Coming Up for Air

By on 05/27/2015.

Out with the old, in with the new, as they say.

Last week, on May 19th, 2015, I was laid off from NetApp.  Completely blindsided, gutted, and heartbroken were the immediate sentiments. What happened after word got out was one of the most humbling and thankful experiences I’ve ever been through.  To witness the show of support from everyone in the community was truly inspiring. The sheer magnitude of the outreach that you all showed me made me absolutely melt, and I’ll forever be grateful.

While some would view it as a ridiculously troubling experience, and it was initially as I wrapped my head around this new reality, the outcome here is very bright indeed; for me,, and future efforts.

Let’s talk about each of those …

NetApp Communities Podcast

Unfortunately, due to some internal circumstances I’m not free to discuss openly, I was unable to get the show moved to its own site, even though there was immense effort since last fall to do so.  Therefore, as part of my separation from NetApp from a legal perspective, the show had to come down off of my site.  This meant killing the feed, and canceling hosting services. What Glenn, Pete, and the rest of NetApp have in store for the show is completely up to them.

New beginnings are afoot, one could say.  Before I started NCP, I had wanted to do a podcast here under the DatacenterDude brand … actually, a complete network of shows covering all facets of Enterprise IT and Community.  As Glenn is now notorious for saying …. “Watch that space.”  More soon.

The proverbial leash is now officially off.  You’re going to now see more content than ever, from all facets of the industry. I’ve spoken with most of the authors we’ve recently added, and they’re all still on-board to continue delivering choice content here on the site.  Make no mistake, we’re not going anywhere. Minor bump in the road while the dust settles.  In that vein, I welcome one and all, NetApp friendly or not, to come and be a contributor here on the site.  If you’re interested in authoring content without the management overhead of publishing and maintaining your own website, you’re exactly the kind of author we’re looking for.  My charter here is to provide a pulpit for people with something to say to stand upon it and preach.

I will of course continue to write myself, but during this time of transition am being mildly reserved, and I hope you all understand why.  But understand that there is some serious gear-grinding and backchanneling happening as I write this to make this site one of the hubs of knowledge in Enterprise IT.

If you’re interested in becoming a contributing author, you can reach me at nickhowell2 at gmail dot com.

If you’re interested in supporting our efforts by becoming a sponsor of, like our good friends at VMTurbo, Parallels, and Unitrends, there are multiple options and slots available.  Turn off the adblockers and give them some clicks. It shows them some love, as well as the site, and helps us keep the lights on around here.

There is a site overhaul in the works that may take several months to complete, but doing so will continue to highlight the great content that our authors are creating as well as those that support us.

What’s Next for Nick?

There are some irons in the fire, sure, and part of that immense outreach I spoke of earlier were some very interested parties in bringing me aboard, and I’m being very welcoming and open to all of them.  We’ll see what shakes out of the tree. For now, I’m enjoying some unexpected time off, and I imagine by the time I see you all at VMworld this fall, we’ll have many tales to tell over beers at The Chieftain.

NetApp has a very tough road ahead of them, but I have all the confidence in the world they will pull out of this rut. History shows us they’ve done it time and time again, and with what I know is on the truck and forthcoming, do not be shortsighted enough to dismiss them over some marketing/messaging fumbles, or whatever reorgs they’ve had to go through the last couple of years, including this recent one that affected me.

To all of my colleagues I had the pleasure and honor of working with these last five years, and especially to those that reached out this past week, I’ve truly enjoyed our time together and I look forward to any opportunities we may have to work together again in the future.  Many of you have very special places in my heart, and I truly wish you all the best.

Catch you guys on the flip side!


Nick Howell
Tech Evangelist at DatacenterDude, LLC
One of the top technology evangelists in the IT Industry, Nick Howell has spent 15 years driving multi-million dollar solutions across multiple Fortune 500 companies and implementing new systems from an engineering, architectural, and consultant capacity across many industry verticals including finance, defense, retail & more.