Name: Ivan Talley
Title: Systems Engineer
Years at VMware: 5 weeks
Years in IT: 20
Certifications: VCP 4, VTSP, VSP, MCSE 2000/2003, MCNE, CompTIA Project +
1) What have you done in your career at VMware and what do you do now?
I just started as an Associate Systems Engineer in the SMB group. I provide a technical resource to our sales staff and customers for discussing those products that can be the most beneficial to the small and medium business sector.
2) Why do you love working at VMware?
I can honestly say I’ve never worked with such a smart, dynamic, group of individuals. Everyone seems focused on assisting our customers in finding the solution they need for their environment.
The work environment is also amazing. VMware truly values its employees and that’s such a motivating influence for me.
3) What did you do before coming to VMware?
Out of High School I had a great 5 years in the United States Air Force as an Imagery Interpreter which falls under their Intelligence branch. I had the pleasure of being stationed in Austin, Texas with trips to Germany and Italy and finished my career in Honolulu.
In the private sector I’ve had the opportunity to work in a very diverse number of areas. I’ve provided technical expertise to state and city governments as well as companies in the real estate, retail, contract electronics manufacturing, engineering, construction, mining, and legal fields.
4) What is your area of technology expertise?
My focus has been primarily on server administration and networking but the nature of business has caused me to become a true technology generalist. Like many in the field I’ve done everything from repair a laser printer to administering mobile devices and developing network designs to include actually pulling the cable.
5) What is your favorite VMware product or feature and why?
I think I’ll always have a bias toward our core vSphere product. Virtualization of our servers and storage was such a rewarding and interesting journey that I’ll never forget it. It honestly reduced the stress of my job and eliminated much of my after hours requirements.
6) What other areas of technology are you interested in?
I’ve always been interested computers but I really enjoy home entertainment and automation systems. The sophisticated home theater products now available are a lot of fun for me and I really appreciate a clear picture and great sound when I watch movies or listen to my favorite artists.
7) What is the most challenging/unusual/perplexing IT question you've been asked?
For me it was when I was working at a rapidly growing engineering firm. We were expanding into a nearby building on the campus and this was early in my career. Finding the right connectivity solution, and actually managing the access and installation of a very long fiber run, was quite challenging. When were able to successfully integrate the new space into our central phone and data systems it was very satisfying.
8) What's the coolest thing that you have done (or helped a customer do) with VMware solutions?
I’ll always remember when storage area networks (SAN) were still relatively new in the SMB segment and my IT Director and I were able to successfully get funding for, and implement, SANs at our 6 facilities. With significant planning we were able to integrate these into our environments, provide supplemental storage to our existing systems, and bring up our first Active Directory domain with the domain controllers booting from the SAN, within a 7 week window. It was another transformative experience similar to when I was involved in my first server virtualization project.
9) What's one piece of advice that you would give someone starting down the virtualization road?
I’d recommend that you take whatever steps you need to in order to get that initial project up and running. After seeing the benefits, if your experience is anything like mine, you won’t be able to get your systems virtualized fast enough. The more we learned about the capabilities after virtualization the more we were impressed with the VMware product. It actually made my work life easier!
10) What is your best/favorite IT Hero quote?
Actually my favorite quote was from a movie but it applies to all areas of life. It was simply “lean into it.” Whatever you’re doing, the outcome isn’t of ultimate importance, be present for what you’re taking on and more often than not you’ll succeed.