I’ve finally decided that it’s time to start a blog. Why? Well, it wasn’t only a bandwagon thing…I thought that this might help to keep me motivated to do some of the things that I’ve been intending on doing for many, many moons. I hope that if I put these plans in print, it might actually help force me to complete some if not all of these goals…and also I want to be cool like Rod and Russ <g>
The main focus in my work life for the past seven years has been geographically dispersed clustering at EMC. So far, I have focused on the GeoSpan and SRDF/CE for MSCS products. I’m hoping to expand my horizons a bit and try some others products and compare and contrast the technologies.
I’ve worked at EMC Corporation since 1999. My main focus at EMC has revolved around their software products for Microsoft operating systems. I started as a “New Product Analyst” where my job was basically to learn the new products and then police the release of the product and fill in the gaps as necessary. One of those new products was a little gem called GeoSpan for MSCS. Little did I know that this would be a life altering project that I would never truly escape. It was the only project I was assigned to at the time so I spent ALL of my time testing this product.
I had never worked with Microsoft clusters before so this was totally new ground for me. I worked with our SVT guy, George, for months installing and testing the code. We tried every possible scenario with the available hardware we had and found many different issues with the code. We delayed the release of the product for over six months because of the issues that George and I uncovered. By the time the product was released, I was truly an expert with this software and knew every little detail (minus the coding).
Since I was now one of two non-engineering GeoSpan experts in the company, I was called on frequently for assistance with implementations at customer sites across the globe. It was because of this field experience that I really became known as a God of GeoSpan. As popularity increased, I was also called upon to deliver training sessions around the world to internals as well as customers.
As new versions were released, I would again test, implement and teach the new versions. Today, I am still constantly asked to help teach and implement, though my job officially is to support the product. I suffered some burnout from all the traveling and I switched into a tech support role so I wouldn’t have to travel as much. The travel has slowed, though I am still occasionally teaching.
During my downtime, I spend a lot of time in the Usenet newsgroups related to clustering. I read the questions posted on the newsgroups and would do a little research to come up with answers. I always found it amazing that people would be wise enough to use newsgroups to seek out assistance, but didn’t have enough common sense to search Microsoft’s knowledgebase for the answers. I always made a point to include a link to the KB in my posts so they might take the hint. Anyway, I found it fun to help out people and I admit that I would also do some self-promotion of “my” products. I try to keep an open mind and not be too biased, but I can’t help myself at times.
Anyway, I spent a few years helping out in the newsgroups and one day I got an email announcing that I had been nominated as a Microsoft MVP. I was awarded the MVP for Windows Server – Clustering on Jan 1st, 2004. I’ve been re-awarded each year since because of my work in the newsgroups. I truly do not feel worthy of this award, but who am I to turn down a free gift from Bill Gates J
To this day, I don’t know how I was nominated or who nominated me, but I do really appreciate it. Seeing the work done by my fellow MVPs is a great way to keep motivated and makes me want to do more for the community.
Some of the things I’d like to begin working on are the following:
– I’d like to start my own website dedicated to geographically dispersed clusters. I’m not sure how much different this will be compared to this blog so for starters, I’ll just blog about it and see where this leads
– I’d like to test and become more versed in other geo-cluster products. I’d eventually like to compare and contrast the strengths and weaknesses of each solution.
– I’m very interested in testing the new geographic capabilities of SQL and Exchange.
– I have every intention on testing Longhorn beta 3 (when released). I’m very excited about the new features coming for LH and of course I haven’t had the time to even consider looking at it yet.
– I’ve also been considering writing a book about geographic clusters, but figured I needed to broaden my horizons first. Also, after reading about the horrors that Russ has gone through, maybe I’ll just stick to blogging