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Dell TechCenter Rockstar Spotlight: Michael E Davis on ‘Falling into IT’

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Dell TechCenter Rockstar Spotlight: Michael E Davis on ‘Falling into IT’

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When Peter offered me the opportunity to take the next Rockstar spotlight with Michael I jumped on it.  Through a couple of in person meetings and connections in social media I’ve had the opportunity to see what a diverse and talented professional Michael is.  Michael is always participating in IT related tweet chats and giving his honest opinion. His twitter feed is humorous, often helpful and gives a glimpse into some of his great photography.  Michael is also a Formula One fan and we had the opportunity to hang out at Austin’s debut F1 race last year.  

Without further ado, here’s the low-down on Michael Davis, a Dell TechCenter Rockstar now 2-years in a row!

Michael Davis 

Please tell us about yourself. What is your current role and where do you work?

I’m the Virtual Infrastructure Administrator for University IT Services at the University of Arkansas Fayetteville campus.  My main focus is on the server and desktop virtualization environments we provide to business units and colleges; but I also help out with managing our SAN, file servers and other systems as needed.

Outside of work I keep myself busy serving as the Education Chair on the Photographic Society of Northwest Arkansas’ board arranging classes that hopefully will appeal to the first time camera owner as well the seasoned pro.  During the fall I also run the video board (baby Jumbotron) for all Junior High, Junior Varsity and Varsity football games for the Fayetteville School District’s athletic department; as a sports fan I love being able to do this and watch kids progress over a 5 year span, and then get signed by major college programs.

What is your IT blog about, and how did you get started?

My blog really isn’t IT focused, it is mostly a place for me to share recipes I felt were worth sharing.  But that same sense of sharing knowledge is what has led to the handful of tech related posts I’ve made.  While the VMware world seems to be filled with numerous blogs documenting fixes for almost every issue I’ve ever ran into, the opposite has been my experience with Citrix products.  So when I’ve been able to find a repeatable solution to a problem in our environment I feel compelled to put it out there on the off chance someone else also runs into it.

How did you get involved in the IT industry?  Do you specialize in any particular IT technology?

I quite literally fell into it; one summer in junior high I was jumping over a flower bed and landed awkwardly leading to a leg brace for a couple months.  I’d already been using computers to do homework and play games but started digging into how to fix/build/upgrade them to pass the time.  This led to building and fixing computers for family friends and my parent’s coworkers for a few years.  Then during my senior year as the expense of college was rearing its ugly head I was offered a job fixing computers for the school district through their Youth Apprenticeship program.  14 years later here I am, still applying the same problem solving skills I honed early on just at a grander scale.

Overall I’m a generalist, but I do focus heavily on whatever aspect of technology interests me the most at a particular time.  I find staying more general helps to understand the big picture and see how your ‘cog’ fits into achieving the goal of the organization.  

What are the biggest IT challenges that you face?  

Hands down it has to be funding.  The majority of what I do is infrastructure related, and infrastructure isn’t *** so it is harder to get funded versus the latest flashy end user facing gadget. 

Do you find Dell TechCenter helpful in your role? 

Absolutely!  The product specific sites and blogs make for a quick stop to get up to speed on new or updated solutions.  I particularly enjoy the Tuesday chats with the engineers and managers of specific products; the ability to query those who know a product best and offer feedback is invaluable.

What would you like to see on Dell TechCenter in the future? 

More design docs / best practices guides on cross stack solutions.  Setting up an initial 500 seat View rollout with plans to scale to several thousand users, then go with X, Y & Z hardware type examples. 

You can find Michael E Davis online at:

http://www.davisphotoworks.com

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  • great interview, glad to get to know more about Michael!