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Why Am I Here?

January 3, 2011 Leave a comment

I sometimes look around at the people in my department (IT dept.)  and wonder how they ended up in this line of work.  I would call a large portion of the people I work with “Day Techs”.  A Day Tech is someone who is only technical during the day.  After hours, these folks want nothing to do with technology.  For them, the IT field is just a job, a paycheck, a means of putting food on the table.    Some of the folks I work with only have a home computer so they can do remote support.  That’s how disengaged they are from technology.  For me, it was pretty obvious that I would work with computers in some fashion.

When I was an early teenager, I got interested in computers.  I had the usual Commodores and a few different PC types.  I would take them apart, sometimes breaking them in the process, and then either fix them or put them back together.  I parlayed this interest into my first job: bench tech.  My job was to build/repair computers at a small consumer electronics store in Berkeley, CA.   I got pretty good at it and wound up working for Ziff-Davis Labs.  Talk about a kid in a candy store.  All the computers, components, and software to play with.

For those who don’t remember, back in the 90’s Ziff-Davis published at least a dozen computer magazines in the United States.  The two most prominent were PC Magazine and Computer Shopper.  Throw in a few weeklies such as PC Week and Mac Week and you get the idea of the caliber of the organization.  Pre-Internet, this was where you got all your computer news, prices/ads, etc.   Well, given a dozen titles you can imagine how expensive it would be to outfit each magazine with a full lab.  The answer was ZD Labs.  It was a large facility in Silicon Valley that the magazines used for specialized and/or large scale testing.  The lab was outfitted with a few hundred computers dedicated to network testing, a few large format servers (think Sun, DEC, etc) for business computing tests, and all sorts of goodies for everything else.  There was a Faraday cage for testing emissions, a modem lab that used the same test equipment as the telecoms, a black room with a shock table to test monitors…it was glorious to someone like me.

I matured a little and joined the corporate side of things.  Not bad at first as this position involved international travel.  The downside (and a big one at that) was that all IT support was handled out of San Francisco.  I learned what it meant to work for a 24/7 company the hard way.  Somewhere around the world at any given time, one of the company’s offices was open for business and someone always had a problem with their computer. And for a while, I was the ONLY support staff.  I don’t think I’ve gotten a full night’s sleep ever since.

Moving along, I found myself working for a municipal government in Arizona.  I came here in 1998 so there was a lot to be done to prepare for Y2K.  Things slowed down for a few years but then came along a technology that I found quite interesting.  My manager also agreed that it was a good area to research.  That technology was virtualization and the product was ESX.  We started out small.  More so just to get some experience with it and see if it would find a place in our data center.  By now, the answer is an obvious “yes”, but back in the ESX 2.x days we weren’t so sure.

As we grew, the need for a SAN became obvious so we acquired one.  It wasn’t a quick purchase by any means.  We did our research, talked to vendors, etc.  When it came time to pull the trigger, I got lucky again and got to play storage admin for a while.  I learned about Cisco MDS, fibre channel, HP EVA, and a few other technologies.  Fun times.

We eventually hired a storage administrator and I went back to just being a server admin.  Boring.  Fast forward 4yrs and a new technology/product caught my attention.  It looked to be a game changer just like virtualization.  That product was Cisco UCS.  If you’ve been following my blog, then you know what the acquisition and implementation processes were like.  UCS and VMware have been my focal points of interest for a while now, but like most senior staff, once something is fully implemented it’s time to turn it over for day-to-day operations.    That is where I am with UCS and VMware.  I am still considered 3rd level support, but my focus has been diverted to new, less exciting initiatives.

I’ve noticed that I will develop an interest in something, convince others it’s a good thing, bring it in, and then turn it over.  In between finding these new interests is a period of non-interest.  I find myself not so motivated.  In fact, I can almost call myself a “Day Tech”.   The passion for IT has gone out of me.   So I’ve thought long and hard.  What would keep me motivated?  What am I passionate about?  Three things have come to mind: virtualization, storage, and UCS.  You should be able to see where this is going now.

After much consideration, I have decided to leave public service and head back into the private sector.  Next week, I join VCE as a Principal Program Manger.  I won’t be in as technical a position as the vSpecialists, but I’ll still have my hands in the pot.  I’m very much looking forward to this transition.

I learned a lot here at the City.  I am going to miss the people.  A lot of armchair quarterbacks complain about the inefficiencies of government.  While there are a few, we do strive to provide “bang for the buck” and I must say we are darn good at it.

But I need to get my passion back.  I need to feel that motivation again.  I need to move on.

I’ll still keep blogging.  I have a number of “Life in the Day” topics that I never wrote about.  These aren’t technology focused.  Instead, they are focused on events/happenings that occur in the life of an IT admin.  And maybe, if I am lucky, my new position will allow me to blog about what I learn at VCE.

Categories: Life

My Stats for 2010

January 2, 2011 Leave a comment

Got this in an email from WordPress.  Pretty cool that they keep stats like this.  Here’s how I did for 2010.

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The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Fresher than ever.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 3,600 times in 2010. That’s about 9 full 747s.

In 2010, there were 33 new posts, not bad for the first year! There were 22 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 8mb. That’s about 2 pictures per month.

The busiest day of the year was October 27th with 104 views. The most popular post that day was Does ESX lack storage resiliency?.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were twitter.com, vlp.vsphere-land.com, thevpad.com, definethecloud.net, and en.wordpress.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for datacenter, matt mancini vmware, pdu, cisco ucs, and ucs f0327.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

Does ESX lack storage resiliency? October 2010
3 comments

2

Week One of Cisco UCS Implementation Complete July 2010
2 comments

3

My Thoughts on Our Cisco UCS Sales Experience August 2010
2 comments

4

About April 2010

5

First Impressions of VMware CapacityIQ October 2010
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Categories: Uncategorized