Scott Drummonds on Virtualization

From West to East


I have received several gentle nudges about the lack of content on Pivot Point of late. And a few of you have asked me what is going on with my professional life. For a while I hoped to quietly drift across continents and through companies. But I now feel an explanation is due. This description is mostly professional, somewhat personal, and a touch philosophical. But if you are interested in what moves me and what will come next for vPivot, please read on.

When vSphere 4 was launched in May of 2009 I felt incredible pride over the accomplishment of VMware’s engineering team and performance engineering, in particular. The quality and dedication of those performance engineers amazed me every day I went to work. It was because of their impecable research, their boundless patience with my limitless questions, and their constant corrections that I was able to appear much smarter than I am. And when they completed work on the product that became vSphere 4, I knew that the worst was behind VMware in the performance world.

It was around that time–or perhaps six months later when VMworld 2009 was behind me–that I started asking myself “What next?” The release of vSphere showed customers that they need no longer ask themselves, “Can VMware handle my application?” We knew that vSphere supported every workload with minimal overhead. The question shifted to the practical matter of application deployment and best practices, not hypervisor qualification.

You have to remember, vSphere was a major shift in the minds of everyone, including those of us in VMware that worked on tier-1 applications. There were times before it was released that we literally did not know if ESX could be placed under some applications without unacceptably slowing performance. I carried a bit of fear into every customer engagement as I did not know if I could disengage after having met their expectations. But that was VI3, when I was afraid. The fear was gone with vSphere.

From a strictly personal nature, I prefer to go to work in the morning a little scared. I need to have a little doubt about my success. I want a touch of concern that I may fail spectacularly. Frankly, VI3 presented the opportunity to fail spectacularly with an application deployment. The risk was eliminated with vSphere.

What VMware now requires in the performance space is sound practical guidance in driving customer best practices. With a successful performance class in place, a nascent performance service offering, and an experienced performance team at the helm, VMware’s success with shepherding customers through performance minefields is certain. So, what role is left for me in the industry? How can I bring value and carry a hint of anxiety about my plans’ outcome?

First, I wanted to grow myself technically. Most people are amazed how little I know about SRM or Lab Manager or the Nexus 1000V. Sure, I know the marketing literature and I have gone through an installation or two. But compared to what I know about ESX, I am positively stupid when it comes to these products. And that’s just with VMware’s products. What I don’t know about storage could fill an encyclopedia.

Second, I wanted to grow myself personally. I have always lived in the US and the idea of living abroad provided me the type of wonder and uncertainty that a born wanderer needs. I have traveled extensively in my life and found many opportunities to take a job abroad but the change would greatly reduce my impact on the industry. So, how was I to take a personal step sideways and a professional step forward?

It was to this backdrop that I read a fateful article from Chad Sakac in January of this year. Chad and I met years ago on a joint project and I have always thought highly of him. And I had seen in the twitterverse the incredible talent that his vSpecialist team was soaking up. It occurred to me that EMC might offer me an opportunity to expand my technological expertise and allow me to continue spreading the VMware gospel.

Sure enough, a few months later I accepted my offer from EMC. My role is the technical lead for the vSpecialists in Asia Pacific and Japan (APJ). I am based in Singapore working under the APJ CTO who owns a diverse crew of VCE sales experts. From here I will work with the CTO’s technical VCE folks and fold in resources from the global vSpecialist team. From Singapore I will show the region why it needs VMware and how EMC and Cisco can enable and accelerate the virtualization journey.

I have only been an EMC employee in the region for three weeks, with one of those on the road in Australia. I carried into my first day here many more questions than answers. But those questions are the basis of the challenge. It is because I recognize my own ignorance that I am driven to prove my value. And it is because I believe in myself and the products of VCE that I know we will be successful.

That brings me to Pivot Point. I am absolutely positive that I will continue to support this site. In fact, I have solicited contributions from my erstwhile colleagues at VMware. But until I get my hands around my day-to-day activities in APJ, I am not quite sure what the flavor of vPivot’s content will be. No doubt it will be all VCE, with a side of sashimi, a healthy serving of fried noodles, and some VB to wash it all down.

So, if you are a faithful reader of Pivot Point, thank you for your time. Hang tight with me and I promise I will bring valuable content as I steady my legs in Asia. And if you are in my neck of the woods and thirsty for deep technical content on VCE, let me know.

The adventure begins.

17 Responses

Hi Scott.

Congratulations on your new role at EMC good to see you’ll be keeping up work on your blog and it’s great to see you working in the APAC region.

All the best.


  • Congratulations Scott. Hopefully you soon discover there are better beers than VB to be had in APAC – hint some great ones on the island south of Aus.

  • All the best Scott. Hope you can keep the blogging up… I’ve found your site and Duncan Epping site valuable in going beyond the standard info you see in whitepapers and admin guides…

  • Welcome to OZ. Whenever you’re in perth shoot me a tweet or an email and we can have a beer. I can hook you up with anybody in the EMC, VMware spaces. KW

  • Scott, I think VMware have lost a key resource and I think you could have shifted your brain to applications if you had wanted to, because everyone I know seems to think apps “just work” and “infrastructure is no longer important” which you and I know is complete bunkem. VMware isn’t the same place as it was which is completely normal and expected, and I’m glad you have found a new opportunity that should push you professionally as well as personally 🙂

    Did you take your beer fridge with you? 😀


    PS. Why didn’t you come to Europe?

  • Scott D,

    Welcome to the team! It’s great to have you aboard the vSpecialist team, even if you are half a world away.

    It’s for many of the same reasons—expanding my horizons, learning more, embracing new challenges—that I joined EMC. So far, I haven’t been disappointed, and I suspect that your experience will be much the same.

    Best of luck to you in the APJ area and let me know if I can help you in any way!

  • Wow! Congrats Scott! Welcome to The Mothership!
    I was just mentioning you last night as a possible resource to bring in on an issue. I guess now that you’re over here that process might be easier? I’ll send you an email. Again, welcome aboard and glad to have you here!

  • Congratulations and I wish you well in this endeavor!

  • Congratulations again Scott! Glad to hear you made it over the ocean, hopefully with all your luggage, and are settling in. I appreciated your time before your departure – always keep in touch. Here’s to a new virtual future…

  • Sounds like a great move, Scott – congratulations to you. Once upon a time I got a college degree in International Trade/Relations with a focus on SE Asia. I still have it in the back of my mind to make a leap into something that challenges me in a different way with a move back to Vietnam. Give me a shout if you see anything for a vExpert in Vietnam – I just might have to make a crazy cool move like you.


  • Scott…

    I met you back at VMworld 2009 in the excellent vSphere Performance/ESXtop Lab. I was amazed by your knowledge of the vSphere Hypervisor, and I still say that you are still the MOST knowledgeable person I have met in the VMware Performance area. Your blog posts have been excellent and are always on topic with issues that I have dealt with or am dealing with in my environment. VMware has definitely lost one of the BEST performance engineers, I was hoping to catch up with you at VMworld 2010 this year but looks like your new job will be keeping you busy.

    Congratulations on your success and to the future!!


  • Incredibly fantastic! I have family in Singapore (am from US and living there now) and have mulled moving there for work at various times (seems like storage and VMware are fairly geographically portable skills). I’ll likely be back in Singapore in the next 6 months to see family….may try to look you up at that point if you’re around….

    Longtime reader but first time I’ve posted I think….

  • Still find it hard to believe that you are physically in Singapore now 🙂 Hope you’ve got your apartment. Make sure it has space for vMax.
    When you’ve settled down, let’s continue the Indonesian food with round 2.

  • Ah….and you need to try (if you haven’t already) Malay satay and roti prata/roti chanai (especially with bananas cooked in).

  • Mate, like I mentioned to you after the sessions at North Sydney, its awesome you are working for EMC in the region. I’m looking forward to much goodness now you are Captain vSpecialist APJ 🙂

  • Wow, all the best with both moves! Next time in Sydney we should do beer, but not VB!


  • I am a very big fan of your blog.
    congratulations on your new challenge.
    regards from Mexico
    Jose Ruelas