vExpert Spotlight: James Bowling

Blog:  http://www.vsential.com

Twitter:  @vSential

How did you get into IT in the first place, how did you get into working with VMware and becoming a 2011 vExpert?

My IT venture started back in the BBS days.  For those of you who don't know what BBS's are, they were dial-in bulletin board systems.  I hosted the largest multi-node BBS in the state of Texas, running six lines on top of WildCat! BBS running in DesqView to "multitask" in DOS.  All of this by the age of 13…my journey continued on because of my love for breaking things and building them back up better.  Fast forward a few years and we get to my introduction into VMware virtualization, VMware Workstation.  If I recall, this was somewhere around end of 1999 or beginning 2000.  My love for the technology behind the product grew as the years went on.

Once VMware entered the server market I decided to start playing around with VMware to see if this was something that we could use at my company at that time.  I deployed VMware GSX Server back in 2001/2002 on a couple of hosts at my company to attempt to bring a proof-of-concept up to build a business case for my boss.  Unfortunately, we were unable to provide the business with enough to get the buy-in from upper management.  Although I couldn't get this through my boss, I could still continue to play with it.  I deployed GSX and ESX hosts so I could remain familiar with the technology throughout my career. 

Present day, I have deployed virtual infrastructures ranging from single host with a few VMs to hundreds of hosts with thousands of VMs spread globally.  I decided to follow in the footsteps of some of the people who helped me get to where I was with their articles, books, and blog posts.  To name a few, Scott Lowe, Duncan Epping, Frank Denneman, and Jason Boche…along with many others.  This brought me to create vSential.com, my virtualization blog.  I was able to share the information that I had and things that I have learned through the years.

I decided to take my endeavours a step further and speak to Junior High and High School classes to help evangelize virtualization technologies.  My reasoning for this was to bring the technology to the people who would later be taking my spot within the community.  What better of a way to spread the word and break the mould of tradition IT evangelism.  Due to my contributions to the community of virtualization, VMware bestowed upon me something that I could have only dreamed of receiving, the 2011 VMware vExpert Recognition.  Thank you VMware and thanks to all those who have supported my efforts!  I hope to continue my endeavours and reach higher grounds as my years go on.

What would you tell someone who wanted to get a job like yours to do?

This is a great question.  I often speak at career days at high schools and junior highs in my area.  This is one of the things that I always have to address.  The first thing I would tell someone who wanted a job like mine is that it is hard work and constant learning.  I always tell kids that I am one of the few lucky ones that actually have a career doing what was originally my hobby, technology.  I explain to people that I have a genuine love for what I do and strive to learn daily.  If you are willing to learn, willing to listen, and open to criticism then you are a great candidate for my job!


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