I’ve been quiet on here for a while, and I wanted to give you an explaination. It’s not because I’ve got nothing going on or to talk about. It’s quite the opposite.

First I want to say thanks to Ariel, Carl, and the rest of the PGH Little Hack crew for being so welcoming and helpful. They’ve helped me take my Pittsburgh and Central PA VMUG attendances to the next level by pushing me to collaborate and contribute with the vCommunity. They’ve helped me so much, in fact, I was accepted into the vExpert program on my first attempt. I have no doubt I wouldn’t have gotten in without their support and guidance. I can’t wait to see the shenanigans awesome projects we get into this year.

Speaking of support, my wife is the best in the business. Taking my career up a notch by joining two VMUG chapters, attending PGH Little Hacks, hosting BC Little Hacks, and blogging (all outside of my normal 8-5 day job) means I’m away from home more than I’d like to be. She never complains about having to take care of the house and our two young kids while I’m gone, and that really puts my mind at ease while I’m away. Her positive attitude lets me make the most of my time, and none of this works without her being awesome. Thanks love!

Now for the techie stuff.

Brett and I have been working a lot on a new server build process at Sheetz…and we haven’t made it easy on ourselves. We’ve said from day one that this new way forward will conform to all current (and some new) Sheetz standards, will cut no corners, and make no sacrifices. The task is to take a completely manual, 10+ step process that took weeks to construct a server and overhaul it to rival what AWS and Azure are doing. We will have a user friendly portal that will allow our developers to spin up any supported OS, in any of our datacenters, in any environment from one dynamic form or API call. Once we hit that mark, we will take a process that involved a dozen individuals and weeks of time down to zero human involvement building any number of servers in minutes.

Some of the items, like simply building a unique hostname that matches our current scheme, have been harder than expected. I can’t wait to share what we’ve done and hope it might be of some use to someone out there at some point. Keep your eye out, there should be some cool stuff coming.

-Willie