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I am an IT pro and tend to need virtual environments for opsdev, infrastructure and development type activities that require non-functional facets like backup. A lot of my work gets done on trains so I cant very well use amazon etc.

where should I address these questions if not server fault. i refer to: https://serverfault.com/questions/529113/backing-up-multiple-vmware-vms-from-a-mac

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    What does "IT Pro" mean? Programmer?? It seems like you're trying to backup your personal workstation (work or home related, Server Fault doesn't normally deal with "end users" so to say). – Chris S Aug 8 '13 at 15:39
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    Pro is very seldom used as an abbreviation for Programmer. I am an IT professional that has worked in a variety of technically biased roles for the past 20 years. – Paddy Carroll Aug 9 '13 at 7:34
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    That's just as nebulous as your previous statement. While we tend not to care what your actual title is; a lot of people claim "IT Professional" when they really mean "the guy that got co-opted into doing IT Administration; but it's not their primary job". – Chris S Aug 9 '13 at 14:14
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    You don't score very highly on the 'nice' scale mate, I'd quit while your are ahead. I have been Architecting and developing Systems Management and Infrastructure solutions for the last 7 year previous to which I was a support and development head, my last gig was 33000 POS terminals in 11000 locations + supporting DC (Data centre not District of Coloumbia) infrastructure, this gig is putting serial TV into a private cloud. – Paddy Carroll Aug 9 '13 at 19:36
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    TV is television – Paddy Carroll Aug 9 '13 at 19:38
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    And what is this about anyway, who I am? you betray the sort of bias that is getting this forum a bad name and you should examine your motives for being so rude and dismissive. – Paddy Carroll Aug 9 '13 at 20:18
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    You were being vague. Calling me rude for pointing that out doesn't do your character any favors either. Also, I'm the only member of the "regular crowd" who's been trying to find someone who knows a good answer to your question. I reopened your question after you edited it too... – Chris S Aug 9 '13 at 20:19
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    Well thanks Chris, but please try to be a bit more cuddly next time, The point I make about who I am is still valid. – Paddy Carroll Aug 9 '13 at 20:32
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I am an IT pro...

This is it right here.

There's a lot of disagreement about the target audience of ServerFault. I and I think many of the participating high-rep ServerFault users believe that the target audience of ServerFault should be professional systems and network administrators (i.e., Operations) whereas the StackOverflow crowd (which greatly outnumbers us) seem to believe that the target audience should be IT professionals in general.

Here's why this distinction is really important. As a developer (or someone in DevOps, or someone in a home lab environment), a good quality question/answer about how to backup your VMware Fusion-based development environment on your laptop is probably very useful. To me, a systems administrator, your question is unfortunately pretty useless. I work in the world of SANs and VMware vCenter and ESXi not VMware Fusion. The answers to your question will most likely, and in similar questions historically have not, contained information, solutions, or tools that are relevant or suitable to my profession. Consequently, questions like these often get closed as either more appropriate for SuperUser or more appropriate for StackOverflow (because they're related to developer tools).

Compare these two questions:

  1. How can I backup my VMware Fusion Virtual Machines on my laptop?
  2. Our development team uses VMware Fusion on their laptops and workstations for prototyping. How can I build, manage and deploy standardized virtual machines to their computers? How can I back them up and recover them in the event their workstation or laptop stops working? Is there a way I delegate the creation of these one-off prototyping VMs to the development team so I'm not constantly spinning up another VM on their local machines?

The second question is very relevant to people in operations such as myself and touches on a number of centralized management and enterprise-y technologies that allow a single person to manage, control, and ensure the consistency and safety of a development environment for a large number of people. The first question, well, is just not as relevant.

It's unfortunate that this disagreement about the target audience leads to these situations. Your question isn't very helpful to me and getting it closed in one day isn't very helpful to you. I also think it leads to ServerFault getting a bad rap for "excluding people based on who they are". I'm not advocating that we do that. I'm advocating that topicality on ServerFault is for people working in the problem domain of the second question and not the first. If your question happens to be in that problem domain it's certainly welcome. If not, there's plenty of other great places for it on the SE network (SuperUser, SO, or maybe Programmers).

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    While I appreciate your response, the nature of the question was such that it should receive a response from a professional forum. I also work in vCentre/ESXi and HyperV environments in an enterprise capacity. I need to design and prototype SQL database resilience and backup solutions, non relational database stuff like sharding and replication, application servers, web servers, security configs. I could go on and on but you get the picture. The question was really: How can I make the best and optimal use of my resources to backup my VMs and the response of this forum was Foxtrot Oscar – Paddy Carroll Aug 9 '13 at 7:03
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First off, thank you for posting your issue in the correct place.
This puts you several miles ahead of most folks who complain about their question being placed on hold, but never take the proper steps to deal with why that happened.


I personally see two problems with your question (and please understand I'm not saying this to be mean, just honest):

The first is that your tags are... not great.
is the most relevant one, and honestly would probably be a better choice would be appropriate too.
I don't understand how is relevant (yes you have an SSD in the machine, but that's not really relevant to what you're trying to do), and the others I can take or leave (they may or may not be relevant to the ultimate solution - you might be told not to use the tools you're using).

The second is that, as asked, it is indistinguishable from a developer or end user asking a question that should be directed to their IT staff "I need a backup of my workstation, how can I do that?", or a home use case (which is the province of SuperUser).
Part of that has to do with your choice of hardware and software, which is an unfortunate bias on Server Fault. "Desktop grade tools" often lead to the conclusion that we're dealing with a "desktop grade question". In your particular case I can't tell if that's true or not, so I'll give you the benefit of the doubt to some extent.


Both of these leave me in a position where I can't see my way clear to overriding 5 users who decided to put the question on hold. (I personally don't think it's a terrible question, but I don't think it's a great question either - so while I wouldn't close it myself I'm also not willing to say it absolutely should be reopened.)

Both problems are also REALLY EASY to fix:
For the first one, take a minute and browse the tags list, or type a few out and see which are most appropriate. Ask yourself "What is my question about?", and list the most relevant things.
(Tagging is hard. Usually I just fix questionable tags, but you seem smart enough to be able to do it right.)

For the second you can clarify your question to show the professional context.
Simply saying you "have a prototyping environment" doesn't quite cut it, because Server Fault's target audience is not every IT professional (a scope which includes developers, who frequently have "prototyping environments" on their laptops, who should talk to local IT about backups), it is professional IT admins - and in fact really a subset of those.
It's hard for me to reconcile your question as it stands with our target audience - it's on the fence and leaning toward "Not really our bailiwick", but it's entirely possible that a little word smithing will knock it clearly into the "in scope and on topic" category.

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    It seems to me that mods have lost sight of their purpose on this. Rather than thinking 'we must destroy any home related question at all costs' you should be thinking 'could this be useful to an admin, maybe? ah what the hell if a few home questions slip through' – JamesRyan Aug 8 '13 at 16:19
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    @JamesRyan That is the standard I personally use. The bias against home use questions is because, to be perfectly blunt, they're almost uniformly crap. There is zero interest in the server fault community (even among our nicest members) in being the internet's desktop support. I refer you to What is a "professional capacity"? for some more detail on why "home" questions are generally considered off-topic here, but if you want to discuss it further please open a new discussion. – voretaq7 Aug 8 '13 at 16:24
  • well you are not wrong in that aim, but it seems to go too far at times – JamesRyan Aug 8 '13 at 16:29
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    I'm not sure I see a problem in aggressively targeting home questions, as there's an appropriate site for them. It's not like we're telling these questions/people "Be Gone!". Super User is the Internet's help desk. If we wanted to help home users, we'd go answer there. If we need to know something about a home situation, we'd go search/question there. The sites are meant to be dividing lines in the sea of knowledge; not islands ignoring each other's existence. – Chris S Aug 8 '13 at 17:15
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    @ChrisS Like all things, It depends on the quality and caliber of the question. It's no secret that I have a serious problem with people closing a question because it has the word home in it ("closing by regex"). Many of us have home environments that are better managed than some of the production environments I've worked in, and a question about configuration management in those environment could be very relevant on Server Fault. By contrast asking how to get Port 80 working on my ISP's network, or getting DD-WRT working on my LinkCyst? Not so much with the relevance. – voretaq7 Aug 8 '13 at 18:01
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    @voretaq7: The trouble with home is it begets more home which betgets more shit en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Broken_windows_theory. – Iain Aug 8 '13 at 18:12
  • @Iain I agree in principle, but in point of fact a lot of really good questions were closed during the ZOMG HOME MUST DIE days, and a good number of them were reopened and answered as good questions after a simple s/home//g -- Closing By Regex is just as bad as Stack Overflow's "Migrating by Regex". – voretaq7 Aug 8 '13 at 19:01
  • @Iain It's also probably worth pointing out that the "home questions of yesteryear" had a more-than-incidental occurrence of good questions. Today's home questions are almost universally dreck, and it's much harder to defend them when the quality has gone from "Not That Good" to "BLOODY AWFUL" – voretaq7 Aug 8 '13 at 19:05
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    There still seems to be this perception that when a question is marked up for moving to SU, it and its asker are somehow being thrown out of the promised land in some kind of vindictive manner. That's insulting to SuperUser, let alone the people voting to close/move the question. If a tool is most normally used in a home/personal environment then it is likely to get a better answer on a site that is used to dealing with home/personal environments and the behaviour of IT equipment in that environment. Bar-room lawyering about why a question 'should' stay here misses that point. – Rob Moir Aug 8 '13 at 20:32
  • OK I have edited the original question and adjusted the tags. I was written in kind of a hurry originally so I have tried to make it a specific query. If it is better suited to another forum can I have an explicit recommendation please. – Paddy Carroll Aug 9 '13 at 7:36
  • The problem is when as in this question it is regarding an area of technology where the expertise for a useful answer is here and getting thrown out to SU will mean likely a low quality answer or none at all. – JamesRyan Aug 14 '13 at 10:21

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