As the year comes to a close, I often like to work on my to-do list for the upcoming year. My list will contain a long list of things that I want to learn, work with, or do. Today I'll share some of what's on my list – particularly what I think will be of interest to others in the virtualization world.
Some of these items are a must, while others are things that I want to learn and will try and find the time for them. Usually time is my biggest obstacle (as I'm sure it is for others), but by setting some goals, I hope to complete them.
1. Learn Basic Coding Skills
Second things... first? In order to accomplish the second item on my list (automation and orchestration), first I should learn some basic programing fundamentals. I'm not looking to learn how to write an entire application, nor am I planning on writing the next highly addictive mobile game. What I do need to be able to do is understand how variables, classes, and other such items are used. This will help me write my own scripts and be better prepared to learn some of the automation tools.
I have not yet decided which language I will pick – perhaps Java or something C based. I will do some research and talk with others to see which might be the best fit for my goals.
2. Learn More About Automation and Orchestration
In this category there are a number of items that I would like to learn in 2014. Here are the top three.
VMware vCenter Orchestrator – I have worked with VMware vCenter Orchestrator in the past, but I haven't had much time to master it. I have a number of workflows that have been bouncing around in my head for a while now, and I've always wanted to see them come to life. I would like to learn more about the Orchestrator tool, create these workflows, and test them.
Microsoft System Center 2012 Orchestrator – I have not had much time in 2013 to dig into this topic. I really want to learn more about MS Orchestrator to find out about its capabilities. (Editor's note: If you'd like to know more, check out our overview of Microsoft System Center 2012 Orchestrator.) I think there are options to utilize the product with Hyper-V installs and in VMware designs. I would like to learn how the tool might be used to automate things at the Windows OS and application levels, which might be easier to accomplish rather than using tools from the open-source and Linux communities.
Puppet Labs – Last up on my list would be to learn more about what Puppet can do and how to best utilize it. After that I will want to start using it at a basic level and then work on increasing my knowledge. Since I work in the VMware and Windows spaces most of the time, I tend to not have a lot of time to improve my Linux-related skills. This is something that's been on my list for a while now, so I hope to fix that and learn more in 2014.
3. Learn Another Hypervisor
While VMware continues to dominate in most market segments, I think it would be silly to ignore other options. I have picked out two that are the next best options after VMware – and that might be even better options in some cases based on requirements and constraints for the customer.
Hyper-V – The option of using Microsoft Hyper-V is starting to get discussed a little more, but I still rarely see it implemented in any size within my enterprise customers. But I'm sure its only a matter of time until it creeps into more data centers; to be ready for that, I would like to increase my knowledge from junior to expert level. Over 2014 and maybe part of 2015 I'd like to bring my Hyper-V skills up to my VMware levels in order to better server my customers.
Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM) – Unlike Hyper-V, I think that KVM is a bit more specialized and is an option for a smaller sub-set of my customers. There may be some customers for whom this is the leading option, but to be prepared this will be my third hypervisor option. I am intrigued by what KVM might be able to offer for some virtual designs.
Got some other ideas in mind? What are your IT goals for 2014? Please share them in the comments!