Guess Who’s Baaack?! at (VMworld)ware Explore!!

Guess Who’s Baaack?! at (VMworld)ware Explore!!

Mobile Jon's back at (VMworld)ware Explore!!

Four long years ago, I made my VMworld debut as I wrote about in a past article. It was a pretty crazy ride, which is where we will start this VMware Explore article talking about how VMworld gave birth to Mobile Jon. We will segue into talking about what my experiences have been with VMworld overall, and finish up with a small preview into my amazing session coming up at VMworld. Let’s get this started!

VMworld Has a Child Named Mobile Jon

Let’s cover a bit of history. I was never a huge fan of conferences and never really attended them. The truly amazing AirWatch Connect made me obsessed with conferences. For those that are unfamiliar, AW Connect was a neat little conference in Atlanta every year until 2016. It was all hosted in a hotel where a small close-knit group of administrators had a blast. For me, it was the gold standard of conferences. I even had the pleasure of presenting for the first time at AirWatch Connect 2016 with a really smart guy Adarsh Kesari (he probably forgets, but its cool). We talked about App Protection Policies in Microsoft with AirWatch, which is an area I still specialize in today.

VMworld 2017 is the Beginning

Once VMware bought AirWatch, they merged the conferences into VMworld in 2017. That was something super overwhelming to me. I was a mobile guy and going to VMworld was all over the place for me. I couldn’t get past the idea that mobile was a VERY small part of this monstrous conference. There was also this being the first time I ever went to Vegas, most of the AirWatch Connect people were not there, and even the expo was almost an afterthought. In 2017, I really didn’t get it. Jon was not a big picture guy. I was…

I felt like I had to defend the “wall” of mobility at this conference with big mean scary Horizon, NSX, HCI, and blah blah. It was a tough year in 2017 for AirWatch engineers/architects/etc. We were getting our platform merged, VIDM was being introduced (roughly around that time), and it was becoming a scary new place.

Meeting a few AirWatch guys in a SEG troubleshooting session that urged me to start a blog was the climatic event of my mobile career. I had never really thought about it, but I did it right after VMworld 2017. I think we all know where things went from there.

VMworld 2018 Becomes Pivotal

By the time VMWorld 2018 comes around, I would have 17 blog posts in the year since VMWorld 2017. The 18th post would cover my amazingly lucky opportunity to speak at VMworld. I got the chance to present with Prab Kalra about “Delivering Seamless and Secure Access to Apps and Data.”

In that time, I created my first shirts, bought my logo, polos, etc. to create a persona which is a big part of who I am. Mobile guys don’t get a ton of affirmation, but meeting people in person who came up to me to tell me how helpful my blog has been to them was just next level. I think the best thing that can happen to any blogger is to hear that they matter. My philosophy of demystifying complicated VMware technologies has become relevant to people in my industry means the world to me.

We don’t need to spend too more time talking about how VMworld formed me. Building that confidence at VMworld would let me present at many other conferences like EUC Day, VMworld 2021, Dell Tech World, and more. To say VMworld means something to me is an understatement. It’s where I met my best friend (technically that was at AirWatch Connect), I formed an identity, and I found a voice. So, thanks VMworld and RIP.

Experiences at VMworld Over the Last Few Years

I’ve had interesting experiences over the last few years. So, when we think about what VMworld does for us we have to look at the different aspects of VMworld and soon to be VMware Explore:

  • Labs
  • The Expo
  • Meeting VMware Engineers/Product Managers
  • Sessions and their Content
  • Parties
  • Certifications
  • Engaging with Our Peers

Some of the things that I enjoy most is sort of just “shooting the shit” at the VMware booth and bouncing some ideas around. I’ve made some good friends over the years and I expect 2022 will be more of the same. So many new faces have joined VMware and that means its time to form new relationships.

I sort of hate collecting certifications, but I do love shotgunning tests to update them just for fun. As someone who is neuro-divergent and tests horribly, I love how good I test with Workspace ONE tests. I was one of the first WS1 Master Specialists because I popped up at VMworld and just crushed both tests.

I also loved checking out the labs to try out technologies that my companies could never afford like NSX. It’s interesting to see how various technologies layer into ESX/vSphere. I think it’s a blast overall.

I definitely think checking out the expo and engaging with people in general is a way that ideas are born. There is tremendous potential at VMware conferences to see what partners are out there and how we can form ideas to solve business issues.

Mobile Jon’s VMware Explore 2022 Session

At VMware Explore 2022, I will be presenting with a close friend who I have been so lucky to mentor for the last few years in Alex Olinger. I’ve been lucky enough to work closely with Alex at two companies now and watch his growth.

Firstly, let’s call it out. The PEOPLES CHAMP, Mobile Jon would NOT be denied. I am ONE of 6 non-VMware presenters with Workspace ONE sessions:

Our session [EUSB1580US]: Riding a Cloud to Elevate the User Experience with Workspace ONE is something we covered at EUC Day over the last few years which I think people will be really interested in.

Our concept is interesting. Imagine you’re a small business, which doesn’t have an on-premises footprint, but you want to do some real adulting. Well, I am doing real adulting now and we have been for a few years.

We covered the technology in detail back in 2020, but basically the idea is we do the following:

  • Extend Azure AD to a Cloud Directory Service
  • Deliver SCEP certificate services via Azure App Services powered by SCEPMan
  • Automated User/Group Provisioning
  • Leverage Okta Workflows to unify capabilities
  • Leverage Workspace ONE Access and Workspace ONE Intelligence to deliver a consistent user experience
  • Deliver Near Zero Touch Provisioning for PCs with Azure AD Join
  • Leverage Okta for Password-Free Authentication via Okta Verify
  • End-to-End consistency via Azure AD Groups Synchronized across Workspace ONE UEM, Access, Okta, and More
  • Zero Trust architecture

I have no doubt that the content is going to pop and standout as something different than even small business can achieve. It represents the modern cloud world we live in, which enabling others to be seamless and secure.

Final Thoughts

As I covered, VMworld is special to me. Sometimes I haven’t fully appreciated it because of a veiled sense of trying to protect my fellow mobile engineers. Additionally, as someone with ADHD I can “sometimes” be misunderstood. I believe that VMworld has a sense of community that can be infinitely special to me and others if used correctly. I implore you as a vExpert to use the time well and take advantage of the time. You can grow into something more if you put in the effort and have the desire to elevate yourself.

I welcome everyone to come and engage me at VMware Explore. If I can help you, I will. Let me help you
“explore” your untapped potential. People like me LOVE to solve problems. It’s fun and trust me we all need more fun. Let’s connect and see how you can advance your career through community.



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