When he’s not blogging, Michael McNamara is a technical consultant for a large health care provider in the Philadelphia area and a husband and father to three girls. He describes himself as a “jack of all trades” in his current job, with primary responsibility for data and voice infrastructure while also supporting Windows Active Directory, Microsoft Exchange, Microsoft Windows, VMware, FC SAN, and more.
MT: How did you start blogging?
MM: I started blogging in 2007 in an effort to build my digital persona when my job was threatened by a potential sale of the department I worked in. It was my initial goal to be the #1 ranking for “Michael McNamara". The idea being that when I interviewed and people Google’d “Michael McNamara” they’d quickly see that I was legit and the real deal. The job scare blew over but I had found a new hobby in blogging.
MT: As your blog has grown, who are your readers and what are they looking for from your blog?
MM: At the start I kept my posts geared towards Avaya (formerly Nortel) equipment, specifically Ethernet switching and IP telephony since there was a real lack of information around Avaya equipment available on the net.. There was little useful documentation, no community, and only pre-sales spec sheets that weren’t much use to the engineers and system administrators actually working with the equipment. As I solved my pain points and shared them online I found that I wasn’t alone. There were people all over the world struggling with the same problems and the blog kind of caught fire.
While I actually work with and support numerous technologies I originally limited my blogging to topics which were absent from the net. I felt there was no benefit in me writing about topics that were already covered in-depth elsewhere on the net. A few years ago I realized that people valued my feedback and experiences so I started expanding my topics beyond just Avaya networking.
MT: What new trends are you seeing in your interaction with your readers?
MM: About two years ago I started a discussion forum to provide a place for guests, strangers even to ask their own questions. The comment threads on my blog posts were becoming inundated with off-topic comments and questions and I didn’t want to turn people away just because their question wasn’t related to the topic of the blog post so I decided to start a discussion forum. On the discussion forum users could ask whatever question they wanted and myself and a few other subject matter experts would try to answer them as best we could. With more and more projects being “value engineered” there are a lot of system administrators and engineers trying to deploy and configure the equipment themselves, hence there are a lot of questions and advice being sought.
MT: Any new technology trends you are hearing from your community?
MM: There are a number of hot buzz words in the industry today including OpenFlow, SDN, BYOD, etc. One of the areas I’m working with in healthcare is access to clinical information. While some of that potentially involves BYOD there are also technologies available from Citrix and VMware that allow physicians access to traditionally fat applications from smartphones and tables. With more and more emphasis on ‘value engineering’ and change management I’m also looking at automation through scripting.
MT: Do you have a favorite SolarWinds product?
MM: I would have to say the Engineer's Toolset is definitely my personal favorite although there are so many very neat and helpful tools offered by Solarwinds . There are certainly other tools and solutions but Solarwinds offers a very clean GUI that can quickly get you the answers you need when troubleshooting a problem and/or issue.
MT: What is your day job and how do you balance that with your blog activities?
MM: I work in Information Technology as a technical consultant for a large healthcare company. My day job gets my full attention from 8 to 5 so all my blogging activities including research, testing and actually writing any articles has to be done afterhours or weekends. Based on the exposure from my blog, I occasionally receive consulting solicitations which places even great demands on my free time. I view blogging as a rewarding hobby which connects me with thousands of IT professionals around the world.
MT: You have any interesting hobbies you’d like to share?
MM: I enjoy playing ice hockey in the winter and watching the grass grow in the summer. I coach my twin girls' soccer team in the spring and fall seasons – a rewarding job watching all the girls as they have matured through the years in both in their skill and enjoyment of the game.
Other IT blogger profiles:
Ryan Adzima, The Techvangelist
Bill Brenner, Salted Hash
Tom Hollingsworth, The Networking Nerd
Scott Lowe, blog.scottlowe.org
Ivan Pepelnjak, ipSpace
Matt Simmons, Standalone SysAdmin
David Marshall VMBlog