Ken’s Virtual Realty

March 9, 2009

My FIRST Blog Post

Filed under: Miscellaneous — Ken Cline @ 10:33 PM

OK, so all my friends have been trying to get me to start blogging – here goes!

We’ll start with some background on me. That will help you decide whether there’s any reason to believe what I post here.

I’ve been using technology to help get the job done since I was in high school. Back then, I was working on a (then antique!) IBM 402 accounting machine – and yes, I did ‘program’ them with those control panels!

Next, I had a six year stint in the US Air Force where I initially worked on a UNIVAC 418-III that was equiped with 128Kwords (yep, that’s kilo-words) of RAM and an FH-1782 Drum unit with 4,194,304 words of storage. I helped write an implementation of the AUTODIN Mode I protocol for this system – which was fun because you had to do everything in overlays, and each overlay partition was 2K words big…

If anyone cares to learn more about this long-defunct system, Bit Savers has an archive of truly interesting documents 🙂

About two years in to my illustrious military career, I got recruited to go work at the White House Communications Agency. They liked the fact that I knew how to program in an assembly level programming language (it didn’t matter that it wasn’t the language they wanted me to use!). So…off to Washington DC and The White House! The task at hand was to migrate the White House record communications system from a RCA Spectra 70/45 to a UNIVAC 90/80. Interesting challenge – both systems used essentially the same assembly language; however, the 70/45 was overlay driven and used physical level (Head/Cylinder/Track) I/O addressing whereas the 90/80 used virtual memory and logical level (block number) I/O addressing. This is the project that I blame my having to wear hearing aides on. My “office” was a long, narrow hallway that was filled with disk drives. Not the ones you know and love today, but the washing machine size, 7 platter, 14″ monsters that held a whopping 7.25MB of data. I’m guessing the ambient noise level was somewhere north of 110db…

During this time period, I did a stint as an instructor in IBM System/360 assembly language programming at the (now defunct) Computer Learning Center. Let me tell you, the best way to learn something is to teach it!

OK, time to separate from the Air Force. Off to work for Informatics General (who was later acquired by Sterling Software) and back to The White House to do again what we had just finished doing: replace the record communications system. This time, we migrated from the 90/80 to a DEC PDP 11/45.

Finished that project and did some work at the US Treasury Department and the Justice Department (JURIS, anyone?), too.

Left Informatics General (now Sterling Software) and went to work for Eaton (which was sold to Contel, which merged with GTE, who divested our division to DynCorp…) and back to The White House for another stint (by this time, they had migrated to yet another system for record communications!). I spent time at the DIA and several civilian agencies around the DC area. During this time I was mostly working with Novell NetWare (it was so amazing when you could pull files across the (10Mbps) network faster than you could read them from your local hard drive!).

Fast forward through MS-DOS and every version of Windows and we get to the GCSS-Army project and my first exposure to Microsoft Active Directory (MAD!). I became an AD Architect and jumped ship to head over to Compaq where I worked on several projects, including some AD replication work on the Exchange implementation for the US Senate.

HP and Compaq completed their merger.

Finally, in 2001, I get to go to a class on some new technology called VMware. I had no idea what it was – but I was up for something new. Immediately, I’m hooked. I go back to HP and try to find an opportunity to use this amazing new technology, but to no avail. So…I get put on a new project as the AD architect for a global construction materials manufacturing company’s SAP implementation. When it comes time to place the hardware order, I convince the customer to include an extra DL380 for use as a VMware host – the toe is in the door!

It wasn’t long until folks decided they needed more systems – but the procurement cycle was too long. This is when I piped up and said “we have this DL380 here with VMware installed on it – I can give you a new system in 30 minutes”. We soon had multiple clusters with DL580’s and DL740’s backed by an XP1024 and an EVA5000 – the rest is history.

During this project, I discovered the VMware Community Forums and a bunch of really great people!

Since then:

  • I’ve been to every US-based VMworld (missed the first, but been to (and presented at) all the rest)
  • I’ve developed the virtual architecture for many Fortune 1,000 organizations, mostly in the Financial, Pharmaceutical, and Manufacturing verticals.
  • I’ve done more P2V migrations than I care to count
  • I earned my VCP in ESX 2 & VI 3
  • I was named a VMware vExpert for 2009
  • I am a community moderator for the VMware VMTN Communities forum
  • I’ve provided technical review for books by Oglesby & Herold, Haletky, and Seibert

On the personal side:

If you’ve made it this far, you must be having a very slow day!

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