Yesterday was an unusual day for me for a couple of reasons. The first was that I ended up driving about 400 miles during the day going to and from Austin (I’m not complaining, the drive was my choice). That much time on the road gave me cycles to ponder a lot of things including this blog article. Second, yesterday was my six year anniversary with Catapult. You might be thinking – “What’s unusual about six years at a company?” What about 5 or 10 ? Here’s why six years is relevant to me personally – by crossing to my six year anniversary I have now worked for Catapult longer than any other company in my 20+ year career in IT.

Looking back…

When I started at Catapult our Microsoft infrastructure team was really just getting started. This isn’t to say that we didn’t already have some solid infrastructure team members – quite to the contrary. When I started at Catapult there were some solid folks already blazing this trail way before I started. I owe a shout out to Don, Joe, Adam and others who were doing infrastructure work at Catapult before I even knew Catapult existed.

Additional shout outs are due to those folks who have joined Catapult’s infrastructure team but are no longer with us – where we are at today are a result of where we came from and your footsteps have left a trail showing where we came from. Some of those footsteps are deeper than others because those footsteps were made by people who carried a lot more of the burden than anyone else may realize (you know who you are, but I will specifically mention D, T and J).

Final shout outs are owed to those who are part of the team today and making our steps forward from here. This team is what it is because of who you are.

In the six years that I have been with Catapult, we have grown in infrastructure significantly both in headcount and in geographic locations where we have a local footprint in the United States. We have learned, we have adapted and we have given back to the technical community. Highlights on this path for our System Center team include SystemCenterUniverse 2012 and the current high point on the road would be Catapult’s recent achievement of System Center Partner of the year award.

Lessons Learned…

Bear with me and take these as you will but these are the most recent items that I feel have been really important lessons it took me this long to realize:

  • The delete key was created for a reason. Not every question must be answered, not every email must be replied to. Sometimes the best answer is not to answer.
  • There is no such thing as a perfect job. Every job has it’s good days and bad days. Every job has it’s good points and bad points. But the fact that I’m still with Catapult after six years says a lot. Work / life balance isn’t a given – it’s a daily struggle to prioritize what is important in life.
  • Be aware that when you release an idea to the wild that you may no longer own it. That is both liberating and horrifying at times (sometimes both at the same time).

Future predictions…

I won’t even attempt to predict six years into the future, I’ll cut it in half and make my guesses at three years out. We’ll start with the most solid predictions and move to my wild guesses. Please note that these are drawn from my years working in IT – no internal or NDA knowledge is being used as part of these predictions.

  • Cameron Fuller will not be co-authoring any more technical books after the System Center 2012 Operations Manager book releases. I do believe that this phase in life is over for me.
  • System Center 2012 R2 will be an evolution not a revolution. As we are seeing with new functionality being added into SP1 beta, the expectation is that the whole suite will see significant new functionality in an R2 release. Judging by previous release schedules, the R2 release will occur about 18 months after RTM for System Center 2012. Integration will continue to be a key concept.
  • Microsoft System Center technologies will gather around concepts. The tracks at MMS 2012 (Application Management, Client & Device Management, Fabric Infrastructure Management, Server & Virtualization Management, Server Delivery & Automation) give some potential insights into these core concepts. I would expect that these will focus into even more tight concepts such as: Monitoring, Managing, Automating.
  • With technologies like Lync, and a focus towards the cloud, “where” for a lot of things will continue to become less relevant in IT.
  • System Center vNext will be a revolution not an evolution and will probably release about 3 years after System Center 2012 was released. Those of us who do not evolve our skillsets will become the dinosaurs which will be only found in the bargain book bins and the bing / google search cache results.  In IT hold on loosely to what you know – change is the only constant in IT.