Hans Bernhardt received his degree in electrical engineering at Virginia Tech, started IT in 1993 at Virginia Tech Library Systems (from “DOS/Novell days” forward), and joined VMware in 2000 when the company was less than 100 people. His perspective is that of both a historian and engineer who is still holding on to the roof of a sports car speeding through the advancements of technology. Amazingly he still has hair, lots of it. Hans likes to joke that he is a “general specialist and a special generalist,” noting his propensity for presenting things in a simplified manner so that everyone can learn. He credits this to being surrounded by a team of incredible brains who are willing to share.
Hans has served in multiple roles at VMware including Tech Support Engineer, Instructor, System Engineer, and Cloud Architect. His answer to the question “What do you do at VMware?” is “Yes.” In 2003 he built the travelling server kits that VMware’s tiny instructor team used to teach, starting with the flagship native hypervisor “ESX” 1.X . From 2005-2013 he served on the core team of VMworld Labs.
In 2008 Hans and his team created the first “official” lab utilizing nested virtualization at VMware, to show the upgrade path from ESX to ESXi for VMware employees, but, more importantly to show that nested virtualization (running VMs inside of VMs) could be used in lieu of a separate physical data center for every student. This helped spawn the “vSEL” lab cloud project that morphed into what is now VMworld “Hands on Labs,” accessible globally all year.
Hans’s passion also includes volunteering, whereby he spends much personal time with the VMware Foundation and related activities that benefit the community. For over 20 years he directed entertainment at Muscular Dystrophy Association summer camp in both Virginia and California. He is an avid cyclist and trail runner, with focus on tons of hill climbing to help burn his excess energy.
The one thing Hans is known for across many circles, technical and non-technical, is RUBBER CHICKENS. He has literally given out potentially tens of thousands of rubber chickens globally to children, volunteers, people who serve at events such as the many engineers who put on VMworld Hands on Labs, and many more. You may have seen him at VMworld with a large rubber chicken hanging from his bag. The rubber chicken has come to symbolize many things beyond just humor, including a way to break down communication barriers between people, and a way to uniquely show gratitude to the people who put forth great effort to serve others.