Blog URL: www.wafl.co.uk
Twitter handle: @ckranz
Current employer: Kelway UK – www.kelway.co.uk
How did you get into IT?
Started life in the 90’s as a web developer before getting into systems administration. I was definitely a jack-of-all-trades back then, covering Linux, Windows, web, scripting and even a little app-development where appropriate. This has really helped give me a better understanding of the real world and a broader knowledge across multiple environments. Finally landed a job for a smaller reseller where I learnt about centralised storage and virtualisation. Virtualisation was very exciting and drove me to learn as much as I possibly could about it, finally getting the chance to submit my VCDX defense in 2010. I still tinker with coding, this is becoming fundamental to a lot of virtualisation technologies and solutions. Now I’m spending a lot of time designing Clouds and talking about the journey.
How did you get into working with VMware and becoming a 2011 vExpert?
My first VMware install was also my first PSOD (the disti had shipped mismatched CPUs), back in 2006. Straight away it was a huge interest, not just because it meant that centralised storage was quickly going to become very popular! My brothers have always been UNIX guys, so the concept of applying all that great mainframe technology to the x86 world fascinated me. I still remember wowing people with the demo of vMotion moving Virtual Center between physical hosts, and how unimpressive it looks on a demo!
Taking it forward, I’m now regularly speaking in several user groups in the UK (both the official VMware VMUG in London and the Virtual Machine User Group regularly in Leeds). At Kelway I help host many customer events and vendor sponsored study tours where VMware or Cloud is usually my topic of expertise. My day-to-day job means I am constantly evangelising and speaking about the benefits of virtualisation and why VMware is the right choice for a Cloud platform.
What would you tell someone who wanted to get a job like yours to do?
Minimal investment in a home lab will pay itself back 10+ fold. Mine has been growing over the years, but still it’s just a single desktop. Having the time to play around with the technology is really key, if your company can access some eval or demo equipment this is hugely beneficial. I was lucky in that I have been responsible in the past for running the IT infrastructure, so I’ve had the hands of experience of actually running this kit and technology, not just designing it. But a home lab is the next best thing. The VCDX was a long journey, and it took away many evenings and weekends from me, but it was well worth the journey. I was recently asked the benefit, and I’d 100% recommend anyone go through the blueprint process of the VCDX as it gets you to question your decisions and qualify your thought process every step of the way. This is important, we all used to do it in school / college / university, but either through laziness or time pressure this habit seems to drop in a commercial environment. If you can’t justify your decision making to yourself, how are you going to do so to a customer or your boss? I’m known at Kelway for playing devil’s advocate almost all the time, but I think this is important as it drills out the finer details. Understand how or why a solution might fail and you’ll understanding how to make it work (design for failure I believe is the phrase). This is a definite mindset to get into and I would say it’s the single habit that contributes most to my work and the position I have. Other than that, I love talking! This is a great habit to have as a public speaker and being involved in the communities 🙂