Coming Up for Air

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!



  1. chadsakac

    Nick, you rock. Keep the faith – and this has happened to me a couple times :-)

    It’s interesting to see how everything has an opportunity in it.

  2. wdclen


    I heard this the day after. I was shocked. In my opinion, you were one of the best parts of NetApp. I don’t think it bodes well for them as a company to not see this. I wish you the best of luck and can’t wait to see what you’ll be up to in the future.

    BTW, I vote that you become a member of In Tech We Trust. :-) It would make a great podcast ever better.

    1. that1guynick

      I would love that. The ITWT folks need only extend an invitation. :)

  3. Dana Masuda

    Classy Nick. Good luck in your new adventure.

    1. that1guynick

      Thank you very much, Dana!

  4. Madhu Vinod Diwakar

    Hope many other doors open for you soon. .:)

    1. that1guynick

      Thank you Madhu! The hardest part is going to be choosing which door to walk through.

      1. Madhu Vinod Diwakar

        Haha..that’s true..good luck with that..:D

  5. Toby Creek

    It was a pleasure working with you on a variety of projects and I’ll miss that. I have a tremendous amount of respect for the way you are taking this bump in your road.

    Having been “separated” from organizations before (actually, both in the process of a total company shutdown), I ended up in a better spot afterwards. Great things await you.

    1. that1guynick

      Mad respect for you and the org you’ve build, Toby! Best of luck in the future endeavors of LOD!

  6. Bino Thomas

    All the work you have done has been really awesome and effort put into this on a regular basis has been incredible. Feel gutted for you but am sure something even brighter waits around the corner

    All the best !

    1. that1guynick

      Thanks Bino! It was certainly rough at first, but we’re a couple of weeks post-mortem, the butthurt is over, and I’m moving on. Great things are coming. :)

  7. Sean Dunne

    Just read this, gutted to hear as the communities podcast was my favourite IT podcast. Good luck in your next adventure, I’ve yet to meet someone with good IT skills who didn’t end up in a better position after a redundancy. Look forward to hearing your next podcast, Sean.

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