck to all of you and here are the raffles ordered.. four chances of winning, see you at VMworld.

VMworld pass

Passes for VMworld are still available, the early bird ended June 12th but the regular price is up until August 25. Visit the webpage to see the actual price as they may vary depending on your situation. The VMworld package page is found right here: Pricing

Session catalog and session builder

The session catalog was brought online last week, time to look through it and make sure you create a list of sessions of your interest. In total 695 session are available but as we learned during the years some last minute changes van result in more session eventually. The session catalog is found here: Session Catalog.

My advice is to mark the interesting ones as your favourite so you have a shortlist when you are building your agenda July 18th. There are a number of different sessions to VMworld2017select from but I think we have three major ones;

  • Breakout sessions (389)
  • Group discussion (59)
  • Panel discussions (33)

The majority of the sessions are breakout sessions. These are VMware or vendor session with limited interaction. They will present a solution or do a little deep dive in a product. a lot of these session are marketing based so if your are a techie like me watch out, too many marketing slides can kill you 😉

A panel discussion is where a group of people is on stage and they are discussing topics, sometimes topics are brought in by the audience. We did a panel discussion last year and it was fun. We’re waiting if we are allowed to do one also this year, no news so far but we’re ready if they want us on stage.. few chairs, beers and a good crowd.

The most interesting session type I think is the group discussion. The ones I attended were small (20+) people discussing any topic around a major topic. The session most of the time start with one or two slide to kick off a topic. This is lively and if you sign up come prepared so you can join in. I talk but I like to hear others talk as well, discussion is great, we learn for each other.

So July the 18th you can build you agenda.

Dress codeVMworld2017

Dress code at VMworld I think should be business casual as we are networking and interacting with vendors. I’ve seen everything from business suits to flip flops, so it’s up to you how you want to be seen. I think if you talk to a vendor wearing shorts and flip flops they might question your intentions. They might give a goody and send you off.

I would recommend that while at VMworld, wear casual but business like clothes. It’s warm over there but a polo shirt and jeans are easy to wear. The minute we’re out we rush to our room to change to our Hawaii shirt and shorts also 😉

Business cards

Don’t forget your business cards, I forgot mine the last two times and that is the most stupid thing to do. I go to VMworld for networking and the one thing I need for that beside myself is my business cards. Roam the floor meet people and talk about solutions. I’ve met amazing people on the floor and in the relax areas or the hang space, amazing people that I interact with often.

VMware Labs

At VMworld you have the ability to join labs. VMware labs is an online nested VMware environment where you can feel and play with every product. It is a predefined environment where they guide you through the products via a manual or you can click around yourself. I think the labs are one of the best things VMware  has ever done for the community, I recommend all my customers to go online and train themselves.

What I don’t understand is why people go visit VMworld and do a lab, there is so much more to do that you can’t do when you’re not at VMworld. The labs are available 24/7/365 all year long. You can do a lab waiting for your plane to leave to VMworld (if we don’t get a laptop ban) or when you fly home. You can do them everywhere, why waste valuable time at VMworld?

Interested? Visit and signup. You never can have too much knowledge coming to VMworld. The labs at VMworld 2017, the ones the create for that occasion will be available some weeks afterwards. Today you find hundreds of others.


The band

The band is known by now, Blink-182 and Bleachers will play at the party. take a look at the party detail page for more information. Party details VMworld2017

The Bag

The first sighting of the bag was on twitter, so I’d share it with you as well.


San Francisco is small and most sight seeing things are around the corner. Las Vegas is different, there are many interesting things to see but not in walking distance and not for just a quick visit. Most sight seeings are at least an hour out.
There is one sight seeing that is around the corner, the Las Vegas sign so that is #1 to go see.
  1.  Las Vegas sign, just a bit before the hotel, it’s a 9 minute walk south coming from the hotel
  2. If you want to be the real tourist, do the Vegas guided tours, look them up at guided vegas tours asking tours are available at $40 or $89 depending on the time it takes.
  3. Something I think is cool is the Neon museum, ever wondered where all the cool sign of the old Las vegas stip went to? They were stored in the museum. check them out at Neon museum. They are located at 770 North Las Vegas Blvd 46 min by bus and 13 minutes by taxi.
  4. Who didn’t play pinball machines when they were young, well pretty close to the hotel is the pinball hall of fame. They are located at 1610 East Tropicana Ave. 9 minutes by taxi and 33 minutes by bus.
  5. Shooting range, perhaps this is more for us guys but if you look at The Vegas Machine Gun Experience you have a nice option for the days around VMworld. There are more shooting ranges around so look for the one that you like most.
  6. If you’re a military aircraft spotter you might want to head down the strip to Nellis, Green Flag exercise will be executed during VMworld with Red flag just ending on Friday before VMworld… perhaps add a few days heading to the conference and see fighter jets blast off?
  7. The National Atomic Testing museum is also in Vegas, want te experience the blast and learn about it’s origin .. can’t miss this one. It’s located at 755 E Flamingo Rd.

That’s all I can think of right now, enjoy preparing for VMworld and hope to see you there… I’m the guy with the Citrix bag.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.