About The Exchange Goddess

Hi! Welcome to my blog.

Who am I? I’m a girly geek who loves learning about new technologies. I’ll mostly blog about IT related things but there maybe times I rant about other things too. I hope you find this place interesting. If not, then don’t read it. If so, continue on.

I first started out in IT as a consultant doing various sysadmin work for the SMB market with a local IT consulting firm. After a few years I moved into the private healthcare industry focusing on messaging related systems and performing AD migrations. Working for this company gave me the opportunity to work in an enterprise with up to almost 27K users across the 50 states. This was a big jump from the mom &pop shops, SMB market I was accustom too.

IT was kept thin so the engineers had to still be somewhat a generalist even though we had out specialties. This allowed me to not only work on Exchange servers but also the underlying system that ran the server, such as the hypervisor. I would later find out that this would be a godsend and open other learning opportunities for me. Typically in an enterprise you have separate departments that handle the hardware racking/stacking to the installation of the application but not here, we did it all. When we had projects or upgrades, we did everything, from getting the system quotes, racking the server in the datacenter, to installing the OS & application. It was a one stop shop department. Yes, I racked servers with help, of course, from my trusty co-workers. I may be small, but I’m not helpless. The guys helped me rack the heavier servers so I didn’t hurt myself or when the only position available was at the top which was too high for me too reach. I’m barely 5 feet tall so I used a step stool a lot in the datacenter.

In late 2009 I moved on from healthcare to Harsco Corporation, a globally diversified industrial and construction services company. I was hired as a system engineer to work in global operations to primarily manage the messaging systems and perform other duties as assigned. Well, after working here for about 2 months I quickly realized what those other duties were. In addition to managing Exchange and the BES servers, I was to help support the Netapp SAN, CommVault enterprise backup and help out with some of the McAfee “stuff”, and everything else that was globally managed in the datacenter, including helping to design the future virtualization infrastructure. WOW. What did I get myself into?” ran through my head just about every night.

So that’s how my journey started. It’s been a long journey, with lots of sweat & tears, but overall it’s been an exciting journey. What started out as a job managing Exchange servers globally became so much bigger. Within my first 6 months I was assigned to be the lead engineer for the company’s virtualization project, as I had the most experience with VMware compared to the other engineers on staff. Having prior VMware experience from my past life was a big bonus here. Working with management and the other engineers,we designed the first phase of the virtual infrastructure, making it easily scalable for future growth. We had our VMware jumpstart and did the dog and pony show with the vendor but when it came time to build to the ESXi hosts it was all me. It was during the first few weeks of us prepping our SAN and getting our VMware jumpstart is when my alter ego “Exchange Goddess” was born. In a future post I will write more on how “Exchange Goddess” came about but let’s continue on the story of the journey.

While my colleagues went to the VMware training courses so they could get up to speed, I was building the first vSphere cluster of 12 ESXi 4.1 hosts running on Dell M610 blades. It took me about a week to get everything up and running including configuring the vDistributed switch. Over the next 2 months, I led my co-workers on the path to virtualization, P2V’ing over 68 servers that would be the first batch of servers to run on this new platform.

Over the next 2 years the environment grew, and so did my VMware skills. During this time I was still managing Exchange along with managing VMware and the underlying Netapp SAN it was running on, in fact even did a global consolidation and upgrade to Exchange 2010. I was busy, to say the least, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. My experiences have allowed me to be knowledgeable not only at the server and application level, but also down to the storage and hypervisor. I guess you could say I’ve become a one stop shop IT chick. I don’t know everything, don’t claim to know everything, but I do know how and where to get the answers. Hopefully you find this place useful and gain some knowledge from my experiences.

All views and opinions are my own and not of my employer.

4 comments

  1. Hey i just wanted to ask a question about Exchange Dynamic Distribution Groups,
    I want to add a user to multiple existing dynamic distributions groups.

    Will you be able to help me out please?

    would really appreciate it.

    1. Do you know what the filters or conditions that the groups are based off of? If you know what they are, it would be making sure that user meets all the conditions of each of the dynamic groups. If user meets all the conditions they would automatically be included in the dynamic group.

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