It’s my favorite time of the year again! Every year, in the first week of November, thousands of likeminded people gather in Barcelona for VMware Explore. I have to admit I had mixed feelings coming to the event this year, with the pending acquisition. Those feelings proved to be very wrong!

Travel & VMUG reception

For me the event started on Sunday. After flying in from Brussels - on a packed flight - I headed down to Fira to pick up my badge and backpack. There were already a ton of people hanging out, which boosted my energy a lot.

After getting my badge and dropping off my stuff at the hotel, I headed out for dinner with my colleague Evert Amssoms and my partners in crime, Jens Herremans and Kristof Asaert. When in Barcelona, you always need to grab some Tapas, right? :) Afterwards, Jens, Kristof and I headed out to the VMUG Leader Reception. To our surprise, Hock Tan was there delivering a speech and talking to the VMUG leaders about the future. It was very reassuring that he re-itterated his commitment to the community and that he does see great value in it. After the speech, we had the chance to have a conversation with him in a smaller setting. We got to pick his brain about his plans for VMware in the future and while I can’t say anything about it, there are some good things coming for sure!

During the event, there was also a magician performing - first on stage and then he made his way around every table. Very fun.

The chance to network with other leaders is invaluable, it’s very energizing to hear their stories!


The Hub

Monday is when I first headed out to the venue, The Expo wasn’t open yet so I headed out to The Hub. After entering through the virtual forest with relaxing bird noises, I was greeted with a hall that reminded me of the VM Village in 2019. This was a very welcome change to me, as this was something I was really missing last year. It’s great that the community had such a large space to hang out and network.

The VMTN community theater was back, as well as the {Code} theater. Unlike last year, they each got their own stage again! The Hands on labs, VMware rewards, Odyssey, Customer Experience, … were also located in The Hub, so there was always something to do or see.

The Expo

Tuesday, after the keynote, is when The Expo first opened up. Like last year, the VMUG team called on VMUG leaders to man the booth and help out when we could. I had so much fun there last year that I signed up for the first slot! Together with Kristof and Jens we manned the booth for an hour and talked to a lot of people. I was honestly surprised that there were still a lot of people that had never even heard of VMUG! We still have work to do ;)


The Expo did feel a bit smaller than last year, but there still was a lot to see. Veeam brought a spot robot, VMware had a mini lego factory running on vPLCs and much more!


I try to spend most of my time at the conference talking to people or exploring new things. Most of the sessions were recorded so I can always watch them at home. That doesn’t mean I didn’t attend any sessions though! There’s a few sessions that were not recorded that I didn’t want to miss, also some sessions that I really wanted to attend in person.

A few that really stood out were:

  • Valentin Bondzio - Extreme Performance Series: Advanced Performance Tutorial (CEIT1570BCN)
  • William Lam’s Homelab session in the {Code} theater (not recorded)
  • Gareth Edwards - Why do I need AI in my datacenter? - Highly recommend you watch this session if it comes by a local VMUG. We got Arnold to sing Master of Puppets!
  • Johan Van Amersfoort - Homelabs the VCDX way - very engaging session, shame I had to leave early for a customer meeting
  • Alan Renouf - VMware Edge Cloud Orchestrator Edge made easy - saw some very interesting things in there!

Of course there are many many more great sessions so make sure you go through the video library!


As is customary, there were a lot of parties going on at Explore this year. Unlike previous years, I didn’t really attend a whole lot of them. But there were some that I just couldn’t miss! The first one being the BeneLux reception in CDLC on Tuesday. Apart from the fact that it’s a good place to talk to other people from my area, we were sponsoring the event this year as well with VMUG BE and VMUG LUX! Very happy that we can give something back and make this possible!

After attending the BeNeLux reception, we headed over to the vExpert gathering. This is probably the most interesting/important event for me during the conference. It’s the perfect place to network with other vExperts and get to know them a bit better or meet them for the first time. Just like last year, I had a great time.

Thanks again to Corey Romero, for all the work he does for the vExperts and for getting this organized!

All in all it was a great conference, I had a lot of fun meeting new people and reconnecting with others! I’m already looking forward to Explore next year!