Changing the Traditional Mindset

One of the things I always talk about and enjoy talking about is how just changing the IT/IS mindset is beneficial for everyone involved. As I mentioned in Infrastructure: the Past, Present, and Future (part 1), I like many of you was very happy with my life running virtualization on three-tier architecture. Now sure happy is a relative term as I had a stable and secure job. But it was taking up so much of my time that my day-to-day personal life was not happy. But I like many others did not know there was a better way to do things.

Traditionally, the IT/IS career meant things like pager duty, maintenance windows on nights and/or weekends, managing multiple different technologies, server break-fix, dealing with end-user requests, and then dealing with multiple vendors for support. That really led to total job security and it also meant we built silos within the IT/IS team and none of that knowledge was shared. If I was hit by a bus then someone would have to try to decipher all of the things I had done to just keep everything up and running. That is beside the point though.

Now those maintenance windows could be tricky. If there was a hypervisor update it wasn’t too bad, unless all of your hosts were over 70% utilization and you couldn’t actually take every workload offline. It happens right? Oh but what if there is a host firmware update? Well, you better make sure that the firmware update doesn’t have any other weird requirements about other hardware firmware updates. I know I spent at least one weekend stuck in the office because a FEX update ended up purple screening all of the hosts attached to it and also corrupted a boot file. Then every time you call another vendor to try and solve the problem you get the tier 1 engineer every time who wants you to do all these things you have already done and it’s getting nowhere and you and the team are stuck taking shifts all weekend to fix it. My apologies, I got off on a rant. Not like that happened to me at all…

That was the reality though, and for a lot of IT/IS teams it still is their reality. But it could be different, it could be better. I personally made the switch to Nutanix. The first time I did an AOS and AHV update in the middle of the day on a Wednesday and it generated zero tickets and zero calls from the DBA was the turning point. Gone were my days of spending weeks racking and stacking equipment, cloning host files, and then updating hardware versions within the host file so I could run a hypervisor. No longer was adding new servers to a cluster a pain and time sink either. I still clearly remember leaving on a maintenance Friday at 5pm as everything I needed to do had been done, during business hours. My personal and professional life had drastically changed.

At the heart of all of this is a mindset change. Too many times, I have talked to a system administrator or other members of the IT/IS team and I hear the same thing. “If we switch to Nutanix and you make it this simple, I will be out of a job.” Actually, no. Nutanix cannot update itself, it’s not SkyNet after all. But more importantly, you are not working yourself out of a job, you are just no longer having to do all of the care and feeding you previously had to. Now you can spend your days innovating. You can use other tools to help secure the company’s critical data. You can set up alerting and anomalies with DataLens to monitor your storage traffic for ransomware. You can start working on finding better ways to do things like low-code/no-code automation. And even better you can work to help your organization build out a true hybrid cloud, helping realize and build the future of work.

It takes a lot of time to get to that line of thought. But we are all here, together, working towards this same goal. Let’s work together and build the future together. Minus SkyNet, nobody wants SkyNet…

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