My Thoughts on the VMware vExpert Program

I’ve just completed my first tour of duty as a VMware vExpert, which is an annual title granted by VMware to those who essentially have given back in some shape to the community as a whole. In my case, I would suppose that blogging and being a Leader of the Chicago VMware User Group are my main ways of trying to evangelize a joy for virtualization, but that isn’t to say that it’s the only way to be recognized. Far from it!

In fact, John Troyer, the effervescent Social Media Evangelist at VMware and a man whom I hold in the highest regard, has clearly stated:

“If you’re passionate about virtualization, cloud, and building the new software-defined data center, you’ve probably shown it in some way just by doing your job with passion” (source)

I’m willing to bet that a large quantity of folks in the greater community have done just this. So, perhaps I can give you a nudge in the right direction by sharing my thoughts on my first year of being a VMware vExpert to entice you out of the shadows and into a vExpert application. 🙂

The Year at a Glance

spongebob-micOver the course of 2012, I received a large quantity of really interesting emails from the vExpert program to participate in beta evaluations of various VMware products and solutions. The company is keen to hear what a vExpert thinks about their road map, user experience, and pain points solved by their solutions, because they know that a vExpert is someone who is genuinely interested in virtualization. Not that a non-vExpert isn’t, but chances are someone in this program will make the time to really give an honest review. If you want to have greater positive influence over the direction that VMware is going, it doesn’t hurt to be a vExpert.

To that end, VMware also provides the vExpert community with a handful of 1-year Not For Resale (NFR) licenses for a wide variety of VMware products. These can be used in your lab, such as a work lab, home lab, or the infamous Autolab to play around with products you might not normally have access to. It’s a great perk to have, and much less annoying than the 60 day evaluation licenses that always seem to expire on you at the least helpful time. 🙂

There’s also some softer perks. My favorite is the vExpert Meeting at VMworld to finally get some face time with all those guys and gals you chat with on Twitter and in the private vExpert forums. Last year, the room was enormous and we filled it to capacity with hundreds of vExperts. I had some great conversations with other passionate virtualization folks – it’s truly a solid, plugged-in community.

Want To Be a vExpert?

I’d say go for it! The worse that happens is you don’t make it, and there’s no public list of rejected applicants, so no one will even know. And if you do make it … yay!

Be aware that the extended deadline is Monday, April 22nd at midnight PDTHead on over to the Application Form and strut your stuff. 🙂