Scott's Weblog The weblog of an IT pro specializing in networking, virtualization, and cloud computing

Looking Back: 2012 Project Report Card

About a year ago, I posted a look at my planned projects for 2012. Now, a year later, it’s time to review my progress (or lack thereof) and measure myself on how well I did (or didn’t) do on those projects.

First, let’s review the original project list:

  1. Learn to script in Perl.

  2. Learn to speak German.

  3. Become more familiar with Xen (and Open vSwitch and OpenStack).

  4. Pursue CCNP.

In my late June mid-year project update, I dropped the Perl scripting project simply because I had no practical applications driving the use of Perl. So, with that in mind, how did I do?

  1. Learn to speak German: Although I won’t say that I’ve actually learned to speak German, I have made some progress here. It’s not nearly the progress that I wanted to make, though—I wanted to be much farther along than I am. Grade: D

  2. Become more familiar with Xen, OVS, OpenStack: In retrospect, this project was overly broad, and therefore has mixed results. I ended up ditching Xen in favor of KVM, and made decent progress on that front. My work with Open vSwitch (OVS) was pretty good, probably the best out of the group. I still have quite a way to go with OpenStack, but I feel that time spent with KVM, OVS, and Libvirt helped build solid fundamentals for future progress. Grade: B

  3. Pursue CCNP: As I mentioned in the mid-year update, my goal was never to actually achieve CCNP this year, but simply to make progress. Regardless, my progress was abysmal. Grade: F

  4. Learn to work with Puppet: Not on my original project list, this is something that I nevertheless spent a fair amount of time pursuing. I’m not an expert (not anywhere close), but I feel like I did make reasonable progress. Grade: C

In summary: not very good!

So, what can I learn from these results?

  • First, the synergy of the projects really does make a difference. As readers noted in the comments on my original 2012 projects list, my choice of projects wasn’t synergistic, and this hampered efforts. Key takeaway: listen more closely to the advice of others!

  • Projects need to be more tightly defined. The “learn Xen, OVS, OpenStack” project was simply too broad, and encompassed too many different components. As a result, progress was mixed.

  • There are still some fundamental building blocks that I personally need to shore up. For example, my work with KVM, OVS, Libvirt, and Puppet exposed some gaps in my base Linux knowledge, and this is reflected in my progress.

In a (near-)future post, I’ll incorporate the progress on my 2012 projects and the key takeaways into my list of 2013 projects. Until then, I welcome any feedback or thoughts in the comments below.

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