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IT Blogger Spotlight: Michael Stump of #eager0

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Michael Stump of #eager0 was recently one of the distinguished Tech Field Day Extra at VMworld delegates we had the pleasure of presenting to. Following the event, I got to thinking we should get to know him a little bit better. And what better way to do that than through our IT Blogger Spotlight series.

SW: What got you started in the blogosphere?

MS: I started my blog in January 2013 because I had some downtime between projects, and I wanted to share some things with the Internet. I’d had the name of the blog in my mind for a few months, so one day I just registered the name and ran with it. I wish it was a more exciting story, but it isn't.

SW: Speaking of the name…

MS: So, the virt and storage geeks will recognize the name as a reference to thick provisioning strategies within vSphere. But it’s also a nod to my storied career as an ambitious underachiever.

SW: Oh, come on! From what I've seen, you’re anything but an “ambitious underachiever.” Tell us more about the blog.

MS: Well, as for what I enjoy writing about: anything. I've learned that I’m much more interested in writing than in writing about any particular topic. I initially tagged my blog as “Data Center Virtualization with VMware.” But that was back when I was hell-bent on breaking into the VMware community online. Over time, I realized that I had inadvertently limited the types of posts I could write. So, I dropped the tagline. That’s why you’ll see me post all kinds of stuff now: vSphere vSS options, Volvo s40 repair, various Minecraft-related posts and yes, technology in general.

Far and away, my most popular post is a summary of a VMware event in DC last year. Scott Lowe was talking about NSX. But I really think that a web crawler just gamed the page views on that post. Second on the list is a how-to I wrote last year about installing VMTools on a Fedora 17 VM (not as easy as it sounds!). And third is a post I wrote about moving Exchange 2010 transaction logs, but please don’t tell anyone I’m an Exchange engineer; I’d like to never deal with that application again. Ever.

SW: Got it! From now on, in my book you shall be known as Michael Stump: the anti-Exchange engineer. So, that’s #eager0 in a nutshell. Where else can people follow your musings?

MS: I’m a regular on Thwack, where you can find me as Michael Stump. I’m also on Twitter as @_stump.

SW: Are there any other blogs you follow?

MS: Like most virt people, I read Duncan Epping’s blog and Frank Denneman’s blog frequently. Not just because they’re well respected, but because the writing and overall presentation of information is so clean. Chris Wahl’s blog is great, too, because he’s got a style that is immediately identifiable. I’m a fan of good writing, and of bloggers who convey technical information in a concise, original manner. Finally, my good friend Oliver Gray’s blog has nothing to do with technology, but it’s so satisfying to read, and the photography is so good, that it’s worth the mental break. He’s another writer whose style I admire as much as his content.

SW: What keeps you busy during the work week?

I own an IT consulting business, and I’m currently working at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland.

SW: OK. So, how’d you get your start in IT?

MS: Same old story: I had a Radio Shack Tandy as a kid, then an Apple Performa 6300 and then connected to the Internet to join The Well with the rest of the dorks in the early 1990s. I don’t want to know what kind of phone bill my high school had to pay as the result of me spending my lunch breaks on the modem in their library! But professionally, I got my first job in IT when I was a technical writer for a software company in Falls Church, Virginia. The network admin quit to spend more time surfing. So, I moved into his office, called myself the network admin and no one ever kicked me out. Fourteen years later, here I am.

SW: After 14 years in IT, what tools can’t you live without?

MS: I can’t function without Nmap. And give me an Ubuntu VM so I can use grep and vi and I can do pretty much anything. Admittedly, I've been a fan and user of SolarWinds tools my entire career, but it seems a bit silly to gush about that here. Suffice to say that I've left many SolarWinds deployments in the places I've worked. I might even get the chance to build another one at my current site. Stay tuned.

SW: Very nice! And what are the most significant trends you’re seeing in the IT industry?

MS: Hyper-convergence has been simmering for years, and VMware’s EVO:Rail announcement at VMworld this year validated what companies like Nutanix and SimpliVity have been doing for a while now: collapsing technology silos for the purposes of simplifying and improving IT. I even wrote a post for thwack earlier this year about the rise of the hybrid engineer, which complements this shift in infrastructure from discreet resources to hyper-converged systems.

SW: Interesting. So, last question for you: What do you do when you’re not working or blogging?

Lots of video games with my kids, lots of bad piano and guitar playing and lots of Netflix with my wife. Oh, and I often wander around the yard taking photos of bugs: Yeah, I’m that guy.

SW: Awesome! Well, thanks for taking the time to answer our questions. It’s been fun.