Michael Craffey’s Audience Learned From His Lessons (and Mistakes) During His COExperience 2023 Presentation

At COExperience 2023, Michael Craffey’s presentation, “Setting Up 3DEXPERIENCE Environments: Things I’ve Learned,” was met with much success and positive feedback. With his 10+ years of experience preparing, setting up, deploying and maintaining 3DEXPERIENCE environments, Craffey wanted to share with his audience the lessons (and mistakes) he’s encountered from working with many different clients in both simple and challenging situations.

In his session, he provided insight about proxy and load balancing, SSL certificates and browsers, vertical vs. horizontal scaling and more. He also dove into more specific topics, such as what challenges are involved in standing up 3DEXPERIENCE on Azure’s Government Cloud infrastructure, and what you should think about when deciding to deploy in your data center if your data center is on AWS, Azure or a Co-Lo.

We spoke with Craffey about the positive experience he had at the conference, and he took us on a deeper dive into his career and his involvement with COE. “I’ve been attending COE and COExperience for over 15 years. The past two COExperience conferences have been some of the best conferences I’ve attended, both in content, quality of people and companies in attendance. I learned quite a bit and was able to meet and talk with many interesting people,” Craffey says. Although he has spoken at nearly every COE conference he’s attended, he was happy to accept another invitation to present and help educate others in the industry. “I like to share my experiences and ideas. There is a void of good knowledge and practical experience around the platform,” he says.

Much of Craffey’s knowledge about Dassault products and interest in 3DEXPERIENCE comes from his work at his current company, Razorleaf, a systems integrator that specializes in PLM and other technologies. “We have a long history of implementing and supporting Dassault products. It was a natural progression to move from SmarTeam services to ENOVIA and now to 3DEXPERIENCE services,” he says. Craffey also gained a lot of experience through his engineering background and his appreciation for a challenge. “I’m a recovering mechanical engineer, so I like dealing with technical problems,” he says. “Installing and configuring 3DEXPERIENCE Platform environments was a nice challenge for me. It allowed me to stay locked in and interested by having to support different server OS (like Windows and Linux) and multiple infrastructure models like virtual machines and cloud computing such as AWS and Azure.”

Since public speaking is a common challenge for a lot of folks, Craffey encourages others to present at COE and offers his own support to those wanting to lead sessions. “There is plenty of room for speakers to share ideas and experiences with others at COExperience. Sharing a success, a technical how-to or a particular lesson learned can help so many others who have questions or are stuck on how to proceed due to lack of knowledge or experience. During my presentations I openly invite others to become speakers and offer to co-present with them. Public speaking can be a challenge for many people.”

Along with always presenting yourself with new challenges, Craffey recommends being willing to study and learn new things outside of your normal eight to five responsibilities. This pursuit of knowledge was critical to his career path, and he confessed to sometimes rising early in order to spend as much time as possible gaining new skills. “I think it’s a trait that helps a lot with success,” he says. “I tell my wife when I’m up at 5:00 a.m. on a Saturday that ‘I’m working on a science project,’ and she knows it’s some new work thing I’m trying to learn.

Lastly, Craffey encourages people to stay curious in order to stay on a path to success in their life and career. “Curiosity is a critical personal characteristic that I think is necessary to be successful. If you’re curious, you’ll ask questions that help whoever is answering provide responses with a realistic context. Being curious (as Ted Lasso says) is useful in any position. It will lead to a genuine understanding of a problem.”

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