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A Decade of Learning

This year marks the 10th THWACKcamp. For the uninitiated, THWACKcamp is a 100% free virtual event open to all IT professionals.

How I Got Here

For anyone unaware, prior to working for SolarWinds, I was a customer. I spent a portion of each day working with the portfolio of products to keep on top of my infrastructure; be they servers in the room just a few steps away or routers on the other side of the planet. Knowing I had SolarWinds monitoring and managing my infrastructure let me sleep well at night. My monitoring was doing a great job, but I had inklings it could be better. After attending my first THWACKcamp, I didn’t know just how much more I could do with the SolarWinds products. “Eye opening” might be a gross understatement about how I felt after my first THWACKcamp. “Transformative” is a more accurate way to encapsulate how I felt after the two days of technology discussions. Long story short: I didn’t know what I didn’t know. The fervor was palpable, and my team and I dove back into our monitoring to tease out more functionality. Change is standard for IT professionals and isn’t scary on its own, but it requires being flexible and open to new ideas. THWACKcamp was a great place to cultivate these concepts.

Transformation as Standard Operating Procedure

To say the last few years has been transformative might err on being overly conservative. There were times when the jobs of IT professionals changed day-to-day. If I could strike out a single phrase from the collective consciousness (at least where it pertains to IT), it would be “new normal.” It’s been so overused when discussing technology responsibilities, it means nothing. Change is inherent to life, and actively choosing not to change is counter to everything we love about working in IT. Change is about taking passion and applying it with new technologies hereto previously unknown in your organization. Even if we discount the effect the coronavirus had on the ways in which we live our lives, there are countless new innovations and technologies which transform IT work: sometimes day-to-day. The advent of public cloud was an IT disrupter: no longer being bound by the physical, geographical, and financial limits of yesteryear was game-changing for all organizations. Putting some (or more than some) of your compute into a cloud provider’s infrastructure is no longer felt to be “bleeding edge.” It’s another natural evolution for IT professionals. Aside from all the other benefits cloud operations offer, it gave us an opportunity to think about the “why of IT” rather than concentrating on the “how of IT.” Why are we concentrating on building our own financial system from scratch when there was a perfectly acceptable SaaS offering? Why are our globally distributed services being maintained by a few score of individuals on aging kit when we could move that to another architecture and never worry about hard drive swaps and firmware again? Why are we learning skills by toiling through books and admin guides when a free virtual learning conference is available for all?

What to Expect

Even if only one session at this year’s THWACKcamp has you excited, you’ve got reason enough to register. The platform offers live chat, so you can network with the session presenters and other attendees, regardless of where you are. It’s a great way to build connections, get insights, and recruit compatriots to help you on your cause. Conscripting help from other IT professionals facing similar, if not identical, problems is a great way to find solutions. Learn from the hive-mind that is THWACK. When I first started attending THWACKcamp, I thought only a topic or two interested me. I couldn’t have been more wrong. The deep technical discussions were another way for me to improve myself. For the next several years, I invited more and more coworkers to join the event with me because there were topics for everyone.  After being a part of the phenomenon that is THWACKcamp, my eyes were opened to the possibilities of how I could make our monitoring (and thus our IT environment) better. Regardless of how you do math, that’s a “win.” The volume of content we’ll be providing is outrageous considering the fee (100% free).

Reveling in the Post-THWACKcamp Glow

When you finally disconnect from THWACKcamp, you’ll have that warm fuzzy feeling. I know—I’ve been there. Then it’s time to start planning out the next phases in your monitoring journey. If you get stuck, it’s an ideal time to keep those conversations going on THWACK where the experts from the sessions spend a significant time of their day. We’re here to help. Since my first THWACKcamp to today, I’m excited to have invited other people along for the journey, so don’t forget to tell your friends and colleagues about it. There’s nothing better than collaborative learning, so the more attendees the better. THWACKcamp registration is open, and we can't wait to see you!
Kevin M. Sparenberg
Kevin's first computer was the family TI-99/4A. He's learned computing the best way possible: by fixing his own broken machines. He was a SolarWinds customer…
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