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VMworld 2013 Blog Series: Breakout Sessions

Posted by jtroyer on Jun 28, 2013 2:26:05 PM
10 years of Defying Convention


To celebrate our 10th annual VMworld, each week we'll be looking at a different facet of our event, from the evolution in VMware technology to our place as one of the world's largest IT conferences. For updates on VMworld 2013, please follow @VMworld on Twitter.


The Breakout Sessions are at the heart of VMworld.

Breakout Sessions have dynamic speakers, provide rich content, and spark constructive discussions. To wring every ounce out of the VMworld experience, attendees pore over the Content Catalog for the more valuable and interesting Breakout Sessions, sketch out alternate plans of attack in the Schedule Builder, and carefully fill their calendars – all the while making sure there’s enough time to travel between rooms, hit the Solutions Exchange, and take a break every now and then for some food and some socializing.



Back in 2004, VMworld was positioned to be a user conference with more than 60 sessions.

Now going into its 10th year, it has grown to be one of the largest virtualization-specific conferences, offering more than 350 sessions. Although the purpose of VMworld has remained relatively consistent, the development of sessions is far from static. To put its growth into perspective, consider the number of sessions that were offered each year. Starting in 2010 we began to repeat popular sessions more often (so stay alert for openings in your schedule on Wednesday and Thursday!); those repeats aren’t even counted in the table below, which makes the growth of the conference even more impressive.


YearUS SessionsEurope Sessions
2004> 60
2005> 110
2006> 290
2007> 210
2008> 300> 120
2009> 300> 140
2010> 170> 115
2011> 175> 200
2012> 330> 200



The topics of the sessions have evolved with the industry and the technology.

Tracks ranged from virtual infrastructure solutions to managing enterprise desktop to architecting the data center. The wide variety of high-impact Breakout Sessions throughout the past 9 years makes it almost unfair to ask attendees to choose a single favorite. While there is much to share, here are some comments past attendees made about sessions that left a lasting impression:


Petri Rantanen: “The best session was End User Computing Summit, there where all those are working also in the EUC side and talk and share ideas with them (also with the VMware).”


Todd Lewey: “I will go with the Scott Lowe and Forbes Guthrie session on vSphere design, the content was amazing, the flow of the presentations and discussions was very fluid, and both speakers were very informative. Mostly the take away from this session was the speakers, Scott and Forbes are very energetic and passionate about what they do, seeing techs like this doing what they do, is very infectious and carries over after the entire conference.”


Benny Hauk: “Two sessions in 2006 with Mendel Rosenblum. One was one he led, the other was a panel discussion he was on (the panel was incredible A-listers, even the moderator was a tech writer everyone knew). I remembered thinking, 'this shouldn’t be crammed into this tiny room, it should be in the keynote room!'”


Daunce: “Best session: Ask the experts. While waiting for the session to start, most of the experts were talking amongst themselves, but Scott Lowe was walking through the crowd asking them how their day had been. Scott Lowe is awesome.”


Andrew Mauro: I remember a session in 2009 at VMworld EU, it was about the virtualization of the mobile OS… was funny and strange… because so futuristic.



But it's not just about the Breakout Sessions.

However, sessions are not the only time to gain new knowledge; year after year attendees have reported incidental educational opportunities while interacting with fellow peers between sessions. This is no surprise, considering growing thousands of VMware customers, partners, engineers, product experts and IT professionals converge in single conference campus in US and in Europe for three to four days.



YearUS AttendeesEurope Attendees
2004> 1,600
2005> 3,500
2006> 6,000
2007> 10,800
2008> 14,000> 4,500
2009> 12,500> 4,700
2010> 17,000> 6,000
2011> 19,000> 6,500
2012> 21,000> 7,000


Anticipating over 21,000 attendees for VMworld US 2013 and over 8,000 attendees for VMworld Europe 2013, we expect the Breakout Sessions will be once again one of the highlights of the conference, but networking opportunities will also surface in the Hang Space, at the VMworld Party, at meals, and between Breakouts. We're glad to have you back again in 2013!


What was your favorite VMworld Breakout Session? 


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