June 20, 2011

People give me funny looks when I tell them that I’ve been involved in cloud computing for twelve years now. Hello? Cloud computing wasn’t even invented back then…hear me out, I tell them.

I joined a company called Exodus Communications in 1999. They invented the “colo” business, roughly analogous to the “public cloud” today. Basically, they provided a network of massive data centers where anyone can rent “ping, power and pipe” to plug their website directly into the Internet. It was the peak of the dot com boom and anything seemed possible.

During the feeding frenzy, a few of us got together and developed a service offering to provide full management of our customers’ websites. Interestingly, our business unit boomed as the rest of the internet (including our parent company) was crumbling around us.

Three years and two bankruptcies later, as Exodus was in its final throes, I finally got off that crazy roller coaster to try something completely different. I went from being a VP of Managed Services to starting with a clean slate as a systems engineer in the storage industry. Pay attention to what I just did because I repeat it again later.

As I launched my career v2.0 at NetApp, I kept hearing about something called server virtualization. Some of my smart friends were telling me that this technology would someday allow an entire rack of servers to run on a single host. Since Exodus sold its services by the rack unit, this idea intrigued me.

I tried to learn all I could about this company called VMware that was making all this a reality. I was immediately hooked.

They say luck is when preparation meets opportunity. VMware came knocking on my door one day and asked if I wanted to help them virtualize the world. I dropped whatever I was doing at the time and climbed aboard their starship and headed for the skies (bonus points if you recognize those lyrics). Opportunity, meet preparation h.

Fast forward to 2011. I worked my way up the virtualization career ladder to become a soldier in Chad Sakac’s vArmy. I was a vSpecialist at EMC (VMware’s parent company) focused on selling converged infrastructure solutions, which are basically the building blocks that enable cloud computing.

In a way, it was the culmination of all the technologies I had been working on over the span of my career. I was loving my job. In fact, I started to worry that maybe I had peaked early. This job wouldn’t last forever and what could I possibly do next that I would enjoy as much as this?

Enter career v3.0. I started out my IT career marketing “cloud” technologies to half-baked startups. Next, I rolled up my sleeves to figure out how these “cloud” technologies actually worked.

Today, I have been offered an amazing opportunity to help IT decision makers transition to an IT-as-a-Service business model by effectively deploying these cloud technologies. It is the logical next step in my journey to the cloud (OK that was a little corny).

I’m writing this newly updated bio while on a plane heading to Seattle for new hire orientation. I’m going to be working at Accenture starting tomorrow. I have no idea what I will be doing exactly but it promises to be a wild ride.

And hopefully by now, you’ve figured out that I like roller coasters.

NOTE: The opinions and views on this blog are strictly independent and not monitored by any employer, past, present or future.