In high school, I became enamored with the works of David Bowie. In my art class, I even painted a portrait of him based on the photo inside the CD insert of his “greatest hits” album. I wrote an English essay on him as well.
One of my favorite songs of his is “Changes” because it seemed to really resonate with how I viewed life – a series of changes that we can choose to hide from or face head on.
“Every time I thought I’d got it made, it seemed the taste was not so sweet”
Nearly 9 years ago, I found out my wife was pregnant with our first child. We were thrilled, but that also meant I had to re-evaluate my career path. Working in NetApp’s technical support center for the previous 5 years had been good to me. I’d learned a ton, gotten into a technical leadership role and got opportunities to travel all over the world – California, Canada, Japan, England.
However, the downside to job was long hours, weekend work, on-call rotations, stress and other aspects that promised to creep into the new chapter of my life. Fatherhood and the job were not going to be able to co-exist, so I had to make a change. I applied for a Technical Marketing position at NetApp in the area I was specializing in as a support engineer and started my job there.
Later that year, we had a healthy baby boy!
“So I turned myself to face me”
The new role allowed me to blend my technical expertise with my creative side. I had a regular day job where I answered questions, wrote (sometimes too) technical white papers, presented at conferences, etc. But I also was able to branch out into blogs, podcasts, social media, graphic design, photography and video. I even got to cosplay!
I’m all over the place sometimes, and having the diversity of options to not just do my job, but increase my own visibility and brand. This lead to more opportunities – I went from covering just NFS to covering anything NAS, FlexGroup volumes and even ONTAP itself. In fact, I created yet another “What’s New in ONTAP” Insight session that you can find here:
As it happens, it’s likely my last.
In the past 8 years, we’ve seen a pretty major shift in how people think about storage technologies and I think the transition from everything being on-prem to a shifting hybrid cloud focus is at a point now where I started to re-evaluate my career. On-prem is still a very real and viable thing, but staying in one place isn’t my thing – I wanted to become more of a hybrid TME, because that’s where the winds were shifting.
“I watch the ripples change their size, but never leave the stream of warm impermanence”
So, now, I’m at a new career crossroads. I’ve decided to take on a new role with the Cloud Data Services group at NetApp. But this change won’t be so drastic – I’ll still be a TME. I’ll still be doing work with ONTAP (just from a cloud perspective, such as Cloud Volumes Services, Cloud Volumes ONTAP, Amazon FSx, Astra Data Store). I’ll still be blogging and podcasting and trying to come up with new angles to keep the role interesting in fresh. I’ll just be doing it with the cloud as top of mind.
Part of the new role includes Astra, and as I was watching the session on Astra Datastore, a light bulb went off. This may be positioned for Kubernetes right now, but watch closely and let your imagination run wild. I see this as a potential building block for more use cases and I’ll try to flesh those out more in an upcoming podcast on Astra Datastore.
For now, have a look at the Insight session (requires an Insight login, but will eventually be available for everyone later):