Seeking Opportunities for September 2016

Virtual Earthrunner IT Ltd is coming to the end of an existing, long term engagement and will be seeking a new engagement for a September 2016 start.

Would prefer Guildford, Surrey locations but willing to travel to central London for VMware focused, Wintel based senior/lead roles offering 3 month+ engagements.  Highly skilled in VMware environments and looking to work with VMware VDI deployments as/where possible.

Imminently Available For Contract Offers – Aiming For Early September Start

With approximately 6 weeks to go until the official contract end date, I’m treading the waters to see what else is about and am therefore open to suitable contract/consultancy offers.  I’m not saying there isn’t an extension on offer or not, but I don’t want to rely on being ‘officially’ offered it or choosing not to accept it in a couple of weeks and have less time to find something else.  With two separate weeks out of that six on holiday or at a conference, it doesn’t leave much time and I’d hope to have something in place for a mid Sept. start.

My current contract has been a positive experience and amongst a small but friendly team of engineers.  The opportunity to influence the technical design of the intended solution and the virtually sole responsibility for building out the VMware & storage solution has been great.  It is what I enjoy doing, although the vendor’s used is not really my cup of team, and I’ve made leaps and bounds with PowerShell/PowerCLI for almost complete automation of a vCenter/ESXi host build using CSV files.  I’ve been working with a colleague who joined from HP in the Windows domain and services build, putting together the first domain controller, deploying WSUS, DNS/DHCP, file servers, BitLocker MBAM, a PXE boot service to support ESXi builds, RSA services to name but a few and coupled with more Cisco switch exposure has given me a chance to develop the same technologies I’m used to, but in a different way or with more hands-on.  What is lacking is a VMware Horizon View/Mirage/FLEX type environment and I really miss this since I was developing a really high-tech strategy for a previous employer and never got to finish what would have been a highly mobile, flexible and secure environment delivering all levels of virtual desktop and application capabilities (high perf. CAD down to standard worker machines, across to iPad’s and BYOD).  I think the lack of BAU support and production maintenance activities is something else I miss to a certain extent, although only as a small percentage of the working day.  There has been an element of security minded activities during development and build, to support the IL2/3 production environments being put together, but perhaps not as significant or important as I’m used to/desire.

Location wise, despite hating London 15 years ago and lasting a mere 6 weeks or so, I’m pleasantly surprised to actually be accustomed to the commute and am in what I feel is a nice location, the Bank area, although closer to the Monument.  It’s a busy but short tube journey (or great walk on a good day along the South Bank) and short walks from the stations, with an all important Costa coffee for the morning and afternoon fix.  I’d rather travel to London from Milford than across towards Reading and beyond or southwards, but I’d prefer to stay close to the Bank, London Bridge or Westminster areas.

So, to summarise, I’m looking for a senior role as an engineer/consultant/lead or even head/manager within a medium to large infrastructure environment using VMware vSphere.  Ideally VMware VDI would co-exist and there’ll be more enterprise class technology such as HP/EMC.  I’d prefer to be involved in design, develop, build and maintenance with some BAU work to offer variety and an acceptable level of pressure.  Although experienced in Windows and Linux I’d favour an environment tilted heavily towards Windows with a reduced Linux presence.  Not experienced with more in-depth network routing protocols, I’m comfortable managing networking and perimeter security devices, Firewalls, proxies, UTM (ideally FortiGate but small exposure to Juniper).  This role would ideally be based in or very close to Guildford, or within easy reach from Waterloo station, I.e. the Bank/London Bridge/Westminster areas.

My LinkedIn profile offers more detail of my skills/experience, with daily rate requirements exposed on request.

Further Lab Enhancements

After the initial post regarding my home lab, not much has changed and to be honest, I’ve not done much with it.  Having passed the VCP I’m deciding whether to keep the vSphere 5.5 setup and work towards VCAP or rebuild with vSphere 6.0!  My current contract is based around 5.5 so that’s a tick in the ‘keep it’ box!  At present, the lab is using a single network alongside my general home devices, so it’s not a true reflection of a live environment as I’ve not got VLAN’s and don’t have any devices capable of internal IP routing without setting up another VM/Physical system to handle that.

Needing to learn Cisco’s IOS since that is the most common network vendor used all contracts I’ve applied/interviewed/accepted, I’ve decided to splash some business cash and procure a layer 3 Cisco switch to help further develop my lab and skills……two birds with one stone so to speak.  I wanted 1Gb capable connectivity on all ports (I’m not just learning for CCNA!), and therefore had to spend a bit more to get it.  Ebay had a few 24x 1Gb port switches and I opted for a 3750G-24TS-S which also comes with 4x SFP ports should I ever need to experiment with that!  It was actually cheaper that the base 3750G-24 switches though so I’m pleased with my purchase.  In all, £275, but I do need to get hold of a Cisco serial cable so perhaps my new client will have one spare!

With this new switch, arriving tomorrow, I’ll be placing it directly behind the BT home-hub and running the entire network from it with IP routing enabled.  I’ll VLAN off the general network (using the existing IP range), storage, vSphere Mgmt, vMotion and Lab networks.  It will be especially useful since I’m currently involved in low-level/system-level design with vSphere and Cisco switch/firewalls.

New Contract, Ingeus, VMware Engineer

Monday 16 March is a key milestone for Virtual Earthrunner in that its services will be utilised by a new client.  VEIT finished the contract at HP today, Friday 13 March, earlier than intended to pursue a contract that was more inline with the skills/experience obtained through 20+ years in IT.

The new contract will see VEIT part of a design/implementation team at Ingeus in London, to deliver a small/medium sized virtual infrastructure based on vSphere 5.5 and Windows 2012 for a government related project.  VEIT’s skills will be utilized to develop the low-level design based on current HLD and then implement the final solution that will see an Active Directory serve SQL backed web/bespoke applications to the customer user-base.  This will include delivery of approx. 1500 Windows 8.1 desk/laptop client devices.

For John it is a return to London, a second time after the disastrous attempt in 1999 where he lasted 4 weeks before finding something else outside of London.  This time the circumstances are different and the income much improved, with train time valuable for documentation work.  From Waterloo, the main rail destination, it’ll be a 20 min twin tube journey to St Pancras and a short walk from there, via the Costa Coffee for breakfast!

In theory the level and variety of work is much improved and allows VEIT to regain the expected hands-on with key technologies, valuable to VCAP and Microsoft certification.  Intended path over the next year or two is either a return to infrastructure management (hands-on) or full-on infrastructure architect (VMware), both as a contract/consultant.


Having been working at HP since December, things are not going as planned and the role is a little too mundane in a very slow environment.  Ideally, John prefers a busy and challenging environment to work in where his skills can be fully utilised.  Keen to remain VMware focused, John is looking to establish a contract to be part of a design, build, maintain and support activity.  If VMware’s Horizon View was also part of that activity it would be the perfect role for John to move to.  With 7/5 years working with VMware and their Horizon products respectively, John can offer solid experience and skills for any organisation keen to begin a new VMware project, or rejuvenate an existing activity.  Although happy to provide ongoing support for such an activity, John would prefer to be a key part of the front-end activity as well as their for the post-delivery aspects.

VMware experience/exposure covers; vSphere, vCenter (HA/DRS/FT/Replication/Data Protection), SRM, Horizon, Workspace, Mirage, vRealize Operations, Converter.  With broad skills in storage, networking, Windows, Linux, backup and IT security, as well as leadership skills in man management, budgets, strategy, policy management, John offers a very competent package for any organisation looking to hire a multi-talented individual.

For contract/consultancy rates please contact John direct @ or via LinkedIn @

John Parsons makes it to YouTube

When Virtual Earthrunner director, John Parsons, worked at Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd as the Head of Information Systems he was invited by EMC to take part in an case study exercise which involved a recorded interview at VMworld 2013 in San Francisco.  Nervous of being filmed John did accept, completed the interview and was amazed at the editing techniques to make a reasonably decent video.  Initially released on EMC’s website as part of a marketing campaign, the video was later used in a Twitter campaign and a following textual case study also released.

John left SSTL in October 2014 but despite this, the video was recently released to YouTube by EMC in January 2015,  Although still providing advertising for SSTL, it is still good publicity for John as it highlights his technical understanding and vision through the strategic vision he had for further developing/enhancing SSTL’s IT infrastructure.  The fully virtual CAD strategy is still something John would like to deliver but without a suitable client this remains an idea/vision at present, although the VMware based solution is now becoming available.

John is looking for a new contract opportunity and would thrive in a busy environment where his vision and desire for technical hands-on, design and strategic input is valued.  Please review his LinkedIn profile and/or contact him at to discuss any opportunities or request a full CV.

Planned Training Path

Well, still struggling to get a contract and getting frustrated with agencies at present.  Very few actually call you when you’ve applied and some never get back to you when your CV has been submitted to the client!  I need the feedback to establish why I’m being rejected!  I believe I have a strong enough experience/skill set so maybe I’m too good for the roles I apply for….maybe I don’t have the right experience/skill set!  Either way it’ll be nice to know so I can tailor my CV to suite.

Once I get some contract money coming in through my Ltd company I’ve got a plan for personal training.  To start with, I need to update my VCP and sadly I’ve slacked in revising for the exam due next week because I’m getting a bit down in the dumps for struggling to find work despite trying for at least 6 weeks.  Once my VCP is secured, I was planning on the following:

  • CCNA
  • MCSA Windows Server 2012
  • MCA SQL Server
  • VCP-DT
  • Prince 2
  • ITIL Foundation

I hope that by working on these and passing exams I’ll have a proven record of understanding in all the areas.  Currently I’m going on hands-on experience which, as a recruiter in my time at SSTL, I felt was far more valuable than a piece of paper.  However, the certificate does prove one to be capable of absorbing information and extracting it correctly in a formal examination environment, a personal capability rather than defined technical ability.

I’ve fingers in so many pies at the moment, surely one has to be ready for eating!  I just can’t believe that my CV is not getting me interviews all the time based on the feedback I get about it!

Career Path

Well, since I’m in the process of leaving my current employer, end of October, I’m looking around for a new challenge and am set of switching to contracting.  I’ve had a few interviews, all of which have reached at least 2nd interview which is promising, but all for permanent roles.  What is putting me off is going from one perm role and culture to another where I’ve got to work hard at fitting in and adapting to that new culture whilst maintaining a committed, dedicated attitude.  Last time I did this back in 1999 it didn’t work and I switched roles again after only 2 months!  This is why I’m edging towards contracting and believe it offers a few more benefits.  I’m not saying one doesn’t need to show commitment or dedication, but in the knowledge the contract is for a set period of time with a strong possibility of no extension, there is less worry about fitting in for the long-haul and more about doing what is needed to complete the contract.  As well as a higher take home in contracting, if you find the right contract, I believe the changing environments will improve one’s experience and allow a much quicker adoption of the different cultures as one moves from contract to contract.  Most contracts seem to require a resource for a specific need for the contract length and I think this will allow a focused energy on the job in hand whilst, if a technical role, challenge the mind and deepening the skill-set.

What I want out of a new role is a challenge where I can build experience and further develop my technical skills as I’m becoming aware they are not as deep as they should be and this is a result of becoming stale in the same environment for far too long.  I believe contracting will offer this at least for a few years.  I’m interested to hear the thoughts of others who have experience in this predicament.