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Dear Diary, Why Doesn’t Anybody at Work Like Me?, or, How to Overcome SMB Virtualization Hurdles with VMware Go Pro

By: Andy the Angry IT Guy

Editor’s note: This is the eleventh in a series of posts we’ll be running from “Andy,” an anonymous IT administrator working for a mid-sized organization located somewhere in the American Midwest. In his previous post, Andy discussed how the new VMware Go Pro has given him much deeper insight into his virtual infrastructure—and also went on a strange tangent about beta testing, King’s Quest VI, and the pilot episode of LOST.

Today, Andy has agreed to share an excerpt from his diary—excuse us, his “journal”—that details, among other topics, some of his initial fears about virtualizing his organization’s physical infrastructure.

After much internal debate, I’ve agreed to do something that I never thought I would—or could—do.

I’ve agreed to share an excerpt from my super-secret diary journal.

It took a free pass to VMworld San Francisco, plus airfare, lodging, and a private tour of the Skywalker Ranch with Carrie Fisher, but the VMware folks finally got me to come around.

What follows is an excerpt from my diary journal at a particularly dark time in my life. The year was 2011. I had been recently hired to oversee the entire IT infrastructure of an anonymous mid-sized organization located somewhere in the American Midwest. Our servers were having serious performance and reliability issues, and, upon my hiring, I was immediately tasked to fix them. What’s more, I was working under serious budget limitations, so my options were quite limited.

I was vaguely familiar with virtualization at the time, but it didn’t seem to be a feasible option because of the prohibitive up-front costs involved. The more I explored other options, though, the more I realized that virtualization really was my best option. Virtualizing our infrastructure was undoubtedly the quickest and most efficient avenue for improving overall IT performance—but there were just so many hurdles to overcome, from convincing my boss of its cost-effectiveness to figuring out how to set it up myself with no previous experience.

Anyway, here it is – I’ve redacted a few of the more…personal portions of this entry, but it’s otherwise unchanged from what I originally wrote last year:

Dearest Diary,

What a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day! Life isn’t fair, diary—but at least I have you. I just started my new job last week, and everybody is already yelling at me!

Also, that growth on my foot keeps getting bigger. Last night, I even—

[SECTION REDACTED]

Anyway, back to work. My boss keeps reminding me that I’m “here on a contract basis, and that contract by no means signifies permanent employment.” My coworkers all glare at me whenever I work up the bravery to venture out from my cube, and accuse me of ineptitude because Outlook is loading emails slowly, Adobe keeps crashing, their Office apps all seem to be infected with a virus… the list goes on, diary!

The only coworker that will so much as smile at me is Liz – this sweet, rather dreamy young woman that works in our accounting department. In fact, I think I’ll write a quick sonnet that describes how Liz makes me feel—

[SECTION REDACTED]

Liz aside, though, I didn’t realize I walked into such a bubbling cauldron of dysfunction and general misery when I took this job. My boss was all smiles when he hired me—told me that he ran a “well-oiled machine” and that I’d just need to ensure that things kept running smoothly… I CRY FOUL, SIR! You knew perfectly well what a snake pit this place was when you hired me. Some forewarning would have been nice!

Anyway, here I am, charged with improving our servers’ performance with no real budget to speak of. My fellow IT friends keep talking up virtualization—but they’re all working at much bigger companies, with budgets to match. I’m not about to march into my boss’ office and suggest spending that kind of money—certainly not on something with which I have no previous experience!

I just don’t know what to do! If only my boss and coworkers knew me like you do, diary. Things would be much better that way. The only solution I can think of – virtualization – is too expensive, and I don’t even know how it works. This is like starting to date all over again! Now if you’ll excuse me, dear diary, I’m going to go cry myself to sleep, like always. :(

Your Friend Forever,

Andy

What a difference a year can make! While I still generally cry myself to sleep, IT performance problems at work have seemingly vanished. It wasn’t soon after that heart-wrenching post that I discovered VMware Go Pro. Not only did it offer a cost effective, subscription-based service tailored for small budgets like mine, but it also included a series of wizards that made the virtualization process simple and straightforward.

Once the IT Advisor scanned my network, it made a number of extremely useful recommendations—and led my boss to think that I actually did have some prior experience with virtualization. It turns out that we already had several machines that would work great as virtualization hosts, which nobody had previously realized. VMware Go Pro’s IT Advisor picked right up on that, and it made for a fairly seamless transition when I deployed our first virtualization host (or “hypervisor” as all us extremely experienced virtualization guys say) in half an hour.  And then I created the first VMs on our network (a process that took just under a minute, by the way!).  And when I first used VMware Go Pro, I was even able to get virtualized using a free trial so I didn’t have to ask my boss for more money until I could already prove it was worth it.

We’ve added a number of additional VMs to our system over the past year. I’ve received a number of helpful tips from both the IT Advisor and the VMware Go online community that have ensured our deployment is in line with industry standards, which has resulted in minimal troubleshooting issues.

My boss still finds reason to gripe, but my work in virtualizing part of our infrastructure secured permanent employment for me here. The rest of my coworkers remain largely indifferent to IT, which suits me just fine. Except for Liz from accounting, that is. She’s always quick with a smile. One of these days, I’ll work up the courage to ask her out. But that’s between me and my diary journal.

Enough of this, though! If you’re in an IT department facing a similar budget/IT performance crunch, I highly recommend checking out VMware Go Pro.

You can see them at the following sessions at VMworld 2012 next week:

Creating a Highly Profitable Virtualization Practice with VMware Go Pro

VMware Go: The Zen for Small and Midsized Business IT Management