One of the tools in any good SE’s bag of tricks should be an environment where you can deploy, configure, test and break (on a regular basis) the software that you will be supporting.
I have been very fortunate to be able to build and operate my own environment out of the basement of my house since before I started at VMware. While VMware does provide it’s engineers with a hosted environment as well as access to the VMware Hands on Labs, there is something about having a sandbox that is all your own.
I’m also always looking for creative ways to increase my electricity consumption and out perform my neighbors. See the image for a snapshot of where I currently rank.
One thing you will no doubt notice is that my lab is significantly more complicated than many other home lab setups out there. This was entirely by design.
At VMware, my current role does not require me to have any hands on time with day-to-day IT responsibilities or networking and infrastructure architecture and deployments. So in order for me to maintain and grow my over all IT skill set, vSandbox was created. I’ve always been a big proponent of getting actual stick time with a technology to be able to truly learn it.
So as an old Unix admin once told me…use it, or lose it!