About

Greetings!  And thanks for visiting!

About

THE EARLY YEARS

My career in technology goes back to the humble beginnings of a young kid playing Atari and Nintendo in the 80s. My love of gadgets and video games, as well as a penchant for taking things apart, led me to learning how to build my own gaming PCs in the late 90s.

One of my earliest jobs was stocking and selling parts for heavy equipment in South Carolina. The catalog system they used was a giant stack of CDs with all of the exploded views and catalogs of part numbers. Every machine had its own disc, and looking them up required swapping disc after disc. Since I was familiar with Windows networking and ethernet, I figured out a way to set up a central computer, a shared folder, and copy all of the discs’ contents onto the hard drive, making it accessible via UNC path to all computers in the branch.

This led to me to traveling to all 12 branches and repeating the same process, eventually landing at the HQ in Charlotte to centralize the distribution of all data to all branches. I also converted their NT4 domain to Windows 2000, implemented Active Directory, and migrated Exchange 5.5 -> Exchange 2000. It would be an understatement to say that I made every mistake possible, but in my eyes, that’s exactly how you learn. After some intense studying and testing, I received my MCSE 2000 and CCNA certifications.

The rest, as they say, is history.

From there, I relied heavily on my Mechanical Engineering education and got into the business of cabling and wiring datacenters for proper power distribution, rack/cage design, and power/cooling layouts. This time period involved contract work not only in the private sector, but within some of the largest financial and government institutions as well.

After that, around 2005, there was this new thing called “VMware” that was beginning to get the attention of us all. In 2006, I joined a large healthcare company in Los Angeles that desperately needed an overhaul to their Active Directory strategy and branch locations management. Over the course of the next 4 years, we went about virtualizing everything (including Oracle/Exchange/MSSQL), consolidating onto centralized shared storage, and implementing 10GbE networking. This process revolutionized the company’s IT offerings and enabled us to downsize overall IT spend for years to come.

Around this same time, social media and blogging were taking off, and I began sharing some of the work we were doing, as well as writing HOWTO’s for certain issues we faced and how to fix them.  In 2010, I was invited to speak at Oracle OpenWorld on behalf of VMware on virtualizing Oracle, how it is possible, and how approaching it differently could save you millions.  This was a huge hit with the community, and got the attention of many vendors that were interested in bringing me on-board.

NETAPP

In 2011, I joined NetApp, and have chronicled that ride extensively.  Some of the highlights include authoring documentation used by 10s of 1000s of users to setup best practices in their environment, presenting new technologies to customers, affecting real change to new and old products while working with product managers, and of course, meeting all of the wonderful folks traveling to the many different trade shows, meetups, and user groups. I cannot put into words how rewarding it is to help someone solve a problem they face. Whether its the biggest scale solution, or simply flipping a switch to increase performance, there is no greater high than seeing the smile when you’re able to pass on great knowledge that solves a customer’s problem!

After NetApp, I joined a hot new startup for a year. While my heart was already pulling me in the direction of breaking out to be independent, I felt I could still greatly contribute to a new company struggling to be heard and taken seriously, and feel I was successful in doing so. They’re doing great, and I’m happy for them!

TODAY & BEYOND

While this website started as a personal and professional blog, and played host to the popular NetApp Communities Podcast in the past, we’re re-launching it with a new focus on content creation on YouTube and Twitch!  I will continue to blog here sporadically, and look for a new tech show/podcast coming soon!

Thanks for visiting!

Regards,

Nick Howell
@datacenterdude

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Mike Laverick
Mike Laverick
10/27/2011 21:50

Hey Nick. I want to know – that1guynick – was that inspired the SNL “Nick Burns” character? ;-)

http://www.hulu.com/watch/19050/saturday-night-live-nick-burns

Greg W. Stuart
Greg W. Stuart
05/23/2012 17:23

Hey Nick,
Nice blog, really love the layout.  Keep up the good work, see you at VMworld 2012 in SF! 

-Greg
vDestination.com

Nick Howell
05/24/2012 16:57
Reply to  Greg W. Stuart

Thanks Greg!  Looking forward to seeing everyone again!  I didn’t get a lot of time to “network” last year, and hoping to change that this year!

Ryan.Covietz
Ryan.Covietz
04/30/2013 15:02

Hi Nick just wondering if you could bring back podcast #15 on Data Ontap 8.2?

https://www.datacenterdude.com/netapp-podcast/15-data-ontap-82/

Nathaly
Nathaly
09/18/2013 14:29

Good afternoon Nick, i read your blog post about your Facebook account getting disabled due to you being underage. I am currently going thorough the same situation and nobody at facebook seems to be able to respond to my e-mails. I send a color copy of my DL at least 4 times, wrote to the appeals e-mail and still nothing. Anything else I can do? Any and all help would be highly appreciated. I am mostly bummed out about my Eurotrip pictures!2:26 PMThank you

Victor
Victor
02/20/2014 05:37

Hi Nick,

Is there any place where you post next podcast topics before you record? I would like to send questions and comments; unfortunately I’m not on same timezone than you.

Regards, Victor

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