For many, many years, my job role was sort of a swiss army knife of server administration, I managed Windows servers, email servers, application servers, databases servers and much more. I wasn’t particularly passionate about any of the technology I worked with, to me it was simply a job and nothing more. Then about 7 years ago, along came virtualization, the company I worked for wanted to implement virtualization as part of a server refresh/consolidation project. My first experience with virtualization was with ESX 2.5, I was a bit skeptical at first about it, back then virtualization wasn’t anywhere near as mainstream as it is today. I even remember questioning the all your eggs in one basket approach because as a server admin, if that basket ever broke it would make a really big mess for me to clean up. As part of the preparation for the class I had taken a training class and it really opened my eyes to virtualization and was a technology that I found I actually really enjoyed working with. As a result I think for the first time in my life I had found technology that I could truly be passionate about.
For me, virtualization became a defining point in my life and helped launch a whole new career for me. I became very active in the VMTN forums as I really liked sharing my knowledge and experience with others and helping people out. I was so active I achieved Guru status in points (20,000+) in just under a year, despite having not really posted much in many years I’m still in the top 20 in points. I also became one of the early moderators with others such as Jason Boche, Thomas Bryant, Edward Haletky, Steve Beaver and Jase McCarty. The VMTN forums are also what got me started collecting VMware-related links, the same questions would typically come up over and over and rather than answer them in full each time I just posted links that I had collected to other posts that answered them. One day one of the other moderators said why don’t you post your collection of links so I did and from there I started vmware-land.com where I continually grew my link collection. The first iteration was using GoDaddy’s website tonight builder and was pretty crude and basic, from there I built my own site using FrontPage, it gave me more control over the formatting but was a pain in the butt to maintain, you can still see the original site here. I finally moved to WordPress which made things much easier, I still did a bunch of theme hacking though to customize it how I liked it. I also changed the name from vmware-land.com to vsphere-land.com when VMware made the big name change several years back. I still grow and grow my link collections each week, it’s pretty tedious and time-consuming work searching for and noting quality links and them getting them posted to the right categories.
Unknowingly, the VMTN forums also served as a stage for me to get noticed by others, I had one publisher contact me several years back as they noticed me in the VMTN forums about writing a book for them. I did the proposal for them, they liked it and made me an offer and strangely enough that same day another bigger publisher contacted me as well and made me an even better offer. That really launched my writing career, I had never really even thought about writing before but once I started it just seemed natural and I found that I enjoyed it. This lead to my writing my first book which took about 6 months to write, VMware VI3 Implementation & Administration, which unfortunately had bad timing as it was released the same month as vSphere was. Not to be discouraged by that I launched into my second book, Maximum vSphere, for that one I wanted to make the most of timing this time around and have it launch at VMworld. To accomplish that though I had to write the book in 2 months which I did (I got Simon Seagrave to help me on 2 chapters) and made it just in time to launch at the VMworld bookstore. I haven’t had the motivation to write another one yet, it’s a lot of work, you don’t make a lot of money writing tech books and because technology changes so much they have a short shelf life. Who knows maybe someday I’ll do another.
Around that time I also had Tech Target contact me about writing for them, I started writing for searchservervirtualization.com as a newbie writer back in 2008. I migrated to SearchVMware.com after they launched it and became one of the main writers there for many years until I joined HP. I also was noticed by other Tech Target sites and ended up writing for at least 8 other sites including searchstorage.com and searchdatabackup.com. Being an independent writer was fun, I was invited to events such as HP Discover, VMworld, Tech Field Day and more. I was even one of only four of bloggers that VMware flew into San Francisco for their private vSphere 5 launch event that was held in a small little event room and broadcast on the internet. Sometimes I think back and wonder if I enjoyed writing so much, why I didn’t start writing sooner. For me I think virtualization is what provided me the motivation and the spark I needed to ignite my writing career.
All in all I have a lot to be thankful for and I owe a lot of it to virtualization which has enabled me to be part of a huge community of fellow virtualization enthusiasts and meet a lot of great people from all over the world. Virtualization has provide me with a lot of great opportunities and has really given me a sense of direction, a passion, a purpose and a bright future. So when I sit in front of my turkey this Thanksgiving and think about what I’m thankful for, virtualization is near the top of that list. Thank you VMware for making such incredible software that ignites such passion in those that use it and building a community that brings millions across the world together to share in that passion.