Do you know the way to San Jose? Ease on down the road…

tl;dr: In just over 3 weeks I’ll be leaving Disney Interactive, joining Cisco Systems as a Consulting Systems Engineer in Connected Architectures.


Time for some time travel?



Fifteen years ago I was working for Nortel Networks in their Ethernet Products Division (formerly the Rapid City Communications acquisition by Bay Networks). I was The Sysadmin for about 180 people at the peak, big data wasn’t even on the horizon yet, and if you’d asked me if I’d ever work with Cisco gear, I would have said “no” without hesitation. I wasn’t planning to become a network guy, and I cut my networking teeth on the Accelar line (now known as Avaya’s ERS 8600 etc) so I leaned that way for many years.

2011-12-22 cisco ucs c210

Fast forward to 2 1/2 years ago, when my boss at Disney asked “do you want to come to the datacenter and see some new servers?” I said yes, as I’ve been a hardware guy my entire career. I arrived at the datacenter to a pile of Cisco UCS C210 servers and the next 2 1/2 years would be spent wrangling C-Series servers into an environment for big data among other things, learning the quirks and questions of integrating with UCSM and communicating the platform out to my internal coworkers.

2014-05-19 rob-smh-clus

Just under a year ago, I got a message from Rachel Bakker of Cisco’s social media marketing team asking if I’d like to get involved with a new social media outreach program they were starting. My first thought was “do you know who I am?” And it wasn’t in the “I’m way too famous for this” sense, it’s the “do you have the wrong number?” sense. But I guess they knew who I was and wanted me to become one of the first 8 Cisco Champion program members. In the past 10 months, I’ve grown within the Cisco ecosystem and made great connections inside and outside Cisco through both the Cisco Champion program and my interactions with Cisco big data and UCS experts.


In the past week, I got invited to be in a a different track of Cisco Champions. This invitation capped off a long week of Cisco Live in San Francisco, followed by a long weekend moving across town to a bigger home. It’s overwhelming, but exciting. And a little bit scary.

In just under a month, I will be joining Cisco Systems as a Consulting Systems Engineer (CSE) in the Connected Architectures Engineering department. My job will be to work with independent software vendors (ISVs) and channel partners as well as internal Cisco teams to integrate Cisco solutions in Big Data environments.

So where do we go from here?

My three years at Disney Interactive have been productive and inspiring, but I find my future lies along the Tasman Drive road. What a long, strange trip it’s been.

This will be the first time in my professional career that I haven’t been a system administrator of some flavor, but I’ll still be pulling in my systems, infrastructure, architecture, and big picture skills for the adventure. And while I’ll be in the sales division, I won’t be at your door trying to sell you hardware and SmartNet contracts (unless I lose a bet or something).


I’ll also, unfortunately, be off the roster of prospective Tech Field Day delegates, although Stephen Foskett has told me that I’m always welcome at the parties. If invited to participate in roundtables, I’d be happy to join. And if Tech Field Day ever does a Big Data Field Day, I might end up on the other side of the table.


And I plan to keep blogging, experimenting with POHO in all its flavors, and maybe eventually getting my own Cisco UCS gear at home (or more properly, in the garage, for domestic tranquility reasons). So keep following me here, on Twitter as @gallifreyan, and anywhere else you find me. I won’t be alone, dancing, you know it baby….


3 thoughts on “Do you know the way to San Jose? Ease on down the road…

  1. Pingback: The Awesome Power of a Fully Operational Decision-Making Mongoose; or, RASCI as a transitional responsibility model #rsts11 | rsts11 – Robert Novak on system administration

  2. Pingback: Resource sharing, time sharing, six years on | rsts11 – Robert Novak on system administration

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