Welcome to the Cloud Ninjas Team

I've been assigned to a team here at Microsoft for a few weeks now, and I have to say, I really dig the term "cloud ninja". Ok, so even if our actual team's name is the Private Cloud Center of Expertise, the least we can do is create our own "Cloud Ninjas" email alias. Here I am, nearly three months into my job as a consultant and it feels like college is starting up again -- and no, I'm not talking about the parties. I'm referring to the endless amounts of information I have to somehow know.

Things have quickly begun to ramp up as I've been knee deep in everything "cloud". With my machine filling up with e-books, virtual machines, and other training materials, it feels like I have a complete copy of TechNet with me all the time. Regardless, I'm still quite excited to be here and share my experiences.

2012-09-12T16-24-13_0_edit2.jpgSource: Andrew Weiss

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to meet the rest of my team in person. Our group is tasked with being the go-to individuals for customer cloud deployments using the latest products. Centers of Expertise, or COEs, within Microsoft are typically formed when new technology is at the cusp of mass adoption such as the concepts of cloud computing and big data. These teams are made up of senior architects and consultants that have a deep understanding of the software and deploying it at an enterprise level.

You might be thinking, "Well how does a new consultant work on such a team?" This was the first thing that came to my mind as well when I received my assignment. After getting together with the COE, I learned that one of their goals is to bring new consultants on to projects as soon as possible. This often involves shadowing on select engagements. In fact, I have the opportunity to do just that next week. We also get to work with other new consultants to become product gurus and stay up to speed on current projects that the rest of the team is working on.

As I wait to shadow my first engagement, I've been tasked with developing a knowledge base in private clouds -- from architecture to deployment. Using a wealth of IP, or intellectual property, along with my own findings, I've been working to grasp the fundamentals of an enterprise customer cloud. Microsoft has an internal system called the KM Concierge that allows me to ask others where I can find something if I'm having trouble doing so.

From a technical standpoint, I've started to work a lot with Server 2012 and System Center 2012. Since my start at the company has been timed with these releases, these products will be my primary focus from this point forward. In fact, one of my goals with this blog is to include problem-solving and troubleshooting scenarios based on actual deployment experiences that I come across.

I've found throughout my training that it's more important to learn when things don't work than when they do. For every failed cluster, misconfiguration, and improper installation, there's one less mistake we as IT pros have to worry about in the future. When it took me 20 snapshots and a few VMs later to get System Center to work the way it was supposed to, that was certainly a learning process.

As such, learning doesn't end the day you graduate from school. Even more so, at Microsoft, learning is taken to an entirely new level. The wealth of information the company has developed is quite vast and just finding what you need sometimes can be difficult. The other day I spent 20 minutes looking for a new Hyper-V architecture diagram only to realize I was looking in the wrong place the whole time.

That's the best part of this job, though. Just when you think you know everything there is to know on something, there's always more you can learn.

Read more of Andrew Weiss's "Launched!" blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Follow Andrew on Twitter at @Andrew_Weiss. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.

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