Hyper-converged infrastructure options, vendors and installation tips
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As converged and hyper-converged infrastructure gain traction, IT administrators with the skills to manage those stacks are in demand.
When it comes to getting a job at a company where you'll manage converged or hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI), rule No. 1 is to be flexible. Some organizations hire staff to oversee converged infrastructure (CI) or HCI in their own data centers, but many other jobs require travel. You may have to service an entire region, or work for a vendor or consulting firm that deploys CI or HCI hardware in their customers' data centers.
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Another key to getting a job working with CI and HCI is to find ways to differentiate yourself from the competition. For example, people tasked with performing converged and hyper-converged infrastructure deployments commonly work as liaisons between the IT department and various business units. Such positions typically involve working with the business stakeholders to assess their needs, and then overseeing the hardware deployment process from start to finish.
In such an environment, technical skills are a must; it's safe to assume that everyone applying for the position has the required technical skills. As such, you may be able to improve your odds of landing the position by showing that you have experience with project management. For instance, you might acquire a Project Management Professional Certification.
People responsible for deploying converged and hyper-converged infrastructure often work directly with customers, so your interviewer must feel comfortable with your ability to interact with their customers. Vendors and consultancies alike place a high value on ensuring that customers are well cared for. As an interviewee, it is your job to make the interviewer see you as someone who can be trusted to service the organization's most valued customers.
Own the interview
There is no magical formula for winning over the interviewer. Each person is different, so you may have to feel out the interviewer and adapt your interviewing style on the fly. As you do, there are a few things to remember.
The interviewer probably isn't interested in your ability to recite figures, statistics and IT trivia (at least, not at the first interview). What he or she is probably looking for is your ability to convey difficult technical information to nontechnical people. Your explanations will need to be articulate, easy to understand and, most importantly, noncondescending. Ideally, you should present yourself as professional, but friendly.
Remember that transitioning to converged and hyper-converged infrastructure involves a large capital expenditure. Most organizations probably won't spend all of that money just to get new hardware. Adopting CI or HCI is a stepping stone on the way to a larger goal. For many, that goal is implementing a hybrid cloud. It is, therefore, in your best interest to demonstrate skills and knowledge that will be relevant to hybrid cloud environments.
Having a solid working knowledge of public cloud platforms such as Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services is a good start. It may also be helpful to have experience with cloud automation tools, such as Chef and Puppet. You will also need architectural knowledge of infrastructure, platform and software-as-a-service models.
Another thing that may help you to get the job is knowledge of compliance standards. The organization has no doubt put forth great effort to comply with applicable regulations. Transitioning to a private or hybrid cloud environment requires an organization to continuously evaluate how any proposed configuration and architectural changes might affect its state of compliance.
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