After publishing my previous article, I realized my next blog post (this article) would be number 1,000, which is pretty insane! It has been an amazing 8 years of sharing and engaging with the VMware community and I just want to thank everyone that has supported me over the years.
Although I have a number of technical blog posts in the backlog, I thought I might do something fun and different for post #1,000. One question that I have gotten over the years, especially when talking to customers and partners in-person is, what is the story behind the name of my blog, virtuallyGhetto? I sometimes even get funny looks as customers are introducing me to their colleagues and management team when they mention the name of my blog 🙂
Prior to starting my blog in 2010, I had been working with my alma mater, University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) and specifically the Residential Networking Services (ResNet) where I used to work at. ResNet provides network connectivity and infrastructure to all University-owned housing which includes a number of on-site service centers for general IT support. Just like any IT organization at the time, it was common to see a single application run on a single server. One good example of this which I had learned about, was an application used to automate the sprinkler system, which would run maybe once or twice a day. This was the world before VMware and Virtualization!
During and even after my college tenure, I kept myself busy with a number of “random” personal IT projects (this should come as no surprise) and this was in partnership with my good friend and partner in crime, Tuan. We had just learned about VMware and started to explore Virtualization in our own spare time, we even had a server running in our apartment closet and I still remember the holes we needed to drill to get a large enough fan to cool the systems down. At the time, we knew there was something special about VMware and with this technology, we could significantly reduce the number of servers ResNet had to buy and manage.
It would take some time to introduce the concept and prove out the solution, but our goal was to get ResNet started on their Virtualization journey. At this point, I had already graduated and started my first job, which was also a result of early hands on experience with VMware. Tuan was working on his Masters degree in Mechanical Engineering (he loved tech, but was in a completely un-related field) and he continued to support ResNet. He had a number of Dev/Test VMs running and he was looking for a VM backup solution. Since Virtualization was still new concept to most folks, they were not ready to invest in a real backup solution, which at the time was using VMware Consolidated Backup (VCB).
He asked me if there were any workarounds that he could use even if it was just a “hack”. Having familiarity with how VCB worked, which under the hood was simply a VM snapshot and copying the read-only disks to your backup location. I put together a quick and dirty shell script which would SSH to an ESX host (yes, classic ESX which had a thing called the Service Console) and using vim-cmd to automate the backup of your running VMs. When asked how the solution worked, my colleague came to same conclusion that this was like VCB which I answered yes, but a “ghetto” version of it.
The name stuck and this was the very first VMware script that I had wrote and published to the VMware Community (https://communities.vmware.com/docs/DOC-8760) which was ~2008. Before migrating ghettoVCB over to the current Github repo (2011), the script has had over 1.6million+ views! I am still surprised today to hear that the script is still actively used by many customers and still works with the latest release of ESXi, especially knowing the original script started out supporting ESX and ESXi 3.5. Obviously, our technology has advanced quite a bit and there are definitely more efficient solutions out in the market but it just goes to show what a little bit of scripting and knowledge of the platform can get you.
When I eventually started my blog, I wanted to have a unique name and after writing so many “ghetto” scripts, virtuallyGhetto just felt right. Funny enough, Tuan did not actually agree with the original blog name but I decided to move forward any ways. I am glad I stuck with it along with this blogging thing, which I was not even sure would actually take off 🙂