I got my first Linux CD ROM in 1995, Walnut Creek from 1994. My previous experience with DOS and CP/M left me longing for true multitasking. I had a few web hosts over the years but nothing super serious. I basically wanted to control my own mail and web servers. The mail server lost luster when I got my Gmail invite. But I had experience.
That experience got honed working for an online check system company. I was running a backup data center. We were installing VMWare hosts and then RHEL VM’s as needed. We had a lot of custom web servers running that we built using kickstart. I learned a lot about manipulating kickstart scripts and dealing with hardware. After about 18 months I ran across an opportunity to build a Linux platform “green field” style. The large, Fortune 20, enterprise was running AIX and Windows. The closest thing they had to a mainframe was an IBM AS/400 system or two.
So… I took the new gig.