Tonight I attended the inaugural meeting of the Cincinnati VMware user group. As first user group meetings go, it went pretty well. A little too much of the meeting was devoted to talking about organizational topics (with seemingly little point). There were about ten VMware representatives there (exaggerating only slightly). Tom MacKay from VMware talked about the newly released version 3 of their server virtualization products. The ESX Server 3i is a version of their virtualization product that will ship pre-installed in hardware, meaning you can just boot up a server and it will be ready to host virtual machines. Pretty cool. Tom also talked about a wide array of products they have to manage virtual servers. One of the most interesting is not new: VMotion. VMotion allows a virtual machine to move from one host server to another while the server keeps running. Very cool.
I was surprised by the attendance. I heard one of the organizers say there were 74 attendees, which seems about right based on my count early in the meeting. Having attended developer user groups for many years, it was a shock to see that many people interested in VMware. There have to be a lot more .NET developers in Cincinnati than people using VMware, but I don't think we've ever had that many people at a .NET user group meeting. I didn't see anyone I recognize from developer group meetings.
They gave away quite a few copies of VMware workstation and a handful of T-shirts. And they had some excellent pastries (from Panera Bread I believe). And to top it off, after the meeting much of the group moved to Dave and Busters for free food and an open bar (I'm assuming funded by VMware). It was interesting chatting with the other attendees and listening in to their conversations. Most groups I attend are for developers and these attendees were "system administrators"; it was good to hear their issues and how they were addressing them using VMware. I'll definitely plan to attend the next meeting.