Virtual Kim

@Kim_Bottu … Virtually Gung Ho

How the IT landscape is changing the way Administrators have to think

Some 18 years ago my dream was to get out of first level support and work my way up all the way to second level support. I did’t give myself lots of credit to accomplish this. I never was a good student and never really studied anything IT related with the exception of “Mastering Counterstrike 1.3-5” and “Mastering DOOM 1, and 2” . But I decided to give my all anyway.

Those days were definitely different days back then. Windows server was the ultimate goal of about anyone and it was mine as well. Not that I had the slightest comprehension about DNS, DHCP, DOMAINs or GPO’s. But back then, if you walked the extra mile, that extra mile was not that far compared to the extra mile we have to walk now. Back then, studying a couple of books and you could actually say you mastered some of the basics. From there you would move up a function and a pay-grade and that was that.

18 years have passed since those days and the IT landscape has changed a lot. Nowadays it often feels like your day to day work as an administrator is trying to catch up with the latest trends and best practices: What is hot today might not be that hot tomorrow!

For sure when our infrastructures are running well we can allow our environments to maintain themselves more or less, making minimal changes when needed to (such as patching, change management or upgrade planning) and keep making sure everything keeps running smoothly. There is nothing to study because there is no catching up to do because well, all runs well and management is happy. Truth be told, you’re doing an excellent job as an administrator when all keeps running well!

But in case you haven’t noticed yet: a lot of the new promising and emerging technologies require new and different skills. Some of these technologies are like a whole new encyclopedia of difficulties to master: Docker, NSX, VRA, ACI, Cloud, Hybrid Cloud, Photon,…

So as administrators and SME’s we have a choice to make: do we wait to delve into new technology until our employers ask us to or do we look into new potential solutions on our own? Will we try to catch up or even try to run ahead of the pack and start exploring these technologies before our employers even consider adopting them? Do we prefer a proactive or reactive approach?

There is a reason behind this post of course. With each of these new emerging big technologies which cost piles of money, you are not only buying a (very expensive) product, because of the costs you are also making a commitment to implement the bought solution and at these (very) high costs, you want to make sure that whatever you advised your employer to use as the next solution, will work in your company’s infrastructure.

From my end of the table.. I try to at least keep some ground with the new technologies which I think are promising and potentially good candidates as replacement solutions for our current environment. This means more than just reading a blog article or two of course.

I want to be able to say at least, with some confidence, why I think a solution from a technical perspective might or might not fit our needs. I prefer to have some answers before questions are asked, because looking for answers in complex IT solutions takes plenty of time and management sometimes wants the answers by yesterday.

Let me finish with an example. Like me you are probably thinking about upgrading to vSphere 6. How many vCenter servers do you have per site? Got that? Now where and how many PSC’s will you install? Will you install a single vSphere site across all your physical sites or install a couple of sites and let them replicate or not replicate?

Let’s add to the confusion. If you think NSX 6.2 is a promising solution, you are definitely not alone. For example NSX allows you to extend your L2 network across sites! Awesome! Go back to the previous paragraph wherr you have deployed vSphere 6. Now you are ready to deploy NSX because it has ‘those’ features you really want to have. Unfortunately, your design for your virtual datacenters might not support the NSX network topology you want to implement. Bummer.. Probably you should have considered NSX rollout scenarios at the time you were planning for vSphere 6 upgrades and installs..because your datacenters should support the NSX topology you want.

So maybe if you would have looked into NSX at the same time as you were looking into vSphere 6.. you could have avoided this.

Of course it all takes up heaps of time. But like me you probably like to get into the deep and invest time on a product (test and POC) before you deploy and should you not like to do that, you can always fall back on consultants to design and deploy in your stead. But that takes the fun out of your job, not?



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This entry was posted on February 4, 2016 by in Uncategorized.
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