Must-Read IT Blogger Q&A: Duncan Epping
When it comes to virtualization, Duncan Epping has written the book. Several books, actually. He is the co-author of multiple books on virtualization, including VMware vSphere 5 Clustering Technical Deepdive, VMware vSphere 4.1 HA and DRS Technical Deepdive, the VMware vSphere 4.0 Quick Start Guide and Foundation for Cloud Computing with VMware vCloud Director vSphere 4. He was also among the first VMware Certified Design Experts.
As the principal architect in the Technical Marketing group at VMware, Epping shares his virtualization expertise on his blog, Yellow Bricks, which was featured as one of BizTech’s 50 Must-Read IT Blogs last year. When he’s not working on virtualization and other IT projects, Epping’s hobbies include running and alternative music. In fact, the name of his IT blog comes from an Arctic Monkeys song.
We recently had the opportunity to talk with Epping about virtualization, IT and blogging.
BIZTECH: What are your daily must-visit tech stops online?
EPPING: I visit the VMware Community Forums daily and follow the VMware Planet V12n RSS feed. This provides me with all the virtualization/cloud information I can ever ask for. The Community Forums have always been useful to figure out the challenges people are facing, and it also gives me a lot of ideas to write about for my blog. The Planet V12n feed is where all the relevant virtualization blogs are aggregated and not a day goes by without reading this feed. There are so many great blogs out there and there is such a wealth of knowledge to be gained that I recommend everyone follow this feed!
BIZTECH:What emerging technology do you think will most change the enterprise landscape in 2012?
EPPING: Personally, I hope that enterprise social collaboration will change the enterprise landscape in 2012. For many people, social media has already changed the way they communicate with friends and family and even informally with co-workers.
I am a heavy user of our own enterprise social collaboration tools, Socialcast/Strides/SlideRocket, as it enables me to collaborate with my colleagues in a way that is more efficient than how we have traditionally done this. It also allows me to share ideas and concepts and receive instant feedback from any type of device, anywhere and at any time. I can comment on a thread from my iPhone or decide to use my Android Tablet to quickly respond to a question. The device has become irrelevant; the experience across different platforms is similar and seamless.
BIZTECH: What existing technology do you think businesses have most underutilized?
EPPING: As a virtualization fanatic, and considering that many companies have not reached 100 percent virtualized yet, I can only answer virtualization! Especially considering VMware vSphere 5 enables you to virtualize every x86 application out there. In the past people were concerned about performance, but there really is no reason not to virtualize anymore today.
BIZTECH: What’s the most innovative, creative or unusual way an organization has deployed technology that you’ve come across?
EPPING: In my workspace, virtualization has been the enabler for a lot of creative and innovative solutions. Just think about something that we all take for granted today, vMotion aka live migration.
It is in my opinion the feature that changed the world of IT. Yes, I realize this sounds very dramatic, but the reality is that many started adopting virtualization when they realized the flexibility this provided them. I have written an article about vMotion and I think the confessions and comments say it all.
BIZTECH: When it comes to technology adoption, what best practice can’t be repeated often enough?
EPPING: Evaluate every best practice before you implement it. Even though something is considered to be a best practice, it doesn't mean that it applies to your environment, scenario or requirements. I have seen many environments where compute and storage systems were under- or overutilized just because a “random” number was used for scaling/sizing. This either leads to a lower ROI than expected or ends up with a call to customer support because the system doesn’t perform as expected.
Although it sounds completely logical, document your design decisions and review/revise them occasionally. What is valid today might not be valid tomorrow.
BIZTECH: Why do you blog?
EPPING: I started blogging because it was an easy way of documenting my findings, the problems I faced and lessons I learned in the field. I noticed quickly that the more I shared with my audience, the more I got in return. Many of the posts resulted in great discussions, which often led to new articles, new solutions or different ways of implementing the products.
Although it was never the reason I started blogging, I will admit that the visibility that it has provided me with has definitely helped me getting to where I am today. This should not, however, be the reason to start blogging as it takes a significant amount of time. In order to get a certain level of visibility, it requires passion and dedication.
The interaction with my readers is what keeps me blogging, and the fact that I get to learn new things every day, as that is ultimately what it is about.
BIZTECH: Should every business/organization virtualize its IT infrastructure?
EPPING: Yes, I am a firm believer of virtualization ever since I virtualized the environment I was responsible for years ago. Of course, the space/cooling/power benefits were important, but more importantly it allowed us to reduce the time required for deploying new applications. This increase in operational efficiency allowed us to decrease the time to market for new services. Business agility is what our customers valued the most.