Losing your mind over IT complexity
This is a rather non-technical post about life, the universe and… no, I think that has been written before. 😉
Seriously, it’s about how to deal with the overwhelming mass of information and the lack of knowledge of a single person in the field of virtualization.
In the old days
When I started my journey into virtualization, it was all about running a virtual machine within another operating system. I can remember the day when I’ve first seen a Windows 2000 booting in a VM on my NT4 workstation. It has been sluggish like hell and animations looked like slideshows. But, hey! What a cool technology!
A bit later I had the opportunity to manage an ESX 2.5 cluster before virtualization became mainstream.
Over the years, many other products were added: HA, DRS, vDS, NIOC, SIOC, SRM, vRealize, View, Horizon, vCOPS, vROPS, NSX, vSAN, Cloud, Containers, IoT, Software-defined-whatever and so on.
Enter the vMatrix
It is that kind of technological evolution which makes my work so fascinating and kept me going over the years. Learning new stuff every day is the spice of life and the core reason why I’ve left my labcoat behind, took the red pill and entered the vMatrix.
Recently I had a look on the VMworld EU 2018 Content Catalog. While browsing through all available sessions (569!), an irritating feeling crept to my mind and left me with an uneasy thought: “I don’t know nothing”. There are so many aspects of the vEcosphere, where my knowledge is next to nothing:
- VMware on [insert cloud here]
- Software-defined-[something else].
Wow! – My mind seems to blow.
Whenever I listen to a webcast or a conference presentation, I keep asking myself: “How do these people know all that cool stuff?”. I’m trying hard to catch up with latest developments and technologies. But unfortunately a day on Earth only has 24 hours and sometimes you need to do
boring ordinary stuff to earn a living.
I had this discussion with a friend after a domestic VMUG conference. He felt pretty much the same after that day. A virtual nitwit. Moreover he was wondering how I can manage to work, learn, maintain a blog and still have a life beyond my job.
I dont’t like knowledge, that is “miles wide and inch deep“. I usually try to understand a subject to a depth that enables me to teach it. And maybe there’s the core of the problem.
“There’s a big difference between knowing the name of something and knowing something.” – R. Feynman
Virtualization has become a very complex ecosystem. Too wide to know every aspect of it. I must learn to admit that. And instead of loosing my mind, I need to focus on a few spotlights which I know in depth. And there’s more than virtualization in itself. It’s the whole infrastructure around it: networks, storage, SAN, security just to name a few. You need to have some profound knowledge of these subjects too.
Slightly extend and modernize your knowledge. Leave behind some old stuff that had it’s time and get into new fields of interest.
While virtualization is a fascination area, one may not forget that there’s a life beyond CPU cycles and iops. Even if IT is your passion, it shouldn’t be the hub of your life. Look for something different to find a balance: Partner, friends, nature, art, sports – whatever you like.
I’m gaining a lot of positive energy while ascending some pitches with my climbing buddies after a demanding day. Once my fingertips touch bare rock, my mind becomes completely focused and there’s only my hands and my feet. No matter how exhausting the day was – it’s all gone – it’s just me and the rock… and my belay buddy of course. 😉
This kind of reset button is crucial to free your mind for new input and new ideas. No matter whether you’re playing an instrument or finishing a marathon distance. By completely changing the context, you’ll push your brain to the limits and keep it in shape. That in turn will help to face new challenges or learn new stuff.
I’m looking forward to VMworld EU 2018 which will take place in Barcelona. A great place to meet old and new friends. I’m going to spend a lot of time in the bloggers lounge in order to write new posts. But I also will attend a couple of breakout sessions to widen my view and fill my knowledge gaps.