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vExpert Spotlight: Nick Howell

NhowellName:  Nick Howell
Blog URL:  datacenterdude.com
Twitter handle@that1guynick
Current employer:  NetApp – Virtualization Solutions Architect

How did you get into IT?

I started in IT right around Y2K, cabling buildings, learning about networking, and eventually diving into server administration.Being the typical AD/Exchange/Server admin, I discovered virtualization and shared storage in 2007, and immediately began implementing it in environments in which I worked.  For the last few years, i have been an outspoken advocate of “virtualizing everything,” and doing so on NetApp storage arrays. I am currently a Virtualization Solutions Architect for NetApp, helping customers design and learn how to deploy advanced virtualization solutions.
NicI hold many industry certifications, and continue to work towards advanced Cisco and VMware certifications, including VCDX.

How did you get into working with VMware and becoming a 2012 vExpert?

Essentially, I was your typical SysAdmin working with servers/AD/Exchange, and used Workstation to do some test/dev/scripting stuff before implementing anything into the live environment.  Around 2007, I started hearing more and more about this “ESX” stuff, and started looking into it.  We replaced Workstation on my laptop with ESX on some older servers, and once everyone saw and understood the capabilities, it was a no-brainer, and we virtualized everything, including Exchange and Oracle.

I’ve been active on Twitter, and blogging since 2008, and a fervent participant in the Vmware Communities podcasts for about the same time.  I received my first nomination and award in 2011, and was subsequently selected again for 2012.  I’ve been a speaker at Vmworld, Oracle OpenWorld, and various VMUG’s, and have been with NetApp since Feb 2011.

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

Be passionate.  Be transparent.  Always speak your mind, and be willing to admit when you’re wrong or don’t know the answer to something.  Integrity.  But at the same time, unbridled passion for the subjects.  You have to eat, sleep, and breathe Virtualization.  Evangelizing and sharing information has to excite you, and get you up in the morning.