My boss and I have been thinking the same thing apparently. Last week our ‘big server project’ was implemented and now we have to live with it. We installed a 2 server VMware Infrastucture 3 cluster complete with SAN. The real deal. I have a feeling it is just the start of much more. I’m very, very excited about it all. (Can you tell?)
It’s a big move for us, previous to this we had 8 independent servers, and a NAS (basically a normal server with more drives than the other ones). It wasn’t bad, but it was very inflexible. Now, we can be nimble.
Today my boss and I were looking at VMware training. It only seems natural to get more training on what you’ve gone head first into. We had confidence in the vendor we chose to implement the project, and I think we chose well. So far it has been as smooth as I expected. Now we have to take over the torch, it’s our baby now.
With training generally comes certification. I’m very interested in becoming a VCP after taking the official training sessions. Not for some professional reason, or to make me more ‘marketable.’ I just feel like it’s a topic I’m passionate about, and it would be nice to be able to prove “hey, this guy might just know a thing or two.”
So I’m thinking, sure, I get the knowledge. But then what? At some point I’m going to have our infrastructure needing very low maintenance. There’s going to be a limit of what I can implement in-house.
After having been to a handful of IT and education gatherings, seminars, or conferences, I really have a feeling that my school is just way ahead of others in many ways. Now, I’m only talking at a technology implementation level here. I’ve gotten some dropped jaws describing our previous desktop deployment method to other people in a similar position to mine or my boss. Things we’ve deployed like networking, desktop and application deployment, virtual servers, and wireless are way beyond what some districts have even dabbled with. We’ve been blessed with a large amount of community support and administrators understand the importance of technology. I think the progress we’ve made really illustrates that fact.
Today I made a comment about ’selling’ our service to other districts. I was joking somewhat, but it would be interesting to not be a money pit like the average school district department. A revenue stream in a school district? Who knows. My boss made a comment like it was something she had put some thought into already. We’re both very proud of everything we’ve accomplished so far and even if don’t sell our services and knowledge, we want to show off our stuff. We want to help other school districts, exchange knowledge, and as I said before, perhaps even sell our services.
There lies a problem, she explained. How much support do you give? Where does it end? How much time spent is too much? She thinks it will most likely interfere with the business we need to get done ‘at home’. I don’t disagree, but I think it might be worth it in some way.
It’s a short term goal of mine to offer a session at the eTech Ohio Educational Technology Conference. The whole event is 3 days of seminars/panels/displays from other districts, educators, or vendors. There’s a large exhibition hall where you can see all kinds of products. I was pretty disappointed at the selection last year. It had a lot of vendors, but nothing I actually thought was cool. Cisco was demonstrating products we’ve been using for 2 years already, and didn’t know about products we would actually want. There was a session that focused somewhat on VMware, but only 5 people showed up. 3 of those people were myself, boss, and a coworker.
I think I want to somehow demonstrate how we do things on the IT side of things. How we do it, why we do it that way, and what mistakes we’ve made along the way. I’d like to include desktop and software deployment, virtualization, and web-based software we use. I could also like to describe our next steps into other areas we’re dabbling in, like content and document management.