An Idea… #GiveBack

In November of 2018, after VMworld and a couple discussions, I decided to start a blog. It was not focused on trying to get my name out there (though that is a side effect), but to try to put Goals out publicly so that others could hold me to the needed deadlines. Things, however, do not always end up as originally planned. Here are the goals I set for 2019 as a reminder/example:

Current plans are:

  1. Start a home lab
  2. Get vMug advantage (for licensing)
  3. Work on Automation training dealing with Configuration management languages (puppet, chef, ansible, and salt(mebbe))
  4. Work on different Iaas solutions
  5. Deal with this ‘Infrastructure As Code’ thing
  6. Get in shape (yeah right).

So my 2019 dance card looks full. Should be an interesting year. 

Since I believe in goal setting, and holding myself to things, I think I’ll show what goals were achieved, what made a difference and what I’m learning from this practice.

Goals Achieved!

I’m a good news before bad news kinda guy. It just gives me a little extra fuel in the tank to push on. So goals 1, and 2 were achieved! Thanks to William Lam’s group buy earlier this year I was able to get 3 supermicro servers that are currently housing my lab. These three nodes helped me learn bits of  VSAN, networking (which I still don’t know a lot of), and basic management of the whole cluster (which has always been segmented for me).

When it comes to a home lab, there are a lot of things to consider. Obviously having a chunk of change to pass by the spouse’s ‘ok’ is extremely difficult. Sometimes it may be much easier to pass a monthly (or yearly) subscription to the public cloud instead of a private one. Well, for me I really wanted to develop private cloud engineering and automation so I decided to go that route and lay down the cash for a setup. This included a home wifi upgrade to Ubiquity and networking solutions from their blogs.

As for the VMUG advantage, I was extremely fortunate to be admitted into the vexpert program allowing me to be a part of the community, as well as being able to aquire licenses for my whole home lab. Right now I have a whole vRealize suite (7.6, and 8.0) setup in my lab and I’m learning the ins and outs of setup and management. Also, VSAN is setup and just started the deployment of all the NSX-T devices. A lot of opportunity there, and I am very hopeful that I will be approved to be a part of such a great group next year.

Goals In Progress!

So now we get to those pesky goals that I wasn’t able to get to, or perhaps were postponed/put on hold.

Work on Automation Configuration Management Tools:

Although I did setup an Ansible solution and play around with some playbooks, I wouldn’t say that I was able to get a full blown solution viable. Instead of working on these 3rd party tools for configuration management, I focused on build in solutions. So instead of Chef, or Salt, (etc.) I used Powershell, Bash, GPOs, and such for configuration. This helped me grow my grassroots solutions for customers without trying to learn a whole new solution or language. I still want to learn more in this space and I’ll be more specific on my goals this next year.

Work on different IaaS Solutions(and IaC)

Well to say I’ve done this would be correct, but there is a problem with this goal because it’s not very specific. I’ve learned Terraform, and some Cloud Formations, and ARM solutions, so there is a lot that I’ve learned, but it’s not really, “GOAL COMPLETED” as the goal itself doesn’t set a finishing line. For Infrastructure as Code, Terraform has fit the bill, but its only one product. I’m going to create more specific Goals for myself this year, and hopefully, they are more easy distinguished between “completed” or “Not-Complete”.

Get in Shape:

Put off….

Goals for 2020:

Lessons learned from 2019:

  1. Goals need to have a set finish line.
  2. Vague goals equal less growth.
  3. Set Goals that are achievable. (i.e. you can’t learn everything in a year)

These ‘goals’ are all things that we all state, but it just needed to hit home for me. So basically, when I said I wanted to learn infrastructure as code, I realized that what I intended to learn was Terraform, but because the goal was set wrong, it cannot be completed. So, with that in mind I’m going to try something different for goals. This may end up being a lot easier, but should at least allow me to say, “I did it” at the end of 2020.

  1. Learn and be operational with vRealize Automation 8
  2. Learn and be operational with vRealize Operations 8
  3. Create an Ansible solution, and utilize playbooks for configuration management after deployments in vRA 7.6
  4. Kubernetes Solutions
    1. Create Endpoint solutions, and make a PKS solution
    2. Go through the “Learning Kubernetes the hard way”, on Git
    3. Create a Kubernetes cluster in rasberry pis, and figure out how to create and deploy images to it
    4. Create AKS, GKE, and EKS for kuberenetes solutions in the public cloud
  5. Learn Terraform for Private cloud, and Public cloud in AWS, Azure, and GCP
  6. Learn Pulumi for the Private cloud, and Public cloud in AWS, Azure, and GCP
  7. Obtain my VCP in CMA
  8. Obtain my AWS Architect Certificate
  9. Target weight at the end of 2020, is 170.

So, this year I at least has finish lines, but we will see if I can deliver by the end of the year.

Giving Back

I wouldn’t say that 2019 was a bad year. Far from it. With the beginning of this blog, twitter handle, vExpert, lab, etc. I’ve really started getting my name out there. It’s funny that some people think I’ve been doing this for a while, and I really have not. I’m just a guy who loves people, wants to help, and is doing his best to give back. That’s something that matters to this community, and means a lot to me. Something I’ll echo from Ariel Sanchez, “Give back.” It’s the biggest part of the vExpert application. Show you’ve given back. The biggest deterrent to giving back, is the misunderstanding that what we write has already been written. Although the material might be out there already, remember, only YOU have the perspective from which YOU are writing, This is key to giving back, because at the end of the day the solution you are writing about isn’t about the steps, or the infrastructure, or the code. Its about YOU. I can’t tell how many times I’ve read Jad’s blog, only to find that vHobbit said it better, or, It Hollow didn’t put something in ‘just the right way for me’, as another blog. None of them put it wrong. Just some of them put it in a way where it was easier for me to understand. For this reason I put the charge on myself, to never judge my success or failure by the success and failure of others. If I learn something, I can put my voice out there to explain it as well, and there is a good chance that others can learn through me, you, anyone, even if people out there who are more established have written something on it.



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