VMworld 2018: 10 Wild And Wacky Scenes From VMware’s Conference

‘Sometimes what happens in Vegas, you take home,’ says VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger. Here are ten wild and wacky scenes from VMworld 2018 that will take you back.


Scenes From VMworld 2018

More than 22,000 customers, channel partners and executives flocked to Las Vegas last week to attend VMware's highly anticipated VMworld 2018, which was jam-packed with new products, technology alliances and strategy announcements.

For VMworld attendees however, there was much to do during the conference held at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino besides listening to the news announcements. Throughout VMworld 2018 people could be seen racing drones, shooting virtual hoops, listening to the youngest ever Nobel Prize winner speak and witnessing just how dedicated VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger is to his company. Forget the late-night parties, here are ten scenes at VMworld 2018 that will bring you back to Vegas.

Pat Gelsinger Tattoo

VMware's CEO wasn't fooling around when speaking about his long-term commitment to VMware during his keynote on stage.

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"What can I do to take my commitment to the next level? I went down the street to 'Bad-Ass Tattoo," said Gelsinger as he showed off a large VMware tattoo on his forearm to the thousands in attendance. "So it's time for all of us to take our commitment up a level. Sometimes what happens in Vegas, you take home."

Many in attendance initially thought the tattoo was a fake, until Gelsinger posted a photo on Twitter showing him getting the artwork done.

Sanjay Poonen One-Ups Gelsinger

One day after Gelsinger's tattoo unveiling, VMware's chief operating officer Sanjay Poonen took the stage to one-up his boss.

"I was so inspired by your tattoo that I decided to one-up you!" said Poonen, on stage during his keynote, which was followed by a large cheer from the crowd. "I thought one wasn't enough, so I was going to one-up you with, 'I love VMware, 20 years' [tattoo]."

To celebrate VMware's 20th anniversary, Poonen not only got a similar black 'VMware' tattoo on his forearm, but also a red heart-shaped 20th year anniversary tattoo on his other forearm to celebrate the milestone.

Drone Racing

Drone racing was one of the most popular attractions during the event. People were able to fly real drones in a large obstacle course to win prizes. A hologram of a drone (pictured here) is where hundreds of participants signed up to see if they could handle the physical course by first passing a drone flying virtual course.

Historic Chicken And Shoes

Historic memorabilia from VMware was on display in the Solution Exchange showcase area to celebrate the company's 20th anniversary during the conference.

The Rubber 'Virtual' Chicken was giving to former longtime VMware CEO Diane Greene during her birthday party in 2000. Greene is currently CEO for Google's cloud businesses.

The rare Converse Chuck Taylor shoes were sold at VMworld 2014 for $120 each. Only 24 pairs of the custom shoes were made, which quickly sold out at VMworld 2014.

Malala Yousafzai

Renowned women education activist and the youngest ever Nobel Prize laureate, Malala Yousafzai, spoke at VMworld 2018 about her life and the role technology has had in raising awareness for injustices and spreading education. Yousafzai spoke about when she began writing blogs in Pakistan during a time when daily executions were being held and schools were becoming banned.

"You are in a war zone," said Malala, on stage with VMware's Poonen. "I have lived through that, but when I look back I say, 'How did we survive through that?' I'm amazed by the courage of all those people who are going through wars and conflicts right now and are staying brave and strong. [Some] have also become refugees but are still not giving up and are hopeful. But technology plays a key role. This is a resource that we have got. Now we need to explore how we can use it for the benefit of society. And in education, it can play a big role. We've already seen that."

'Cloud City'

To represent VMware's cloud vision, the virtualization leader hosted a large area dubbed 'Cloud City' where attendees experienced hands-on training, conversations with early cloud adopters and learned ways of how to transform businesses with the latest cloud innovation. There was a large touch screen where people could test their cloud expertise around migration, operations, scaling and next-generation apps. For prizes, participants received sunglasses and drew from a grab bag of poker chips.

Virtual Basketball Contest

VMworld's gigantic Solutions Exchange showcase area was filled with a vast variety of entertainment from miniature golf and ping pong to arcade games and virtual basketball contests. For the virtual basketball contest, participants would hold an iPad in front of a real basketball hoop and flick a virtual basketball with their finger into the net.

Hoops For Charity

People were showing off their basketball shooting skills to raise money for charity hosted by Rubrik. For every basket made, $2 were donated to the Kevin Durant Charity Foundation that helps enrich the lives of at-risk youths from low-income backgrounds through educational, athletic and social programs. NBA superstar Kevin Durant became a board advisory and investor in Rubrik last year. Fellow NBA star and Golden State Warriors teammate Klay Thompson made an appearance at Rubrik's booth during VMworld.

Feeding The Monster

VMworld attendees could interact with Hewlett Packard Enterprise's Tame the IT Monster from the company's popular commercial. Participants tried to tame the red cartoon monster with their hands held above sensors as the monster on the screen mimicked the hand motions. HPE's Tame the IT Monster marketing push revolves around how HPE's OneView and OneSphere products solves the issue of complexity in IT.


Seeing dozens of businessmen and businesswomen passed out on beanbags in the middle of a conference is quite the sight. VMworld attendees typically have jammed packed schedules throughout the conference consisting of meetings, sessions and late-night dinners with little time to sit back and relax. VMware took the liberty of setting up hundreds of beanbags inside the Solutions Exchange area where people could rest in order to recharge for the day's agenda.