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It may be triple digits outside of Mandalay Bay, but the real heat is percolating inside through the halls of VMworld 2018. Day 2 of the conference did not disappoint, matching the fervor and excitement that embodied yesterday and actually improving upon it. We know it’s tough to see it all at VMworld, even though the odds are in your favor—after all, possible does begin with you. With that said, we’re here to recap Day 2 of the conference just in case you missed out on anything.

Once again, VMworld 2018 began the day with a rousing, riveting and truly inspiring General Session. Today’s was entitled “Pioneers of the Possible,” which focused on the vital role technology plays in society now that the world is becoming more digital and how it can lift up and empower people far and wide. VMware COO Sanjay Poonen owned the stage and came out swinging, rocking a similar VMware “tattoo” to Pat Gelsinger’s from the day before. During the session, Sanjay led several exciting panel discussions that included Brinks’ Rohan Pal, Sky’s David Matthews, National Commercial Bank’s Ramon Lewis, DXC Technology’s Maria Pardee and Adobe’s John Mockett.

VMworld 2018

During these illuminating panel discussions, Sanjay and guests chatted about everything from the journey to the cloud, modernizing the data center, the digital workspace and the future of collaboration. All of these discussions threaded back to VMware’s vision of being the essential, ubiquitous digital foundation for all its customers for any device, application and cloud. Of particular note was the hybrid cloud option being extremely compelling and economically attractive for enterprises, echoing Pat’s assertion from yesterday that VMware’s next act is the “multi-cloud era.”

Things kicked up an extra notch when Sanjay was joined by Malala Yousafzai, Pakistani activist for female education, Oxford student and the youngest person ever awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. As co-founder of the Malala Fund, she is building a global movement of support for girls’ education. Malala shared her perspective on the challenges that girls face in their communities as well as the bright opportunities to create greater global access to education for all children.

VMworld 2018

After the General Session, a healthy chunk of this year’s 21,000+ VMworld 2018 attendees headed off to the Hands-on Lab (HOL) area to discover, explore and get hands-on with some of VMware’s revolutionary technology. With a grand total of 4,543 labs and 48,252 virtual machines, the Hands-on Labs have been a main attraction at this year’s event. Some of today’s tops labs included uncovering new features in vSphere 6.7, vRealize Operations and vRealize Log Insight, along with introductory labs around getting started with vSAN 6.7, VMware NSX data center for vSphere, Horizon 7 for Enterprise and VMware Cloud on AWS.

The Hands-on Labs went absolutely swimmingly, minus a brief invasion from Darth Vader’s army of Stormtroopers who marched the HOL floor and made sure everyone was on their best VMworld behavior. The Stormtroopers were just one of today’s surprise and delights—attendees were also treated to some delicious rolled ice cream and a Rat Pack cocktail bar, a standout of the Hall Crawl through the Solutions Exchange that concluded Day 2.

VMworld 2018

There are still two more days left of VMworld 2018 and we’ve got more surprises coming your way. Be sure to make the most of your VMworld 2018 experience by keeping tabs on your progress in the VMworld Challenge. You can earn some awesome swag or choose to give back via Kiva microloans simply by completing achievements. The VMworld 2018 mobile app and kiosks throughout the show can give you the scoop on your progress and how much free stuff you qualify for. May the force be with you until tomorrow for Day 3 of VMworld!