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10 Questions With…A.J. Stringham

Name: A.J. Stringham
: IT Support Agent
Years in IT: 3
Certs: A+, Network+, Security+
Alias: Spiceworks – A.J. Stringham Geek


1) How did you get started in IT?
I guess it goes back to when I first moved to the Syracuse area. I had a friend who really got me into IT by the name of Brian. He was very passionate about it and wanted to get me into it as well. So, he gave me an old computer he had scrounged and said he did me the “favor” of loading this thing called “Ubuntu Linux” on it. So I started with GNOME Ubuntu Linux 7.10 Gutsy Gibbon. After some time playing, I eventually got myself a decent computer running Windows XP Home SP3. However, at this point I still didn’t know this is what I wanted to do as a career. In 10th grade I took business courses because I thought of starting my own business. I soon realized this wasn’t for me and neither was the field of construction I thought of pursuing. So starting in 11th grade I began to take computer classes. CCNA preparation, JAVA programming, AutoCAD, 3D Modeling as so on. I then realized that the technical side of things was my field of choice.

So, starting my senior year in high school I began preparing for my A+ with some online training and book preparation. I then, from November 2010 to December 2010 obtained my A+, Network+ and Security+. That was only the beginning. I graduated in June 2010 from high school and in July began working at my local Staples in their tech department. Learned a lot about the field in general although not so much about the technical side of things. So went back to school for a couple semesters and got an internship for a financial firm in their tech department. It was there that I first was exposed to ESXi and VMware products in general and there that I first was really given a look into virtualization.

2) How long have you been using VMware products and which VMware products do you have deployed?
I started using VMware products a few months ago. I originally got my license for ESXi 5.0 about six months ago and deployed it about 3-4 months ago. Other than that, I just use the vSphere Client to manage my VMs.

3) What need were you looking to address with virtualization and why did you chose VMware?
My big need was that I was building a test box. This wasn’t for production and virtualization was going to make it much easier to test things and try new things without physically installing or partitioning. Honestly, I chose VMware because it is what I was exposed to and recommended. I don’t have a ton of experience with Hyper-V but have heard that ESXi is far more powerful and from what I’ve seen I’d be hard-pressed to see its equal.

4) What is the one VMware feature that you couldn’t live without?
Dynamic resource allocation. I love not being fixed into a certain “speccing” of a machine when you first create it. Being able to add or remove RAM and CPUs, etc makes life so much easier. Also, being able to have 16GB divided up however I want it and even more than that shared across multiple machines works out great!

5) What’s the coolest thing that you’ve done with your VMware environment?
I haven’t really done anything crazy. I have had Server 2003, 2008, 2012 and Windows 8, Linux Mint and a pfsense box all running at the same time. That isn’t outside the realm of the ordinary for most people but for me, that’s pretty cool!

6) How has VMware helped you become an IT Rockstar in your organization?
At the first job I was introduced to ESXi with, it helped me with my job there. Overall, in the field, it has helped me with my resume and experience wise and has also helped me to become a better supporter of the Spiceworks community and my fellow techs.

7)What’s one piece of advice that you would give someone starting down the virtualization road?
I would say get a home lab and start playing before you get into any real production environment. Grab a free ESXi license and get familiar with its workings and how to use it. VMware is the eight-hundred pound gorilla in the industry of virtualization. Know all virtualization options but ESXi will be the easiest and best to learn.

8) What is next for your VMware deployment?
I am hoping to build another server and load ESXi 5.1 on that. I have the license, now I just need the machine to put it on.

9) How has VMware changed your typical IT day?
I use it at home but when I’m not working while I’m at work, I RDP into my home server and use the vSphere client to build and blow away virtual machines and play while I’m at work. Quite fun I might add…..

10) What is your best IT Hero quote of the day?
My two favorite quotes are: “the quieter you become, the more you are able to hear” and Einstein’s definition of insanity which is: “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”. Installing to a physical HDD and having to buy multiple servers, etc is my definition of insanity. Virtualization is the way of now and the way to go!

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