Kansas City VMUG Conference

I used to go to a lot more of the Kansas City VMUG meetings back before I became a consultant (and had more control over my own schedule) but when I saw there would be a full day event (and that the headline speaker would be Steve Woznaik) I made sure to block the day off on my calendar.

The conference was really well put together, kudos to the KC board members and everyone else involved with pulling it off. The atmosphere was described as “VMworld-like” and I’d have to agree.

In addition to Mr. Woznaik, there was a nice sprinkling of rock stars from the VMware community. @scott_lowe was there giving a presentation on how to be more organized (should have taken notes), @andreleibovici gave some interesting insights into the future of virtual end user computing, and Mr. Irish Spring (who goes by @irishyespring on Twitter but doesn’t tweet much) was there.

Irish Spring kind of sold me on VMware. Mid-2000s when I was just getting settled into my first real system administration job, I went to a presentation by Irish on (among other things) virtual desktop infrastructure. At the time, my position involved building desktop images for the university, and providing a big chunk of tier 3 support to our help desk and desktop support people. We’d just started to get our feet wet in virtualization the summer before, and prior to Irish’s presentation I’d never even considered virtualizing desktops. I came away from that meeting really jazzed up about VMware. I knew the issues our team was struggling with as well as the issues our faculty and staff struggled with when it came to computer labs. I went home and spent the rest of the evening essentially architecting and putting together the proposal to my boss that would eventually be Rockhurst University’s VDI project. This is the project that led to all the accolades and awards for me and the university. But that’s another story.

Irish, his energy and enthusiasm, rubbed off and made me go out and do some really great things. It was ironic that the center of his speech at the crowd was getting your head out of IT and into the business processes to see how you can use your knowledge to advance the business. (Before the business processes feel they need to come help synergize IT.) He spoke a lot about using the “big brains” we have to do more than just patch servers. IT people get to see the underbelly of the beast, and can do more than just be gatekeepers by helping to see things from the viewpoints of different stakeholders.

I couldn’t agree more.