Music and tech make a perfect pair — coding, troubleshooting and focusing on projects are often accompanied by a soundtrack for many in the IT industry. Whether it’s getting into that “flow state” or simply dialing in on a complex problem, listening to music seems to be the method of choice for IT employees looking to unlock creativity.
In this series, called Music Behind the Tech, we’ll be helping you get to know Rackspace employees, their stories and the relationship between the music they love and their work. We’ve even embedded their playlists at the bottom of each post. Rock on!
As a company founded in Texas, there are plenty of Rackers who are country music fans. And while the genre is often maligned — it’s assumed that all country songs are about losing a wife, a dog or a truck — Principal Architect Luke Huckaba says that’s an unfair assessment, especially when it comes to something more affectionately termed “Red Dirt” country.
“A lot of people think of country music as down and kind of dragging you down, but I don’t feel that way. It really uplifts me and brings me joy,” Luke said.
Red Dirt is a good way to distinguish Texas and Oklahoma country music from its Nashville counterpart. Its origins can be traced back to the outlaw country movement started by Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson as they eschewed the more scripted sound coming out of Tennessee. This has given way to a new breed of artists that have a similar aesthetic.
“When I’m coding and writing some scripts, it gets me in the mood and really gets me running,” Luke told us. “The next thing you know, I’m going to town on some code and I’ve written scripts that are hundreds of lines without even realizing it because I have this music going.”
Luke often spins this brand of country on his internal radio show called “Dirt Road,” which airs on our Rackspace radio station, K-Rack. During his set, you’ll often hear bands such as the Josh Abbot Band (“that pickin’ sound gets me going”), JB and the Moonshine Band and even a local band made up of Rackers called the Jeff Jacobs Band.
When Luke first started at Rackspace, he was initially in the disaster recovery realm, and was a champion for the VMware Site Recovery Manager and designed disaster recovery solutions for customers. But as software defined networking, such as VMware NSX, and software storage, such as VMware vSAN, became prevalent, Luke dove into those technologies. After success in both of those positions, Luke became a principal architect as a member of our Technical Career Track.
“I was on the infrastructure side of managing our VMware footprint,” Luke said. “Now I work a lot closer with our product team and our engineers to design what we sell to customers, as well as working with customers to design a solution that meets their needs.”
Luke’s passion for VMware also extends beyond the walls of Rackspace. He’s a leader for the San Antonio VMUG group, and he is an active participant there and in the VMware community at large, where he shares some of the best practices he has learned at Rackspace. Luke’s passion for technology, his peers and customers is as authentic as that brand of country he enjoys listening to while working on problems.
“I’m here working with big name people from VMware, with folks on my team in our VMware practice at Rackspace and I’m just on the top of the world,” Luke said. “I’m on top of the world, this is just awesome. It just can’t get ‘No Better Than This,’ so the song [by JB and the Moonshine Band] just fits perfectly with that.”
Luke’s liner notes
We end each of these profiles with some musical questions so you can get to know the Rackers a little bit better — here are Luke’s answers and his specialized playlist:
Over the ear headphones or ear buds? Over the ear.
Spotify, Google Play or Pandora? Google Play Music.
Beatles or Rolling Stones? Uhhhhh…Stones.
Johnny or Waylon? Oh man! BOTH!
Biggie or Tupac? Tupac all the way.
Miles or Louis? Ah man! Miles.
Best concert you’ve ever attended? It was just two guys and their guitars, Wade Bowen and Randy Rogers [and the tour was] called “Hold my beer, watch this”
Song that’s stuck in your head? Telephone Rodeo by Jason Boland.
Stay tuned for our next Music Behind the Tech profile and visit Rackspace to find out more about our experts and the ways they’re helping customers tackle their toughest IT challenges. And whether you like smooth jazz or hard rock, if you’re looking to start your own career at Rackspace, be sure to apply online today.