Wheels Down in Vegas! – vLab at EMC World, Day 1

Executing vLab at EMC World has become somewhat of a spring ritual for those of us involved in it every year.  Months of prep culminate in a pilgrimage to Las Vegas.  The journey starts with three days of intense testing, setup, testing, and more testing.  Then the doors open and hundreds of customers flow through over the 4 days of the show.  Each customer selects a lab demonstrating an EMC product – this lab is in reality a live virtual environment designed specifically for EMC World.  They take the lab and when complete (hopefully) walk out a little more informed than when they walked in.  If all goes well, the customers won’t even know most of us are there.  We live in the back of the room behind blocked out plexiglass – a hive of activity designed to keep everything running smoothly out front.  Helping to run vLab at EMCWorld is one of the most stressful weeks of the year.  It’s also one of the best demonstrations of teamwork I’ve been part of.  A small team comes together and works toward success.  No bullshit.  Just get the job done.  And we do.

This beginning of this year’s show will be remembered for terrible travel experiences.  Missed connections, plane re-routes, and hours sitting on the tarmac marred most of our trips to Las Vegas.  I was one of the lucky ones, arriving on time without any issues.  Some landed at different airports to refuel, others were forced to LA and took a bus to Las Vegas.  Connections were missed, sleep was lost.  Most of us were at the Palazzo / Venetian by late Thursday or early Friday and were able to meet for breakfast before getting down to work.  It is an awesome thing to see friends and colleagues that you work with year round, always from a distance.  EMC World brings us together – literally and figuratively – to face the challenge of delivering vLab to EMC’s customers.

After breakfast we headed off to a conference room at an area data center to meet and begin testing.  We go over various operational plans, test plans, communication, failover / failback contingencies.  We QA the lab content, making sure the students will have a clean experience.  We test, test, and test again.

Our fearless leader makes speeches – note the vLab SuperMan T-Shirt!

Tomorrow we will be in a conference room at the Sands Expo.  Building the show floor will commence overnight – luckily others take care of that but we still make sure walls, tables, network, and power are put in the right places for the lab layout.  vLab at EMC World is starting to come together!

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