Las Vegas and VMworld 2008

Last month we were lucky enough to go to Las Vegas. I went to attend the VMworld 2008 conference, the largest gathering of virtualization professionals in the world. It seemed too good an opportunity to miss, so Vic came along too.

Bally's, Paris and Planet Hollywood

We flew via Chicago, and had added a couple of extra days on at the start of the week so we could get some time to look around Vegas. We were staying at The Venetian hotel on the main strip in Vegas. Fantastic hotel, and our room was great with a lounge area and bedroom both with large TVs.

The Venetian is an experience in itself, having replicas of famous Venetian buildings outside, along with a canal complete with gondolas which continues inside alongside a shopping centre.

The Grand Canal at The Venetian

On the Saturday afternoon we went on a helicopter trip over the Hoover Dam and into the Grand Canyon. Neither of us had ever been in a helicopter before so it was a new experience. There were 7 in the helicopter including the pilot and we had a commentary pointing out places of interest as we flew over the Hoover Dam and saw its new road bridge being constructed.

Landing in the Grand Canyon

We landed in the Canyon for half an hour for a glass of champagne and a small picnic before heading back to Vegas. We approached the city as the sun set, giving a great view of the Vegas Strip in the dark.

The conference started on the Monday and lasted until Friday afternoon. Each day saw an early start with the keynote speeches starting at 8am, and most days lasting until 5pm. I attended mostly technical sessions, along with a few about the future direction of VMware and their products. There were 14.000 attendees, the scale of the conference was quite astonishing. The lunchroom alone was the size of several aircraft hangers.

We also visited the Atomic Testing Museum, which was interesting and showed a different side to Nevada.

The Fountains at The Bellagio

We had a look at quite a few other hotels on the Strip and watched the famous fountains outside the Bellagio hotel. Vegas is a very strange place but we quite enjoyed the feeling of being in a city where almost everyone was a visitor. We had a look round some of the casinos, but didn’t gamble, we were too busy spending our money on food and shopping.

See more photos in my Las Vegas album on Flickr.