VMworld Hands On Labs problems

I’m at the VMworld 2012 conference in San Francisco. One of the historic benefits of VMworld conferences in the past have been their hands on labs. Not this year. This year their labs have been riddled with performance issues and customer frustration.

On Sunday, I and about 500 other attendees stood in line for 2.5 hours to enter Hands On Labs before being told that we should expect an additional 3 hour wait. At that point, most of us who had not yet entered the waiting/staging room of HOL gave up.

I returned two hours later to try again (at 4 pm) and was told the wait was still 3 hours, which was 7 pm, one hour before HOL was scheduled to close for the day at 8 pm.

Waiting in line for an hour is reasonable — waiting 5.5 hours is unreasonable. I flew in a day early with the expectation of completing 4 to 6 labs in the 9 allotted hours. I completed 0. VMware’s inability to meet Sunday’s HOL demand devalued my VMworld experience by 20 percent.

Not willing to give up, I skipped two lecture sessions on Monday to give HOL another try. While the line was much shorter both times (seated in 30 to 45 minutes), not once could I get a lab to launch.

Both times I worked with multiple VMware HOL representatives who tried to get me into a lab. The first time we troubleshot the issue for 15 minutes before I decided to try again later. When I returned, we spent 1.5 hours trying to get me into any lab.

All in all, I have spent 7 hours of my time at VMworld waiting to do any Hands On Lab. That’s a lot of waiting with no results.

My request is for VMware fix its issues and to extend its HOL to midnight on Thusday to make up for the problems they’ve had on Sunday and Monday. Even better, provide us the ability to remotely take their labs from home at our leisure at no extra cost.