The Virtualization Technology User Group - 8th Annual Winter Warmer 2014 at Gillette Stadium, with >1,000 IT Pros!

A great collection of VTUG Winter Warmer 2014 Videos, thanks Chris Harney!

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It's cold. It's dark. It's foggy. It's winter, in New England. The perfect time to head on over to the Gillette Stadium to hang out with over a thousand other IT Professionals, and talk about virtualization!

C'mon, let's face it. We work in indoors, so does the weather really matter? I mean, is it that hard to traverse the cold, wet, and windy parking lot, getting to the warm, corporate-sponsored conference spaces, with free food all around, and the allure of winning an iPad Air, or Beats by Dr. Dre.

But it's not about the food and give-aways. It's about the people. The people you meet, face-to-face. Friends from past meet-ups, and new friends you meet over lunch and dinner. It's all good.

I've been attending such events for around two decades now, all the way back to the days of OS/2 email listserv's that became college campus user group meetings. Back to this year's platform-agnostic event that embraces all virtualization vendors. Think of VTUG as a friendly way to jump in and get to know the latest that's happening in the virtualization space, with some pretty deep/technical presentations and demonstrations.

Where else where you run into a guy who also podcasts, and enjoys talking to folks that are also enthusiastic about their professions, and their role in their enterprise? Yep, this is about "unicorns" in the workplace. Those who tend to go well above and beyond. If you can relate, check out the Geek Whisperer podcast:

Episode 33: Unicorn Husbandry, or working with employee evangelists by John Mark Troyer

and the appropriate follow-on episode featuring none other than famed virtualization blogger Chris Wahl (VCDX):

Episode 34: Interview with a Unicorn, or practitioner tips by Matthew Brender

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Who is Matthew Brender? He's the guy I happened to find myself seated next to, as we enjoyed food after the actual event had ended, swapping stories about our IT passions. Awesome! Jonathan Frappier was there with us as well (seen at right with me), so glad to get to talk to him for a bit again, along with key-noter Chris Colotti (seen in a Patriots Jersey at right)! What a fun dinner conversation was had.

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We had all enjoyed kicking back and recalling the great day we had just spent, including witnessing a wonderful home lab build demonstration by Mark Gabryjelski. He even had a $2000 home lab complete system give-away, for those who attended his standing room only sessions (panaramic photo below). Only those who filled out a card, in the sessions, were eligble. Good move Mark! His build, well suited for those studying for VCP, is now also added to my ever-growing list of whiteboxes over at at TinkerTry.com/homelabs.

I even got to spend some time with some of my colleagues at the IBM booth, and spotted Microsoft's IT Pro Guru himself, Dan Stolts.

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See also:

The Virtualization Technology Users Group Fall Forward 2013

Thought about attending virtualization user groups? Here’s a virtual tour of some of my recent positive experiences.

2014 Annual VTUG Winter Warmer - by Chris Colotti