vExpert Spotlight: Gabriel Chapman

IMG_0105Name: Gabriel Chapman

Blog URL: www.gabrielchapman.com

Twitter Handle: @Bacon_Is_King

Current Employer: Emulex


How did you get into IT?

After a 6 year stint in the US Navy as a medic attached to the Marine Corps, I applied for a job doing tech support at a local software company. I had no training or real experience with computers other than what I had taught myself on a 386SX running Windows 3. The hiring manager was an ex-Navy guy and gave me a chance and I was hooked.  From there I steadily worked my way up the ladder from support to network administration and finally into engineering and design.

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

In 2005 the company I worked for was moving from Novell to Windows and we started using Microsoft Virtual Server. I didn’t like it, and started researching other virtualization platforms, which led me to VMware.  Taking some old hardware, I built our first ESX3.5 boxes and it was off to the races.  I was also responsible for SAN and Storage and saw the synergy between virtualization and storage early on, so I took an interest in how storage and virtualization were dependent. 

I attended my first VMWorld last year and met a lot of great people who were either heavily into blogging or social media in the VMware space, and I noticed how great the community was. That got me interested in blogging about VMware, storage, and technology in general. As someone who was always curious about storage performance and getting better visualization into how various storage systems performed in VMware environments, I did a series of blog posts and presented at my local VMUG on using IO Analyzer and understanding how various IO workloads react in virtualized environments. I’m hoping to present at VMWorld this year on storage performance testing and simulating storage IO workloads within virtual environments.

I recently moved into the sales engineering side with Emulex, and plan to be doing a series of blog posts around leveraging network convergence in VMware environments and upcoming disruptive technologies.

What would you tell someone who wanted to get a job like yours to do? To begin with, start following the blogs and twitter feeds of the people who have the job you want. A lot of valuable insight can be gained about what they really do as opposed to what you may think they do. Also reach out and make contact. The best move I ever made was walking up and talking to people whose blogs I followed at VMWorld. Making contact with people in the industry and building up a contact network is an invaluable resource. I’ve made some truly great friends through social media interactions in the VMware community. It’s a great group of people to know, and many of them are more than happy to help someone out. So don’t be shy.