Forward Looking Statements: 2021 Edition

by Christian Mohn · Read in about 7 min (1469 words)

Photo by Kyndall Ramirez

Photo by Kyndall Ramirez (Unsplash)

Misleading title, I know, especially considering most of this post is actually looking back at 2020.

It has been a few years since I did one of these posts, and with the havoc of 2020 close to be firmly in the rearview mirror. The year that is, I am under no illusion that 2020 is indeed just hindsight, but why not try to pick it up again?

Since I didn’t post a list of goals for 2020, it’s hard to review it item by item, but it’s safe to say that 2020 has been one hell of a year. A lot of people have been much more adversely affected by the whole COVID-19 pandemic than I have, but being confined to the Home Office of Isolation™ since March has taken it’s toll, at least mentally.

I’m lucky enough to have my own dedicated office, grown kids that doesn’t need home schooling and an employer who facilitates, and embraces, remote work. I know everyone else doesn’t have that luxury, given their role, but for those of us who has, it is a blessing.

2020 has also shown us who the real heroes are, the front line workers who can’t do their job from a comfortable and safe home office. Health care workers, teachers, public transport, shop workers and others who provide crucial services. On behalf of us lucky ones, thank you for being there. Thank you for caring, and thank you for making it possible for the rest of us to continue working.

Hopefully 2021 will be better, at least eventually, as the vaccines become available, and we can start to slowly return to a new kind of normal.

2020 has proven one thing though, and that is that working from home works, for those who have jobs that allow it. The last year has also opened a few customers eyes to the opportunities provided by remote work, and I anticipate that my own travel requirements will be reduced considerably in the future, as a direct result of 2020 being the very definition of annus horribilis.

Naturally events like VMworld was an online-only event this year, and I suspect that will be the case at least in 2021 as well—if not even longer. Who in their right minds wants the liability of gathering 10-20k people in a single location in 2021? Doing these kinds of events online simply isn’t the same, in any way, and that is pretty sad. The same goes for VMUG events, even if we did have a great Nordic online event in 2020. I think this is what I’ve missed most this year, the physical conference experience. Well, that an actually being able to attend private events, like concerts and the like. Oh my, I miss concerts.

In the mean time; Wear a damn mask and socially distance, won’t you?

All things considered, 2020 has probably been one of my busiest years to date. I moved into a new role as Chief Technnologist SDDC last April, which basically translates to Lead Architect on any SDDC project we come across, as well as having the Technical Lead role for our team of SDDC consultants. This also means that I’m involed much earlier in projects than before, and often as a lead in customer engagements. It’s very been interesting, as it’s a move away from being a pure architect/consultant, to a more pre-sales and high level resource, in what is essentially the Office of the CTO. I have to say, I do enjoy the change!

For us, 2020 has been and incredible year with some really exciting projects with some high profile clients. This is especially true with regards to VMware Cloud Foundation which seems to be gaining som real traction here in Norway. In short, we’re nearing capacity on the consultants we have available, and we need to grow the team in 2021.

As far as vNinja.net goes, 2020 has been a mixed bag. On the plus side, the site turned 10 years in 2020, and this is the 26th post of the year. Not too shabby on the content side, really. I’m surprised the post count is that high. On the negative side, I have ignored the look and feel of the site for quite some time, mostly due to my lack of inspiration (I have done a lot of work on the back end of things though they are not really visible), but I’ll try to redesign at least parts of it in 2021.

2020 was the year I contributed to a book again, writing one of the chapters in IT Architect Series: Stories from the Field, Vol. 1, as well as contributing as an editor for a number of the other chapters in the book.

Photo by Kyndall Ramirez

Photo by Markus Winkler (Unsplash)

For a forward looking post, that’s more than enough retrospection, lets look forward instead as I think we all need to do that right about now. Here is my attempt at setting some goals for 2021, if the world doesn’t completely implode that is.

Forward Looking Statements: 2021 Edition #

Professional Goals #

  • Continue to grow the Proact SDDC practice in Norway — The past four years has been fun, and there is no reason why that shouldn’t continue into 2021. As mentioned above, we’re in need of more resources in the SDDC Team, and growing the team will be one of my main priorities in 2021.

  • Tanzu / Kubernetes — Some might say I’m a bit behind the curve on this, but I feel like we’re at a tipping point right now where all existing vAdmins and vArchitects needs to take this new world seriously. As an architect I need to educate myself on how this affects the designs we’re creating for customers. This naturally ties into the adoptation we’re seeing with VMware Cloud Foundation as well.

  • Upgrade Home Lab — I have been without a proper home lab for a couple of years now, and since we have a rather beefy lab at work, it hasn’t been that much of a problem. However, new requirements pop up from time to time, and it would be nice to have a small lab at home to do quick lab work in. I have a few specific projects in mind, that my old one-node Dell Workstation simply doesn’t have the resources to do, hopefully I can get this sorted early in 2021, and start developing my evil plans. Naturally, this ties in with the item above regarding Tanzu / Kubernetes.

  • Redesign vNinja.net — Not sure if this should be in the Professional, or Personal list, but the site needs some TLC and design updates as it’s mostly stayed unchanged since I swiched to Hugo in 2018.

Certifications #

Since I work for a VMware partner, there are some requirements that we need to fill, and some of those naturally end up on my desk.

Personal Goals #

  • Guitar — Learn to play some guitar. Note, not master, but being able to play some. Perhaps even a whole song?! This has been on my unofficial goal list for years and years, but for some reason you don’t really get good at something without actually practicing. Who knew?

  • Photography — Get back into the groove of taking photos, regularly. I’ve been slacking on this for way to long, and I don’t really know why. This was also on my list for 2017, so it’s not new. I have enough equipment to start my own portrait studio (Studio strobes, remote triggers, softboxes, reflectors etc.) should I want to, so I better make use of it in 2021.

  • Home Assistant — I want to utilize Home Assistant even more than I do now. I have a pretty well working setup as is, tying a bunch of different stuff together, but there is a lot of untapped potential there that I look forward to looking into. Integrating Node-RED seems to be a natural way to go.

There it is, my personal recap of the hell that has been 2020, and my goals for 2021. The goals might not be the most ambitious of all time, but then again who knows what curveballs 2021 will throw us. At least it’s somewhat achievable at least, and that has to be a good starting point.

If 2020 has learnt us anything, it’s that anything can happen. At any time.

Photo by Kelly Sikkema

Photo by Kelly Sikkema (Unsplash)

Lets all hope for a better future, starting now.

Post last updated on December 8, 2020: Fix another small typo.

About the author

Christian Mohn works as a Chief Technologist SDDC for Proact in Norway.

See his About page for more details, or find him on Twitter.

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