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All Things VMware with Expert Andrew Hancock

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August and September have been big months for VMware—from VMworld last month to our new Course of the Month in VMware Professional - Data Center Virtualization. We reached out to Andrew Hancock, resident VMware vExpert, to have a more in-depth discussion about the growth of this field.

Members of our site who have ever explored the world of VMware and Virtualization know him well. Other members likely recognize him from his high participation levels (with 24 awards) as one of our leading experts in VMware. He's earned the Expert of the Year title for the past six years and has been an Experts Exchange community member for 14 years, though he's only been answering VMware and Virtualization questions since 2011. His answers and solutions are important to our community because he’s been around since (almost) the very beginning of the VMware craze.


It’s true. In 1996, Andrew Hancock (hanccocka) began repositioning Cyrus Computer Consultants Ltd. (of which he’s managing director and owner) in the business world. At the time, it was primarily an international server-based computing/Thin Client Consultancy. He knew change was going to occur in this industry and he didn’t want to be behind the curve. This led him to a partnership with a small startup called VMware in 1998, and he began cultivating Cyrus as the leading and sought-after VMware, Virtualization Cloud Consultancy it is today.


“We have now worked with VMware as partners for 18 years. We also work with other Virtualization vendors, e.g. Amazon AWS, Google, Microsoft, Citrix, NetApp, HPE, Dell, and IBM to provide ‘best of breed’ solutions to clients,” he said.


While his day-to-day work has shifted and evolved over these last 18 years, his passion for the industry hasn’t waned. In fact, when asked where his passion lies in this industry, he responded with, “All things VMware, cloud, Amazon, and Oracle Ravello.” Along with management responsibilities, he currently leads the team as head of virtual services, and looks forward to new changes in this technology.


“[Virtualization] has grown, and now peaked, and is starting to flatten off, as more and more services are deployed and implemented on cloud and virtual platforms. Management of such systems is becoming more important,” he said.


While VMware began as a small start up, it has since grown into a major corporation, purchased by EMC, and now owned by Dell. VMware has partnered with other large corporations, like IBM and Amazon AWS, to provide a stronger presence in the cloud space.


As time goes on and technology continues to change, Hancock predicts the emergence of more off-site, cloud-based resources as companies and individuals begin to better recognize the benefits and advantages of hosting in the cloud. He said his team encourages new companies to build new workloads in the cloud for more flexibility and reduced cost, for cloud hosting means they do not have to upgrade their on-premise hardware, and they’ll only pay for the resources they use.


How to Pursue this Industry


It’s no secret that most companies today search for IT and tech professionals with virtualization knowledge and experience. The ability to migrate information to the cloud, manage cloud applications and relations, and also secure these deployments is a huge part of the job these days. Applicants need to be well-versed both in options available and processes for making these connections work.


For individuals looking to explore the world of virtualization, Hancock recommends looking into Amazon, Microsoft, VMware, EMC, NetApp, and Cisco Certifications for tools and training.


“[They all] have very good education programs,” he said.


He expressed that VMware applications are important for up-and-coming professionals to master because VMware is the “single leader in the cloud space.” VMware vSphere, he said, remains the leading virtualization technology in today’s business world and is used at most Fortune 500 companies, such as AT&T and Walmart. This provides a very easy way for these companies to transition from on-premise hosting to an off-premise cloud host.  


Importance of Community for Virtualization Professionals


In 2013, when we featured Hancock as an expert using our new Article platform, he told us he enjoyed answering questions on site because he could interact with—and learn from—different Experts Exchange members with varying degrees of knowledge in VMware and Virtualization. At that time, he’d even created a VMware Series to fill the gap that existed for those wanting to take VMware courses, but unable to pay the hefty price tag found elsewhere. His goal then and now? “I hope to inspire other [Experts Exhange] Experts to become tomorrow's VMware vExperts!”


He remains actively engaged within the community, contributing articles and content, answering questions, and interacting with other members on tech topics of the day.


“Experts Exchange keeps my brain active when traveling—and focused, as I eat and sleep VMware. (Cut me in half, and it reads VMware!) [This community] lets us understand where the training issues lie in VMware, e.g. P2V, snapshots, networking, and other hot topics, which allow us to deliver better training to clients,” he said.


For those working in specific tech fields, Hancock said that Experts Exchange holds a different kind of sway. VMware has, over the years, put a lot of trust and respect in the opinions of VMware vExperts and actively listens to social channels for feedback on what’s working, what’s not, and how to move the company (and the technology) forward.


“It was to this effect that the VMware vSphere Web Client performance has been improved, and flash technology removed in favor of HTML5,” Hancock said.


For more information on Andrew Hancock, check out his community spotlight article. To sign up for this month’s Course of the Month featuring VMware topics, visit our Course page.

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