Whether this is your first time or twelfth time at VMworld, it is important to have a goal when going to VMworld. It is not just about the swag and attending the parties. Remember, this is a huge learning opportunity. At the solutions exchange, ask questions, put them on the spot. The specialists are there to answer questions. See if you can get away with pulling the drive on some SAN arrays.
For me this year it is all about DR and storage. The market for host based storage has exploded over the last few years. From PernixData to VSAN. All flash and hybrid arrays have really taken off as well. There are some really awesome storage arrays like Tintri that makes life really simple. There are new players on the market and old dogs with new tricks.
Take things one day at a time. Take notes on technologies you need to follow up on. You may forget them by the end of the day due to the information overload at the conference.