At VMware, students are both challenged and rewarded with meaningful work and rich experiences in a collaborative environment that empowers them to architect what’s next. Hear from Disney Lam, 2013 Common Services Intern on her internship project findings, winning the Cambridge Intern Poster Session and attending VMworld San Francisco.
Having completed previous internships in network administration and systems engineering roles, I saw the impact of VMware’s technology. Therefore, when VMware was recruiting at the University of Waterloo, I applied to internship positions not only as an intern hopeful, but also as a devoted fan. Fortunately, interviews went well and I was given the privilege to intern on the Common Services Team in VMware’s Cambridge site.
When the internship started, my mentor/manager gave me a list of potential projects to choose from. The projects were all very open-ended, so there was a lot of space for creativity. I chose to work on a project that will enable automatic discovery of services within a local environment. To fully develop the project, my mentor and I embarked on investigation, design, and implementation phases.
In the realm of service discovery, there already exist many protocol standards and they are commonly used to find network printers. Some examples include Multicast DNS, Universal Plug and Play, and Service Location Protocol. Despite the effectiveness of these service discovery protocols, they require the use of multicast and broadcast messages, which is blocked in many networks, due to security reasons. Thus, many infrastructure administrators resort back to static means of advertising services. This not only makes an infrastructure more difficult to manage, but it can decrease service availability as well. My project was to address these existing issues so that service discovery mechanisms can be deployed in any networking environment. At the completion of my internship project, I, along with the other 2013 interns, had the opportunity to present our findings to VMware employees at the annual Intern Poster Session.
Personally, the VMware Intern Poster Session was a nerve-wracking experience at first. Being a Computer Science major in a room full of people whom I am not well acquainted with really drove my anxiety levels up. For the entire session, I stood by my poster, answering questions that engineers had. Since VMware engineers are experts in the field, there were a lot of difficult questions. Members of the VMware Academic Program also came by to ask questions, so interns really needed to present their work from both a technical and business perspective.
As the session passed by, I became less nervous and more confident. I was very happy whenever I was able to explain why the project was designed a certain way when addressing concerns. I enjoyed speaking with other teams about how they can integrate the project into their own code. Some engineers even asked me when the project was going into production! I think it is quite rare for interns to get this amount of constructive feedback in the short time that they are with a company. I honestly believe that my presentation skills improved exponentially during that time!
I ended up really enjoying my poster session experience. I knew that it was because I had an amazing internship at VMware. My mentor/manager gave me a lot of freedom to explore solutions while nurturing me with guidance. The rest of my team became a fountain of knowledge for me and were nothing short of absolutely supportive. I remember times when I ran into problems that team members would directly approach me to provide help. Even at the poster session, the rest of the VMware engineering community was sharing their expertise to help interns grow intellectually.
However, winning the poster session still came as a complete shock to me. As an undergraduate, I was fearful of entering the poster session because most other interns were Masters and PhD students with a lot of experience under their belts. It still feels a bit strange when people address me as “future innovator”. Yet, now that I have won, I have learnt to be fearless, to be audacious, and to “defy convention”.
The prize for winning the poster session was an all-expense paid trip to VMworld in San Francisco. Since there were a lot of Sysadmins and Network Engineers there, I felt right at home. All the attendees and I were so impressed as products like vSAN and NSX were being announced. I remember back during my other internships as Sysadmin, my co-workers and I would praise VMware products and how they were changing IT in its entirety. This time, however, as opposed to not only being able to admire the innovation, I can say that I am a part of it!
Disney Lam was an intern with the Common Services Team in Cambridge, MA. She is a fourth year Computer Science undergraduate at the University of Waterloo who is passionate about network and systems architecture, design, and management. On the Cisco certification ladder, Disney is a Cisco Certified Design Professional. She has served as Undergraduate Research Assistant with Professor Carol Fung and Professor Raouf Boutaba of the Networks Research Group and Professor Robin Cohen of the Artificial Intelligence Group in the Cheriton School of Computer Science.
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