If you have anything to do with infrastructure services in either the private or the public cloud, I’d recommend you get along to a UK VMUG meetup (http://vmug.org.uk).
The next event is in London on the 5th November with talks and demos from Microsoft (Server R2 and Windows Azure), Trend Micro, IOzig, Nutanix, Veeam etc. Also there are 2 hands-on lab sessions: building a complete SharePoint infrastructure in the Azure Public Cloud and Windows Server, System Center & Exchange. The only thing you need is a wireless enabled laptop, ideally 64-bit (not RT version of Windows 8). Bring the power supply.
To get a feel for what the meetups are like, have a look at this video from the Leeds meetup.