Friday, February 01, 2008

To VM or Not to VM: The last crazy two weeks

The last two weeks have been absolutely crazy. I spent one of these weeks up in Virginia where I had an opportunity to meet with some of the members of the new team.

Public Services certainly has some perks that Commercial Services just never had. For one, we have a lab where we can stand-up environments on-demand. Name it, we can make it happen. Any OS! I like that. Also, this department is a big user of Virtual Machines. This is an area where I have had little to no experience before I left for Afghanistan.

While over in the sand box, I had the chance to work with the 82nd Airborne Division's civilian web master. He introduced me to the concept and use of virtual machines. Although the 82nd ABN DIV deploys their applications to a "normal" production platform, he was able to demonstrate a complete enterprise setup via VM.

This leads me to my next chore, which is to stand up an entire base webMethods Fabric Solution in VMWare. I have a little time researching VMWare and will utilize VMWare's workstation product. Once I have a base configuration, I will save a copy that I will always be able to utilize as a base as well as distribute to other members of my team, who can then open up the VM on their laptops if need be.

Please keep in mind the licensing ramifications if you decide to use this for your client or your company. I am not sure how the licensing agreements address the deployment of software in a VM. Is it then by CPU or by node?

I spent this week working from home. In between conducting research and project shopping so I can get busy, I moved my home office.

While I was away in the big sand box, my wife confiscated my office and I have been relegated to working out of the living room area. Even though the amount of space was generous, the amount of noise was also generous and made it impossible to concentrate. Additionally, anytime I needed to take a phone call, I had to hunt for the spare room or go outside. Of course, this is Florida, so going outside is always a good thing.

Along with my change from Commercial to Public Services, I had to get ready for long-term work out of my house. The company is getting smarter about how they treat employees and seem to following the same path as Lockheed in that they consider it highly desirous to have employees telecommute. I realize that this isn't possible 100% of the time, but I believe that I may be able to travel perhaps less than 50% of the time rather than 100% of the time as was previous.

I digress. So in between bouts of research, phone calls, emails and the like, I installed my desk, moved the internet connection, VOIP, etc.

The amazing thing about this is that my wife was the big driver and I thought she was doing it 100% for me, but as usual with a spouse, there is always an ulterior motive. She did an extraordinary job of locating a $4K desk and then paying only $300.00 for it. My brother-in-law helped me install it. He can lift a house with his little finger, so helping me out by holding the cabinets up to the wall while I drilled holes and attached them was quite helpful.

Once the cabinets, desk, and fold-outs were all installed, I had to move all the technical stuff: Internet router, cable modem, VOIP interface, UPS bank and the servers. I also dug through some of my legacy purchases and found my US Robotics (yep, now owned by CISCO) conference phone and installed that. The only casualty of the move was my main computer. I believe that the power supply gave up as I unplugged it the very last time for the move. I have since ordered another power supply.

Believe it or not, the biggest problem I had with the move was the printer. Each pay cycle, I have to submit my time and expense report electronically and on paper. Since my main desktop is down, I needed to install the printer driver to my corporate laptop and then just plug-in the USB cable so I could print out this paperwork. Installing software is usually easy but this proved to be vexing. No matter what I did, I couldn't install the printer drivers. Oh wait, there was an instruction guide. Hmmm, the guide said to make sure your bloody virus scanner is turned off.

Wait wait, I got it. That did the trick and I am fully back in business!

Oh, and what was my wife's ulterior motive for giving up our spare bedroom for my office? I thought you would never ask!

Since I was away for so long, I missed my daugher's FIRST birthday, so this Saturday, we'll celebrate her 2nd birthday. By moving my work area from the living room to the spare bedroom, we were able to commandeer an entire room for her party.


Post a Comment

<< Home