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Author Archives: Gregg Robertson

vExpert Spotlight: Mike Nelson

Blog URL: http://www.techdecode.com

Twitter handle: @nelmedia

Current employer: nGenx Corp.


How did you get into IT?

In 1986, as an office helper, I was given the task of installing Novell Netware 286 on a new server that was connected via Arcnet to IBM XT machines with 256MB of RAM, 10MB hard drives, 5.25 floppy drives, and weighed 30 pounds. That was my trial-by-fire intro to the world of I.T. I never looked back.


How did you get into working with VMware and becoming a 2013 vExpert?

I started with VMware with GSX when it first came out publicly. My co-worker and I attended a VMware seminar and they gave out the disks for GSX when you left. It was really awesome at the time. Fast-forward to today, after several stints as a VMware and Citrix Admin and Consultant, I am now a Co-Leader of the Wisconsin VMUG and a virtualization evangelist to whoever will listen.


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

Open your mind and always think outside the box. Keep up with what is going on and take the lead when you have the gut feel that something is a good solution. Be passionate, be humble, be a mentor, and be hungry for knowledge.

vExpert Spotlight: Sean Duffy

Name: Sean Duffy
Blog URL: http://www.shogan.co.uk
Twitter handle: @shogan85
Current employer: Xtravirt Ltd

How did you get into IT?
I grew up as a child using my parent’s PC with great interest, learning DOS, breaking autoexec.bat and config.sys files, and then subsequently learning how to fix them before they found out! As a teenager I started helping my uncle out at his IT business on occasion – fixing customer computers, reinstalling Operating Systems, and building new machines. I learnt even more about computers from him. Going through my tertiary education after High School, I actually studied for three years and qualified as a Graphic Designer, however after a couple of years in the design industry, I decided to make the switch over to IT, as I had identified that this was really where my passion was. A company who was partnered with my current employer realised my potential and offered me a job with them.

How did you get into working with VMware and becoming a 2012 vExpert?
During my role at my second IT job (back in South Africa going back to around 2006), we had a variety of application servers – perhaps 10 or so. We decided to try out VMware Server to virtualize some of these servers as a small consolidation project. I was involved in this exercise as I had already had a play around with VMware Server at home and knew how it worked.
Soon after this I moved to the UK with my wife and started a job for a small hosting company. I was mainly involved in the field services team, but got a chance to work with VMware ESX on occasion. One of the guys in the hosting division kindly gave me some training on the side and allowed me to use some older equipment to test with.
This is where I started really taking an interest in VMware’s offerings. I got a small home lab going and learned more about VI3. I then got a job working for a small managed hosting company where I worked for three years before joining Xtravirt Limited as a technical consultant at the start of 2012. I have been running my own personal blog Shogan.tech since late 2008, where I have actively blogged about my experiences with various VMware technologies and other SysAdmin topics. I was very honoured to have been awarded the vExpert 2012 title this year, and am looking forward to continuing to further my experience with the VMware product portfolio.

What would you tell someone who wanted to get a job like yours to do?
Most of the guys I work with at Xtravirt share a common enthusiasm and passion for the technologies we work with. Hopefully if you are looking into a career in consulting you also share this enthusiasm and drive to learn more.
Start a blog if you don’t already have one. Once you get going, you won’t regret it! Share your experiences around virtualization and cloud computing on social networks (or VMware Communities), and absorb information from others. Get a home lab environment up and running, even if it means nesting ESXi machines as VMs on a laptop – you’ll be surprised at what you can achieve on a modern laptop these days.
Finally, learn from the other experts and technology evangelists out there. Discuss solutions to problems where you can and debate alternate solutions. I find I learn best by doing – so practise what you preach too. Before you know it, a great opportunity may just come knocking on your door

vExpert Spotlight: Niklas Akerlund

Name: Niklas Akerlund
Blog URL: http://vniklas.djungeln.se
Twitter handle: @vNiklas
Current employer: Lumagate AB/ Sweden

How did you get into IT?
My dad brought home an IBM PC in the early 1980´s and I started to play games and developed an interest in computers. My favourite game was in that time “Digger” www.digger.org. After some university studies I started working with both Unix and Microsoft infrastructure solutions. I have been working both as a network technician and as a consultant during my years in IT. To be able to help customers and being out on different locations is fun and educational.
I have always had an interest in automating and scripting. I have been digging around in Perl and vbscript, but now I do most of the scripting in PowerShell. It feels so good to be able to automate boring repetitive tasks. Even if I´m going to do something just once I try to see if there is a way to script it. During the different assignments I am faced with challenging tasks every day that gives me ideas.
Now I am working as a Product Manager Private Cloud, and my job is to help customers with their Private Cloud solutions, both with the setup and also the continued process of maintaining and operating.

How did you get into working with VMware and becoming a 2012 vExpert?
My first experience with virtualization was with a really early version of the VMware Workstation. Since 2008 have I been working active with VMware Virtualization. My main focus in the start was on capacity planning and physical to virtual migrations and in later projects more towards automating and scripting. I have also quite a bit experience in setting up and configuring virtualization solutions.
When I saw the potential in PowerCLI and automation for virtualization I started my blog to share my findings and solutions, in the same time I started my twitter account also. Both Luc Dekens and Alan Renouf have inspired me a lot to find new ways of doing PowerCLI automation.
I was awarded the 2012 vExpert for my work with the blog posts and twitter activity. A twitter user was seeking help for a SAN migration script and I used some blog posts and put it together with my own logic to help him, that little script was much appreciated. The power of the community to help each other is cool. If you have an idea, someone might have done a part of your solution and combining their parts with yours save time.

What would you tell someone who wanted to get a job like yours to do?
It is not always you will get to work with exactly what you want from time to time, but even in the most boring tasks you can find challenges and make it into something you can find appealing. And if you cannot change your tasks, believe in yourself and do not be afraid of changing job! I do tend to extend my studies and testing during the evenings and weekends when not the family is complaining too much.
Try to think and questioning solutions to not just do things as they always has been deployed.
Good luck!

vExpert Spotlight: Chuck Mills

Name: Chuck Mills

Blog URL: www.vchuck.com

Twitter: @vchuckmills

Current Employer: Gantech, Inc.

How did you get into IT?

I was working in the lab for a paint company. They purchased a system to shade large batches of production paint. I was asked to be in charge of the project. I was going to night school and decided to take a course on Data Processing (yes, it was that long ago) and after that first class I knew what I wanted as a career. That was 1978 and I have worked in this wonderful industry ever since.

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

I read an article by Chad Dickerson (InfoWorld – Super Desktop) in May of 2003 about VMware Workstation. I knew this was going to be a game changer. I actually purchased Virtual PC from Connectix before switching to Workstation 2.0 soon after. Earlier in my career I had searched for ways to extend the use of PCs and worked with Multi-boot and other products that gave me the ability to run different OS on the same system. VMware Workstation gave me the multiple OS solution and all at the same time! I created a solution in 2004 using virtual PCs and PCAnywhere that was similar to a current VDI solution as documents in The Langa List dated May 20th 2004. In my previous two positions as Director of IT, I created 100% virtual datacenters. I now focus on the End User Computing solutions with my current employer as an Innovation Architect. I now spread to word about how VMware has created many successful solutions for me and many other companies I have worked with. I have presented at several national conferences including VMworld 2009.

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

If you have worked in the physical world with servers and or desktops, you need to approach problems differently when you have virtualization as an option.   I have seen several “virtual” solution that mirror a physical environment and it does not take advantage of the strengths of virtualization. There are many cases documented on how to use virtualization to create good solutions. Do a lot of planning before putting something together. There is a lot of good information out there. Use the knowledge that others have shared. Take the time to learn as much as you can, this is wonderful and powerful technology.

vExpert Spotlight: Andreas Lesslhumer

Name:Andreas Lesslhumer 

Current Employer: 3Banken EDV 

Twitter Handle:  @lessi001

Blog URLs: www.vmworld.net


How did you get into IT?

I had the great fortune that there was a big demand for IT professionals just as I finished business school. To fill this gap, the industry was willing to pay some people the necessary courses (Microsoft MSCE courses for NT4.0 at this time for example) to join into IT. I was one of the lucky ones and so I got my first job as an IT Admin after I completed the training courses and a semiannual internship.

It was a medium-size company with a four man IT Team. So you can imagine that I had to do everything: installing, maintaining and repairing PCs and servers, have an eye on the network, keep the exchange server alive and be responsible for the old ERP system running on MS-DOS…

After six years I got a new job opportunity at my current employer where I joined the server team.

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

The company I have switched to was using VMware only for a Dev/Test environment. But only a short time after starting the job a virtualization project was initiated and I got the opportunity to plan and implement a production environment for our two datacenters with the support of an excellent VMware Consultant.

During implementation I have learned a lot about the products from VMware and visiting the VMworlds in the last years further deepened my knowledge and skills.

During this time I set up a blog as a personal knowledge base to write down solutions for all the little problems I had to deal with in my everyday work. One day I realized that there was a high rate of visitors – mainly on the how-to guides. As it was fun and also brought great benefits for my everyday work I continued to publish articles and 2012 VMware awarded me the vExpert award.

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

Build your own home lab, follow the community activities (VMUG, Blogs, Twitter…), try new things and don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Last but not least: Enjoy your work but do not always take everything too seriously.

vExpert Spotlight: Jonathan Copeland

Black and White HeadshotName:  Jonathan Copeland
Blog URL: virtsecurity.wordpress.com
Twitter handle: VirtSecurity
Current employer: City of San Antonio
How did you get into IT?

I’ve been in IT since I was very young and was playing with the minicomputer in my dad’s office with its large external drive platters and chain printer for wide green bar paper.  I guess my first x86 exposure was with the 8086/8088 and running CP/M and then DOS 1.2 and moving eventually through that creating BASIC programs and DOS batch scripts for menus and launching applications.  I’ve done a little bit of everything and finally settled down with Virtualization and Security as my primary areas of focus.
How did you get into working with VMware and becoming a 2012 vExpert?

  I remember hearing about Virtualization and started playing with it running a program called plex86 and Bochs x86 which were early Virtual x86 hardware emulators.  I eventually got handed a box with VMware workstation and was asked to learn this.  This was approximately early 2006 and this spun into using VMware Server.  In the last 4 years I have gradually added VMware certifications to my repertoire and with the last 2 ½ years I have really reached out to the online community around VMware and Virtualization especially the Twitter folks out there.
What would you tell someone who wanted to get a job like yours to do?
Learn as much networking and storage as possible.  The one aspect that I keep coming too in Virtualization is that while we may be a specialist in Virtualization we MUST be generalists in the datacentre.  I would definitely try to work across as many teams as possible including the network, storage, and desktop teams if you have the ability to do so.  Take classes around ITIL processes and change management and work to deeply understand what the real needs of IT are.  IT is not about the coolest toys IT is about delivering the services to the customer with the least amount of aggravation and pain.

vExpert Spotlight: Brent Quick

HeadWithVMwareName:    Brent Quick

Blog URL: brentquick.wordpress.com | vacronym.wordpress.com | triadvmug.com

Twitter handle:  @brent_quick | @vAcronym | @TriadVMUG

Current employer: Todd Herman Associates (www.toddherman.com)

How did you get into IT?    

I was always interested in computers after getting exposed to TRS80's, Commadore, Zenith, and Apple IIe in the early 80's.
In college we had a VAX/VMS mainframe and this was my first experience with "big iron".  I learned a lot of the user commands and discovered a passion for knowing (and helping) what to do when something went wrong.
Later when I went back to college, I started taking some CompSci classes along with my Accounting classes because the subject still had an interest for me.
A few years later I found myself between accounting positions and I interviewed with this accounting firm that did not do audits or income tax returns, but did a lot of application development, system selection, and middleware integration.

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

In 2006 my company had too many physical boxes and many were not server class hardware but were converted workstations and manageability/reliability/space constraints were all issues.  At that time VMware GSX & Microsoft Virtual Server were the free type 2 hypervisors and not being a Linux person I went with Virtual Server.  That bought us two years but the OS overhead was too much of a wasted resource so when we did a server refresh in 2008 I got a new server and a Foundation Acceleration Kit.
From there I was drinking the Kool-Aid and in 2010 I went to a regional VMUG (local chapter was not active) and kept pestering the VMUG people for the information on the leaders in my area so that I could find out why meetings were not happening.  A few weeks later I was a co-leader and it is through this "evangelist" path that I was honored as a vExpert for 2012.

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

I actually have two different jobs at my company, my consulting work generally does not involve VMware or virtualization since our clients either have it already or we are not working with the infrastructure group so it is not visible.  Internally I have VMware cluster and IBM SAN to manage plus networking, backup, firewall, end-point protection, mobile devices, messaging, collaboration, database systems, application and web servers, plus end user support.  So I would tell someone who wanted my job or one like it to make sure you know a lot about everything but don't be specialized in any one thing since you will not be able to very much time on what you know but will need to know enough to keep it up and running.

vExpert Spotlight: Dan Brinkmann

Headshot_Dan_Brinkmann2Name: Dan Brinkmann

Blog URL: http://www.danbrinkmann.com

Twitter handle: @dbrinkmann

Current employer: Lewan – Denver, Colorado


How did you get into IT?

  After college I was unable to find a job in my field (Business Administration) and was spending a fair amount of my time finding "free" music and software on BB's and newsgroups. One day I saw an ad for a desktop support technician and a few days and one giant lie of an interview later I found myself in completely over my head working as an IT contractor at John Deere in Waterloo Iowa. A few months of cramming later and I passed all of the tests for my Microsoft MCSE. Shortly thereafter I moved to Denver Colorado and have been working in IT in Denver ever since.


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

VMware ESX 2.0 was being demo'd at a Microsoft TechEd conference, vMotion looked like magic but after a lengthy conversation with the person in the booth I knew datacenter design would never be the same again. We put VMware ESX 2.5 into our production environment the week after it came out. I've been involved in  virtualization ever since. I've been involved in my local Denver VMUG for a number of years, both as a customer and now as a partner. I was an early Twitter user (number 650,163) and in recent years I've put more effort into blogging and education. In my current role I am nearly 100% focused on educating customers and helping them with their virtualization architecture and design decisions.

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

Reading is fundamental.

vExpert Spotlight: Mike Brown

MikeName: Mike Brown
Blog URL: www.mabrown.net
Twitter handle: @vMikeBrown
Current employer: VMware
How did you get into IT?
I started out in life wanting to be a professional musician, I played drums in a fairly successful local band in Oklahoma but at some point I realized it just wasn’t going to happen.
I packed up and moved to Indiana, where I’m originally from, and enrolled in some tech college classes for NetWare. Technology had always been a big part of my life and the Internet was just starting to boom so I figured it would be a good move. At the same time I got really into Windows NT and setup a home lab and actually ran some websites and hosted email off an ISDN line for a couple clients.
After getting my MCSE and Novell CNE I decided school wasn’t providing much for me anymore so I dropped out and got a job working for a VAR in Muncie Indiana. We mainly served the SMB market putting in custom built NetWare and NT servers along with some desktops and networking.
In 2001 I moved to Houston to work for a managed datacenter playing the role of a pre-sales SE and post sales consultant for Microsoft Server and Citrix products. After five years of that I wanted my own environment so I moved on to an Oil Company.
This is were I was first exposed to VMware technology at an Enterprise level and was instantly hooked.  A year or so later I was the Virtualization Team lead in charge of around 140 hosts and 2500 VM’s, this was in 2007 or 2008. I became bored managing the same environment day in and day out so I looked at going to work for VMware.
At the time the travel schedule for PSO was too much for me so I took a position with a partner instead. Here I got to focus on all things VMware in addition to Cisco UCS, Nexus and Storage, mainly NetApp and EMC. After obtaining my VCDX in early 2012 and looking at the types of projects I was doing I decided it was time to look at VMware again as I was doing more and more UCS and Storage projects then I was VMware related ones and that’s just not where I wanted my career to go.
In April of 2012 I started with VMware PSO as a Senior Consultant on the Cloud Infrastructure and Management team. It’s been a great few months and I feel like I’ve finally found the place where I’m going to spend the rest of my career.  

How did you get into working with VMware and becoming a 2012 vExpert?
I love social media such as Twitter. I think I started making a name for myself while I was going through the VCDX process and started blogging about my experiences with the program. Since obtaining my VCDX I’ve been a little slow on blogging but that’s something I’m working on changing.

What would you tell someone who wanted to get a job like yours to do?
 Be prepared to always be learning. This industry changes constantly, which I love, but it takes a certain kind of person who has the capability and willingness to keep learning and question the way things have been done in the past. Virtualization changed everything and Cloud is looking to do it again and I couldn’t be happier to be along for the ride and hopefully shape it in my own little way.

vExpert Spotlight: Kyle Ruddy

KyleRuddyName: Kyle Ruddy
Blog: http://www.thatcouldbeaproblem.com/
Twitter: @RuddyVCP
Current Employer: Senior Systems Engineer with Aprimo, a Teradata Company

How did I get into IT?
Always had a fascination with computers since a kid and once I figured out how to make money while modifying, repairing, or just doing general upkeep to personal computers that eventually spread into websites, servers, and so forth.

Once I got in, the whole evolution of the state of IT got me hooked and showed me how it rewards those that can keep up with it.

How did you get into working with VMware and becoming a 2012 vExpert?
I was in the right place at the right time and was able to take one of the VMware training courses which resulted in earning my VCP certificate. From there, I was inserted into a Systems Engineer position and eventually earned a trip to VMworld.

After VMworld and seeing how great the community was, I knew I had to get involved. Since that point I've been heavily involved in the local community, blogging all my experiences that could be helpful to others, and even joined the Indy VMUG as a leader.

What would you tell someone who wanted to get a job like yours to do?
Find something you enjoy and are pasionate about then strive to be the best you can. All your hard work will be rewarded.