Feeds

Why you need a home lab to keep your job

Your boss won't pay for training, so your partner has to put up with servers at home

Boost IT visibility and business value

IT professionals can't assume their employers want, or can afford to, train them in the latest technologies and should hone and acquire new skills at home in a self-built test lab.

That's the opinion of Mike Laverick, VMware's senior cloud infrastructure evangelist.

Laverick has operated a lab for over a decade, starting with a single PC and scaling to a 42U rig that lives in a co-location facility and includes kit donated by vendors. Over the lab's life he has also paid for storage arrays, gigabit switches, servers galore and inadvertently found they provide interesting ways to heat his home.

Laverick's presentation about the lab, which The Reg witnessed at VMware user groups in Sydney and Melbourne, also measures the “Girlfriend impact” of the lab. That metric waxed as it grew, waned a little once it was sent to the colo, then waxed again once the colo bills hit £350 a month. Today, the lab costs £870 a month thanks to the presence of a pair of Dell EqualLogic arrays.

Laverick's vocation for much of the time he built the lab was freelance technology training and writing, so that monthly bill was a necessary expense. He joined VMware in late 2012 but still feels IT pros need to consider their own rigs for reasons of “career preservation”.

“The days of being sent on training courses is gone,” he told the user groups. “The burden is now on you to get the skills and knowledge you need. It is assumed you will learn as you go.”

“I drove my career development by not waiting for my employer to say this is an interesting technology. I told my employer I have used this in my home lab and this is what it can do.”

That attitude, Laverick said, is important given skills operating major enterprise IT products have become commonplace. As certain skills become readily available, Laverick believes IT pros should “make sure your skills don't get depreciated.”

Intriguingly, Laverick's call for a show of hands to discern if any attendees operate home labs saw several arms thrust skyward.

David Brooks, information programs coordinator in the information and communications technology group at Melbourne's Box Hill Institute, hasn't yet built a lab on that scale, relying on a single Core i7 computer with 16 gigabytes of RAM and a sprinkling of solid state disks to get it to a point at which it can run a decent slab of the VMware stack. Brooks uses his lab for the sake of convenience: the Institute operates VMware kit at scale to help students learning about those technologies. But accessing that infrastructure from home is not easy.

Like Laverick, Brooks is an educator. His lab is therefore not a career-saver, but a nice-to-have tool that means he can always access the tools of his trade. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
Symantec security chap signs for CSIRO's ICT In Schools
Vulture South is closing in on our goal of 20 new recruits to help teachers and kids
A-level results: Before you smile at that jump-for-joy snap...
Uni-ditching teens are COMING FOR YOUR JOBS
How to promote CSIRO's ICT in Schools in your community
Vulture South is closing in on its target to find volunteers to help teach tech in schools
Everyone's an IoT expert but now there's a certificate to prove it
Cisco creates Certification of Things for industrial sensor-footlers
Facebook wants Linux networking as good as FreeBSD
Help The Social NetworkTM make the kernel better
LinkedIn settles missed overtime pay case: Will pay $6m to staffers
US Dept of Labor: It violated Fair Labor Standards Act
NICTA man explains why he volunteers for CSIRO's ICT in Schools
'I feel fantastic after the sessions - It's the best part of my job' says volunteer
The Register is HIRING technology hacks for the WORLD
Live on Earth? Want to be a Vulture? Enquire within
Pleased to meet you. I'm Joe Bloggs, MVP, vExpert, Cisco Champ
What a mouthful. Do customers care? Six title-holders quizzed
prev story

Whitepapers

Best practices for enterprise data
Discussing how technology providers have innovated in order to solve new challenges, creating a new framework for enterprise data.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?