What the Heck is a Server?

June 21, 2007

I had no idea what I was getting myself into the first time I met Lance Crosby. It was a late winter afternoon, quite some time ago. I walked into a job interview, happy-go-lucky, for a sales position at a web hosting company. I thought, “I would love a sales job!" (or any real job for that matter). We sat and had a normal interview, and everything seemed to be going very well. I was unusually relaxed which was far cry from my normal interviewing skills. Relaxed, that is until it was time for the datacenter tour.

We walked through the dark NOC, past the twenty five to thirty television screens showing everything from The Weather Channel, to CNN, also displaying what appeared to be a bunch of meaningless graphs and digits. As we ventured into the badge-access-only datacenter, my head started to spin. I was shown diesel generators, rows of UPS’, HVAC units, switches, routers, and more servers than I had ever seen in my life (I had seen zero). I remember "playing it cool" and acting like it made some sense to me. I am sure this was very entertaining for Lance.

I was offered the job and that is when the terror set in. I began to realize this was much more than a sales job. I was going to be selling servers, at the same time wondering "what the heck IS a server?" Over the course of the following months I was able to learn about the internal components of a server and all they entail – RAM (makes/models), different HDDs (makes/models/sizes/speeds), port speeds, bandwidth usage, operating systems, control panels, backup solutions, etc. Over the phone, chat, and via email I met with and became familiar with our extremely broad customer base, the different businesses they ran, and their likes and dislikes. I dealt with the good, the bad, and the ugly situations. I even learned to take care of issues myself without badgering Steven to death. I finally knew what I was talking about! Now I absolutely love what I do and cannot imagine being in any other field. This is not to mention the wonderful opportunity of working at a young, successful, and innovative company. Not many server sales representatives have the honor of this experience.

I think this story probably sounds familiar to the majority of the sales team. The web hosting industry is an amazing one. When presented with all of the details and information that are vital in selling servers and keeping customers happy, it can be down right scary. However, once you open yourself up to the information that is being handed to you, it all falls into place. It is especially challenging to take in everything you need to know as a SoftLayer sales representative. We are required to be as technical as we possibly can so that there is as little correspondence with our Support technicians as possible during the initial sales process. It is an ever-changing industry, and we do need to be on our toes. Lance likes to kid and say that I did not even know what a computer was when I first started out. While that might not be entirely true, it is not very far fetched. I would like to think that we have all come a long way.

-Amanda

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