From VMware Administrator to Cloud Pilot

1. Your journey to the cloud

Are you an expert in virtualization? What is your title? VMware System Administrator, Virtualization Specialist, VM Administrator, vSphere guru……

Congratulations! You are on your way to Cloud. Sean Regan wrote a blog on Cloud Pilots. As organizations are getting into virtualizing business critical applications, the six figure income (or whatever is the equivalent) has to come from something bigger that managing a bunch of ESX hosts.

Why? Well, smaller environments are less likely host their own virtual infrastructure. Their computing requirements are served from Cloud. So they need you at Cloud providers’ data centers. Larger businesses may have their own private clouds. Whether you are a technology savvy college grad looking to start a career in IT or an expert in managing virtual machine environments, it will be a huge plus to add a few additional skills in your arsenal to get ready for the future.

How do we get there? If we have learned something from the recent economic downturn, the keyword is relevance. More and more organizations are looking for multi-skilled professionals. As a VMware professional you have already gotten some level of exposure to storage. That is one area where you could sharpen the saw. Another area you must have exposure is data protection. This is really the golden nugget for the future.

Data Protection is a huge responsibility and hence comes with higher compensation benefits. Now that cloud providers (whether serving external or internal customers) are hosting everything for mission critical applications, their cloud infrastructure must meet the RPO and RTO requirements which was traditionally the role of a backup administrator.

If you are a vSphere professional for a small environment, you may be already using some point products to protect your virtual machine data. VMware Data Recovery (vDR), vRanger, Veeam etc. are a few examples. Now imagine your next role as a Cloud Pilot for a large organization.

  • The infrastructure is no more a bunch of ESX hosts managed by a vCenter server
  • Now you are not an exclusive virtual machine administrator, you are in charge of protecting assets on various platforms required to power the Cloud
  • You need end to end visibility into the entire infrastructure, you must see both physical and virtual layers powering the Cloud
  • Data protection is no more copying a bunch of VMDK files to disk storage. Enter the world of storage level replication, continuous data protection, long term archival and more

This is what inspired me to write a series of blogs for virtual machine administrators. It is easy to learn lower end solutions like the ones mentioned earlier as those are designed for very small environments. Those solutions cannot grow the Cloud Pilot in you. An enterprise data protection platform like NetBackup may look a bit intimidating at the first sight, but imagine your worth and relevance if you can be the one capable of managing the cloud. So here is my attempt to bring you the concepts of NetBackup in the language you are already familiar.

Next: NetBackup domain vs. vSphere domain

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