2011 was a busy year for me. I set myself some rather modest goals exactly one year ago as a way to keep my priorities focused for the coming 365 days. How’d I do?
2. Upgrade to VCP4: Funny thing. VMware went and released VMware 5 before I could get my VCP upgraded. So I skipped straight over 4 and went right to 5. I even got to go to class..
3. Go for CCIE: Voice: Ha! Yeah, I was starting to have my doubts when I put that one down on the list. Thankfully, I cleared my R&S lab. However, the thought of a second track is starting to sound compelling…
4. Wikify my documentation: Missed the mark on this one. Spent way to much time doing things and not enough time writing them all down. I’ll carry this one over for 2012.
5. Spend More Time Teaching: Never got around to this one. Seems my time was otherwise occupied for the majority of the year.
Forty percent isn’t bad, right? Instead, I found myself spending time becoming a regular guest on the Packet Pushers podcast and attending three Tech Field Day Events: Tech Field Day 5, Wireless Field Day 1, and Network Field Day 2. I’ve gotten to meet a lot of great people from social media and made a lot of new friends. I even managed to keep making blog posts the whole year. That, in and of itself, is an accomplishment.
What now? I try to put a couple of things out there as a way to hold myself to the fire and be accountable for my aspirations. That way, I can look back in 2013 and hopefully hit at least 50% next time. Looking forward to the next 366 days (356 if the Mayans were right):
1. Juniper – I think it’s time to broaden my horizons. I’ve talked to the Juniper folks quite a bit in 2011. They’ve given me a great overview of how their technology works and there is some great potential in it. Juniper isn’t something I run into every day, but I think it would be in my best interest to start learning how to get around in the curly CLI. After all, if they can convert Ivan, they must really have some good stuff.
2. Data Center – Another growth area that I feel I have a lot of catching up to do is in the data center. I feel comfortable working on NX-OS somewhat, but the lack of time I get to configure it every day makes the rust a little thick some times. If it wasn’t for guys like Tony Mattke and Jeff Fry, I’d have a lot more catching up to do. When you look at how UCS is being positioned by Cisco and where Juniper wants to take QFabric, I think I need to spend some time picking up more data center technology. Just in case I find myself stranded in there for an extended period of time. Can’t have this turning into the Lord of the CLIs.
3. Advanced Virtualization – Since I finally upgraded my VCP to version 5, I can start looking at some of the more advanced certifications that didn’t exist back when I was a VCP3. Namely the VCAP. I’m a design junkie, so the DCD track would be a great way for me to add some of the above data center skills while picking up some best practices. The DCA troubleshooting training would be ideal for my current role, since anything beyond a simple check of vCenter is all I can muster in the troubleshooting arena. I’d rather spend some time learning how the ESXi CLI works than fighting with a mouse to admin my virtual infrastructure.
4. Head to The Cloud – No, not quite what you’re thinking. I suffered an SSD failure this year and if it hadn’t been for me having two hard drives in my laptop, I’d probably have lost a good portion of my files as well. I keep a lot of notes on my laptop and not all of them are saved elsewhere. Last year I tried to wikify everything and failed miserably. This year I think I’m going to take some baby steps and get my important documents and notes saved elsewhere and off my local drives. I’m looking to replace my OneNote archive with Evernote and keep my important documents in Google Docs as opposed to local Microsoft Word. By keeping my important documents in the cloud, I don’t have to sweat the next drive death quite as much.
The free time that I seem to have acquired now that I’ve conquered the lab seems to have been filled with a whole lot of nothing. In this industry, you can’t sit still for very long or you’ll find yourself getting passed by almost everyone and everything. I need to sharpen my focus back to these things to keep moving forward and spend less time sitting on my laurels. I hope to spend even more time debating technology with the Packet Pushers and engaging with vendors at Tech Field Day. Given how amazing and humbling 2011 was, I can’t wait to see what 2012 has in store for me.