VMworld 2012 ramped up Sunday afternoon with registration, then the Hands-on Labs (HOL) got underway.

As attendees landed in San Francisco throughout the day, the conversations turned to the excellent weather, dinner plans, and evening festivities where colleagues could catch up and talk tech. The VMworld Twitterverse was on fire.

But even before the welcome reception that afternoon, massive lines had built up at the HOL. Many were left frustrated by wait times–and again–attendees tweeted:

@jtroyer: “Advice: skip out of the 2-hr HOL VMworld line, go walk on the Embarcadero, squeeze in labs Weds-Thurs. Relax, rest, get ready.

HOL hours were eventually extended until 10pm, and balance was restored:

@JasonThoms: “VMworld hands on labs borked this morn, but fixed later and stayed open late for everyone.”

Around 4, the welcome reception kicked off in the Solutions Exchange space–where more than 250 companies showed off the latest virtualization and cloud infrastructure products and services. Skytap was situated at Booth 525 and ready to talk about our virtual private PaaS featuring Cloud Foundry, and ESXi and vSphere in Skytap Cloud.

Monday morning got everyone going with a much-anticipated keynote speech. Over 20,000 attendees watched, then gave a standing ovation to Paul Maritz, who transitioned the VMware leadership post to Pat Gelsinger. In addition to learning that vRAM licensing was now thing of the past, attendees were introduced to vCloud Suite (complete cloud infrastructure solution) and Cloud Ops (the new operating model).

Between speeches and sessions, people have been quite impressed with the Hang Space–the lounge and networking area where people can get themselves, and their devices, recharged. Big screens show TheCUBE interviews and live social media feeds. And among other diversions, I do believe I saw Rock ’em Sock ’em Robots at one table. Nice touch.

The CEO Roundtable got excellent reviews. The executive panel included Pat Gelsinger, Paul Maritz, Joe Tucci, Michael Dell, and Tom Georgens. Chris Anderson, Editor-in-Chief at Wired, was the moderator. Topics of discussion included the shift from the traditional to a mobile/remote workforce; the consumerization of IT; and IT security.

And the tchotchkes–oh, the tchotchkes. From t-shirts of every color and stick-on bow ties to cake pops, backpacks, and spongy toy muscle arms–attendees were having fun with their promotional merch.

Thursday I’ll have a recap of the next two event days. But in the meantime, you can get your VMworld fix on the following channels:

Twitter: The official VMworld hashtag is #vmworld

VMworld Bloggers: Read about or report on the event

VMworld Video: Watch the event

Discussion Forum: Talk with other IT professionals

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