Suzan Pickett is the Director of Converged Infrastructure of U.S. Bank.
What is your life like outside of VMUG?
When not working, I spend as much time with my husband and our two Labradors as possible. We enjoy hiking, walking muddy trails, and more recently driving muddy trails. The Pacific Northwest is the perfect region to explore and get outdoors. I have also recently taken up baking and experimenting with pie recipes, and am now working on improving my cooking skills – and like technology, some creations are better than others. I’ve always been passionate about technology, so I do spend time reading and understanding trends and potential improvements to implement.
Tell us a little about your background with VMware.
A long time ago, in a galaxy far away, I started as an engineer using VMware products for test and dev. It really started with a major project, moving a data center with a zero downtime requirement for our customers. At the time, my team was tasked with moving all of our production systems to a new data center 1,000 miles away, and it just made sense to leverage virtualization and the capabilities inherent with VMware solutions. It was a massive project, at a time when most companies were only doing test, and we implemented failover run books to successfully perform a one-way migration to the new location. That was the first big win! Since then, we’ve also had some very early wins with automation methodologies leveraging VMware solutions, reducing time to move from dev to production to days and weeks instead of months: It’s a good day at the office when you can make your developers and business lines happy. Today, I am excited to continue our software defined data center strategy with the vRealize Suite, NSX, and VMware Integrated Container solutions.
How did you get involved in VMUG?
I was asked to be a keynote at a VMUG meeting several years ago, to discuss the data center migration use case for Site Recovery Manager, and that got me engaged with the local group and the great things they are doing. Over the years I have attended many events and support what VMUG has set out to do, enabling the user community.
Why is VMUG Important?
VMUG keeps us relevant. It gives us a forum to network with our peers and other industries and just get engaged. Most of us try and reinvent the wheel, but trust me, someone out there has already done it. There is no greater value than to hear how someone else is working through a challenge or being creative with technology. VMUG membership is free, it’s easy, and it provides value in the many ways to connect, leverage information, and learn.
And this is a great time to be part of the VMUG Board: The team is dynamic, diverse, and extremely focused on delivering the best experience for members. As the Board represent different industries, as well as different countries and cultures, we all come to the table with a perspective that will enable a greater and more relevant community for everyone.
What advice would you give to VMUG members?
One of the most common questions I am asked is, “How do you get the developers/business on board with…” This could be virtualization, containers, automation, software defined networking, but it doesn’t matter. My advice to you is to be passionate and confident about what you do – that will compel people in a way nothing else will. Leverage your business partners, and find the one team you can work with to get that first big win. Once you have that, all you have to do is tell the story. There is always a story win or fail, and you’ve learned something.