Folding Paper Experiment

Have you ever been in a position in IT where you’re asked to do what is, by rational standards, impossible?

As virtualization engineers, we operate under a kind of value-charter in my view. Our primary job is to continuously improve things with the same set of resources, thereby increasing the value of our gear & ourselves.

paper-fold-ppt-14Looked at economically, our job isn’t so much different than what some people view as the great benefit of a free market economy: we are supposed to be effeciency multipliers, just like entrepreneurs are in the market. We take a set of raw resources, manipulate & reshape them, and extract more value out of them.

I hate to go all tech-crucnh on you, but we disrupt. In our own way. And it’s something you should be proud of.

Maybe you never thought of yourself like that, but you should…and you should never sell yourself short.

For guys and gals like us, compute, storage & network are raw resources at our disposal. Anything capable of being virtualized or abstracted can, or at least should, potentially have some value, as there are so many variables we can fine-tune and manipulate.

That old Dell PowerEdge 2950 with some DDR2 RAM that shipped to you in 2007? Sure it’s old and slow, but it’s got the virtualization bits in its guts that can, in the right hands, multiply & extend its value. Sure it’s not ideal, but raise your hand if you’re an engineer who gets The Platonic Ideal all the time?

I sure don’t. Even when I think it’s inescapably rational & completely reasonable.

Old switches with limited backplane bandwidth & small amounts of buffers? It’s junk compared to a modern Arista 10GbE switch, but when push comes to shove, you, as a virtualization engineer, can make it perform in service to your employer.

This is what we do. Or I should say, it’s what some of us forced to do.

We are, as a group, folding paper again and again, defying the rules & getting more & more value out of our gear.

It can be stressful and thankless. No one sees it or appreciates it, but we are engineers. Many have gone before us, and many will come after us. Resources are always going to be limited for people like us, and it’s our job to manage them well and extract as much as we can out of them.

This post written as much as a pep-talk for myself as for others!

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