About Preston de Guise
In 1996 I joined a system administration team, and as the new junior was told "We deployed a new backup system a couple of months ago. You can run it."
For the next couple of months I really wasn't all that impressed with backup. Due to the ad-hoc way it had been installed and managed up to that point, there was pretty much no documentation for the product that I could find other than the occasional help screen or man page, and there was no training available at the time, leaving me to basically bootstrap myself with the package.
Several months into my new role I finally went on-call. I still remember when the penny dropped - I was dialed in from home while on the phone to operators at 3am, and running a recovery. Yes, I'd run recoveries at other times since being assigned the product, but few things heighten your appreciation more of decent backup software than the ability to easily coordinate a recovery when you're tired and should otherwise be in bed.
I've been working with backup products ever since, and consulting since 2000. I've worked with several enterprise products, but more importantly, I've had involvement in backup implementations - and ongoing support - for a wide variety of companies: finance and banking, government (federal, state, local), mining and exploration, travel, top-500, top-1000, small-to-medium enterprises.
It's this exposure to such a variety of companies that has helped me come to understand just how important it is to have a well integrated backup system, as opposed to just a bunch of hardware and software called "backup".
Perhaps most importantly of all, since I continue to not only design and implement solutions, but to also support solutions and customers post-install, I have continual exposure to the real-world problems faced by businesses in working with enterprise backup. This ongoing operational exposure allows analysis and understanding beyond marketing documentation for products or silly emphasis on "speeds and feeds", and instead grants insight into best practice backup theory and implementation.