Well, I did say occasional…

Last I wrote, I was just about to start my first day at ProSites, my current employer. That was six months ago, and while I had every intention to do a post here and there to comment on my progress, it just hasn’t worked out that way. Instead, I’ll summarize events and provide a few thoughts.

Building a team

The team I head is small but mighty. Three of the guys are in the office with me filling the roles of desktop support, systems administration, and architecture. Our Vermont office, which is smaller, has a single contractor filling the role of desktop support. One of my tasks has been to find a permanent placement in Vermont, though that has proved challenging due to the smaller talent pool and the combination of skills needed. Efforts continue.

Together, we are able to cover all the bases, though I do hope I can make the case to add one or two more over the next year. I suppose it will depend on how this year’s big IT project goes.

To the cloud or bust

That’s more dramatic than it really is, but since the collective effort consumes a notable portion of our mental and physical bandwidth, it seems appropriate. The overall effort is to consolidate several physical data centers which we host our services into a consolidated virtual environment. One which will provide us better economies of scale and improved operational support. Much like when you physically move your home, it also provides the opportunity to evaluate everything we ‘own’ to see if it needs to be replaced or perhaps eliminated rather than carrying along legacy systems.

The effort pre-dates my start but was mostly put on hold for various reasons. I was tasked with getting it started again and to, in fact, complete it this year. It’s been no small effort already, but much of the real work still lies before us.

Getting things organized

A common problem in any IT team is the amount of institutional knowledge that exists within each member. The architect is the ‘old timer’ but has still only been part of the company for a mere fraction of time. Fortunately, he’s pretty organized (time permitting) and had captured (along with previous team members) a decent amount of procedures and reference material. Building on that provides opportunities for others on the team to learn and for all of us to stay both efficient and effective.

What’s next?

Really, just more of the same. In some respects, this is a ‘rebuilding year’ with how things have progressed. As much as anything else, we’re working to do more of what we do well and improve what we can do better. As we continue and ultimately complete our cloud migration and also once staffing is resolved, I’m excited about the improvements we’ll really be able to take on!

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