2014: Year in Review & What’s next?

Typically, I don’t do posts like these however this year has been a year chuck full of things I need to reflect on in order to move forward.  Ya know what they say, you can’t know where you’re going unless you know where you’ve been, and I truly believe that.

First and foremost I am very thankful for what I have.  Never take for granted the things that are right in front of you, Family, your health, you’re home and your career (notice I didn’t say job).   Hopefully you have been as blessed as I have as we know others are less fortunate.  My family has been very supportive of my career through thick and thin.  All the hours missed from family time, dinners, sporting events, etc I hope has not gone in vein.  Working in the Partner world as an SE, we make many sacrifices, and it’s not for everyone.  I believe it’s impossible to succeed in this business without family support and buy in but there has to be a light at the end of the tunnel.  I couldn’t put my Wife through the countless hours of taking care of our children while i’m on the road without an understanding that there is a purpose and i’m not just talking about putting food on the table.  I am lucky enough to have chosen to work in an industry that is not suffering and where jobs are plentiful, even the area I live, where, most youngsters leave to pursue their careers.  While it’s a great place to raise a family, it’s also suffered from massive economic lows caused from the migration of manufacturing out of the US, and the high tax rates NY puts on business AND the individual.

Working for a Partner is not all sacrifice, mind you, its a big part, however it’s very rewarding as well.  We have the opportunity to help our customers in a unique manner and to build solid foundational relationships that we hope create a prosperous atmosphere for both parties.  I’m not going to sit here and tell you it’s ALL about the customer, it can’t be, we work in a business that has to make money.  I will say, however, that relationships are what make our business.  This is something I’ve noticed that I need work on over the last year as I look back and one of my goals for 2015 is to not only put focus on technical enablement, but to fine tune my communication skills.  Some of the things i’m planning on doing is taking a course in professional speaking at a local University as well as to engage in as many speaking engagements as I can through work and through some mentor relationships.

We provide and sell Solutions to our customer.  Solution, at it’s core is a very simple term, the customer has a problem, and the Solution is provided to address that problem.  Now, I have written in my previous blog posts that the Solutions we have been providing to our customers are changing as new, disruptive, technologies make there way into the market, ie Hyper-Convergence, Automation and Operations, all Software Driven solutions.  It’s hard for me, working with the Legacy Hardware stacks that I have been used to using, administering, installing, etc to migrate away from that as it’s a complete fundamental shift in the way we have done things for a better part of the last decade.  It’s funny, you don’t think that what you’re doing would be considered “legacy” at the time you’re doing it.  I imagine the folks that worked in the Mainframe era understand how I feel about this as I look forward assessing my career strategy.

As I take on my new role as a Solution Architect, I am gonna go into 2015 full bore, but this time mindful of what needs to get accomplished and when.  This is another thing I’ve learned from 2014, goals were set and most were met, however the time frames were never met.  This, I believe, is where the discipline comes in right?  We can set goals but goals are useless without putting a timetable to them, a lesson I learned when scheduling my VCAP-DCA and VCAP-DCD, which I probably would still be “working on” if I hadn’t scheduled it prior to studying for the exam.  Lesson learned.

For the blog i’ll be starting the year off with the new Home Lab build, version number #4.  I’ll post about what I’ve built, and why and get into some detail on some of the newer products that i’ll be installing like the vRealize Suite from VMware, Openstack, and an EMC Hybrid Cloud solution.  I’m hoping to get some “official” hardware in my lab as well so it’s fully supported with these products.  As usual, my real focus will be around the VMware Product Set, however, this does not mean I will not be looking into other products like PernixData FVP, EMC ViPR, etc.

I look forward to 2015 and I hope all of you have a Happy Christmas and great New Year!

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