New Year, New Focus

2016 has been a busy year. Both career and family have demanded a ton of my time leaving very little for myself, this blog and social media. The CCIE took a huge toll on my family, and they deserved me back for at least a couple months!

2016 was the first year in my career I was free from the rat race of certification/education and more recently the CCIE. My intent for the year was to focus my time and efforts on new and emerging technologies in the data center space. I started my current blog series Current Trend in DC Networking way too long ago and have slowly been moving my way through as a way to dig into these technologies. I have not given this series the time it deserves, but I plan to pick up the pace moving forward..

This coming year, I plan to spending more time in the lab, blogging and social media in general.

About 4-5 months ago, my work responsibilities shifted to a completely new focus. My boss dedicated my time to building out an automation and monitoring tool that will help our team simplify and improve our day to day operations and the complexities that come with large data center networks.

As some would say, I’m full on NetDevOps now (Buzzword, shudder...). I like to say I’m a network guy hacking away and duct-taping various tools together to build an application. Either way, I’m loving every second of this shift and honestly don’t want to go back to traditional network operations and management. Yes, I drank the Kool-Aid, and its great!

Of course I have some serious hurdles to overcome if I want to mix in a developer skillset into my experience. I have a solid base understanding of most of the tools I’m exposed to and have worked deeply with most major monitoring tools, so I have a starting point. My Python, Ansible, server administration, and general development skills need more improvement but they are rapidly expanding from what I have picked up over my career. With this project I am also facing new challenges like web frameworks and HTML/CSS which surprisingly are quite fun to work with. Well maybe not HTML. Unlike route/switch, these things actually engage my creative side and that is refreshing.

I’m still very much interested in cloud, containers, and NFV/SDN and will continue to venture down those paths researching and learning them with a networking focus. The nice thing is, my automation project is a perfect fit for containers, so I’m working on building it up within Docker and Kubernetes. Hopefully I will be able to share some of what I am working on if anyone is interested.

With all that going on, I have also decided to start up a professional IT user group in my area to bring likeminded individuals together. The main focus of the group will be breaking down IT silos and will include professionals from any and all walks of IT. My goal is to help expose group members to areas of IT they would normally not look into and hopefully help the group better understand what other areas of IT are dealing with. I’m passionate about this one and have been wanting a solid user group in Amarillo since I moved back. I cannot wait to get this group moving!

With all that said, I see 2017 as a transition and re-tooling year for me. I’m excited and nervous at the same time. I'm not totally sure what Im getting myself into, but its time to step back out of my comfort zone and pick up a new set of skills.

No matter how all this shakes out, 2017 is going to be an interesting year!

I appreciate everyone who follows my blog and twitter ramblings, and I hope to keep this stuff going!

Happy New Year and best wishes in 2017!!

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