The Beginning of Cloud Natives

Over the last 8 years I have built my career around VMware. I remember the first time I installed VMware Server at one of my jobs just to play around with and imported my first virtual machine. I had no idea what I was doing or how any of it worked, but I felt there was a future for me in this technology. As I moved on to other companies, the VMware implementations just got larger and larger; from 3 hosts all the way up to well over 1000.

Having spent time in these environments and with other users at local VMUG events and VMworld, I’ve seen that the skills required to be a VMware administrator are becoming commoditized. More people know about it than ever before, more blogs exist than ever before, and the necessity of meetings that revolve around VMware specifically seems to have run its course. While VMware remains integral to the datacenter today, there are skills we need to be developing and technologies we need to be exploring to ensure we’re not the ones being replaced when the next generation joins the workforce.

Enter Cloud Natives.
cloud natives

Cloud Natives was the idea of Dominic Rivera and myself as a means to bridge the gap between user and these new technologies. Cloud Natives looks to bring together the leaders in a technology space to present their solutions in one location. Rather than just letting vendors spew marketing material,  we take a different approach. Vendors are required to provide actual customers to present how their solutions have impacted their job and their business. No more outlandish claims, no more vanity numbers that don’t depict actual workloads, just real stories from real users.

We are kicking off 2016 with our first event on July 14th in Portland, OR. This event will be focused on one of the hottest technologies in the datacenter right now: Flash Storage. We’re bringing together the top players in the Flash Storage space and you’ll hear their customers discuss the benefits and challeneges they faced when moving away from legacy spinning disk arrays and even newer hybrid arrays.Our goal is to educate our members one event at a time.

Cloud Natives looks to bring together all the datacenter technologies into one place. Whether it’s a focus on hypervisors, traditional or next-generation storage and infrastructure, cloud providers, DevOps and automation, or anything else that is hot in the datacenter, we will be that go-to resource in the Pacific Northwest. Each event is an opportunity to evaluate multiple vendors from the perspective of the customer. With no overlapping session schedules, you can walk away better informed and get any questions answered in one event.

I encourage everyone in the Portland area to register for this event at the Cloud Natives site. Our goal is to bring a sense of community back to Portland. We want to be a place to meet and network, to encourage, to mentor and to grow in our careers. No matter the stage in our career, we all have knowledge and experience that can help someone else and it’s time we all do our part to give back to the community.

The Beginning of Cloud Natives

Why VMUG?

As I think back on my career and where I began I’m reminded of the people in my professional life that have helped me along the way. My first job was at a nationwide company primarily doing desktop support for the local office as well as some of the remote locations. My boss, Jason, was someone I related to and we had a great working relationship. I could ask for help on anything and he would stop what he was doing and make time to show me the right way to do it; not just do it for me. While I reported to him, he treated me as an equal.

My next job was for a startup and I was the lone IT guy. No matter the task, whether IT or not, I did it. It was a job where I had ownership over everything. The attitude that the success of our company rested on my shoulders was something that drove me to work harder each day. My boss, Ron, was a great person that I could freely talk to about everything. We brainstormed together how this business would run, where it would go, and how we’d get there. There was a mutual respect.

At a later job I met one of my favorite boss’s and one of my better friends. While we both struggled with the company itself, we made the best of our situation and we worked hard for each other. He trusted me and believed in me. He saw a lot in me and throughout the years has pushed me to do more and to be better than what I was. Not just in my career, but in my life as well.

My favorite jobs all had one thing in common: 1 person that made me better, that kept me learning, and that pushed and encouraged me. The person I bounced all of my (sometimes ridiculous) ideas off of and they listen to all of them. When you’re building your career, that is what you need. You need the help of people around you to build you up.

The point of this post isn’t to talk about how important your boss or good co-workers are. Sometimes you don’t have the benefit of having a boss or good co-workers who CAN or WILL teach you. Sometimes you’re a 1 man IT shop and all you have is yourself and Google. When you don’t have that support at your job that’s when you need a good community.

Why is VMUG and this community so important? . When I started working with VMware I learned how to edit some Virtual Machine settings and then made a ton of assumptions on how things worked because I never had the time to learn and didn’t always have the benefit of someone to ask. Each and every day I’m just trying to keep my head above water, but I’m not growing in my career. Those were the days I wished I had a community I could go to and ask all the questions I had.

With so many VMware products and so many configuration options, every member adds value to VMUG. Being active in in VMUG isn’t just for “experts”. Sharing the knowledge you’ve gained in YOUR environment can help someone in theirs. When you share your struggles the community is there for you. When someone else shares their struggles, you can be there for them.

I have recently joined as a leader for VMUG in Portland, Oregon. The vision I have for us is a community that is actively working to help each other succeed. We can ask questions, share ideas, or just talk over beers during a happy hour. I didn’t want to be a VMUG leader because I’m an expert, far from it. I wanted to be a leader because I want to see us succeed. I want each and every VMUG member to know they have a place to turn whenever they need help. The only way we can be successful is if our members are active and talk to each other.

The more events you come to, the more connections you’ll make, the larger your community will grow and the better this VMUG will be. Everyone has value regardless of how big or how small the environment they support. No matter the skill level, years of experience, certifications or any other factor. The VMware User Group is nothing without its users.

We are all in this together and your VMUG community is on your side.

Why VMUG?