Reflections on 2020 and goals for 2021

As 2020 was finishing, I looked back at my initial New Year resolutions:

Obviously, my first two ‘eco-conscious’ resolutions became quickly irrelevant as COVID disrupted our lives, grounded flights and lockdowns prevented us to drive anywhere. Anyway, I did switch to an electric vehicle (I’d highly recommend it if you can handle the restrictions that come with it) and my last and only corporate flight was back in February.

As for the third one (working “smarter” with fewer distractions), even with 3 kids stuck at home for most of the year, I managed to get some good coding done and a ton of blog posts (on top of my day job).

Let’s look back at my 2020 through the lens of blogging:

2020 in Blogging

Let me first thank the 26,195 visitors and their combined 45,073 views across the blog.

The visitors watched over 6,500 videos on the blog posts – I will try to keep recording mini demos and videos with each post. It’s time-consuming but I think it helps people understand the concepts explained in the blog posts.

Blogging has been a personal highlight for me this year (34 posts published!) and it has led me to work on some interesting projects and meet some very smart folks.

I only wish I had started blogging earlier in my career!

The top 10 blog posts this year have been the following:

  1. How to monitor Air Quality with a Raspberry Pi
  2. ESXi on Raspberry Pi – Tutorial
  3. AWS Client VPN Tutorial
  4. Being a Black Man
  5. AWS Direct Connect – Deep Dive and Integration with VMware Cloud on AWS
  6. Introducing the HashiCorp Terraform Provider for VMware Cloud on AWS
  7. HashiCorp Terraform for vSphere – update for TF 0.12 and later
  8. Networking on VMC on AWS – Internal Networking
  9. Introducing HashiCorp Terraform Provider for NSX-T Policy Manager and VMware Cloud on AWS
  10. AWS Transit VPC (Part 2) – with Palo Alto Networks and VMware Cloud on AWS

What do these statistics tell me?

People love Raspberry Pis

Raspberry Pis are amazing! Cheap, easy to set up and just fun to show your kids a micro-computer.

One of the reason the Air Quality post became popular? When the wildfires sadly started in the US this summer, I saw an huge increase of traffic from folks who obviously wanted to check the air pollution outside their home. This was the original ideal behind the project (a collaboration with the non-profit organization British Heart Foundation).

And the release of ESXi on ARM opens up so many opportunities. I hope I get more chances to write about it this year.

AWS Networking is complex

Posts 3), 5) and 10) were widely viewed and shared because they try to demystify complex AWS networking concepts. What I found interesting is that the AWS Client VPN tutorial was a post that didn’t get that much interest for the first few months… until COVID hit and businesses across the world scrambled to provide remote access.

See the jump from February to March?

Interest in VMware Cloud on AWS is constantly growing

VMC on AWS may have been available for over 3 years now – I think it’s the first year where the industry analysts are realising the scale of its success. The fact we now have ‘similar’ solutions for Azure, Google, Oracle should be enough of an indicator that running a VMware infrastructure on bare-metal cloud infrastructure is something many enterprise customers really like.

Automation

I have published a lot of content on Terraform and automation and I’ve really noticed that many of my peers and colleagues have started to embrace automation. When I pitched the idea of running an internal coding program, I got a ton of interest (it’s a project for 2021).

Personally, I have really built up my Python and Terraform skills over the past couple of years.

No, I will never be a full-time programmer but I can contribute code that moves the needle for customers and partners. I have started to read up on Go as I see it used with Terraform and Kubernetes and I have a couple of pet projects that require some Go knowledge.

I’m now at the point where I want to go beyond just consuming Terraform, I want to build and contribute to the development of providers.

I published my first Python-based Fling and I am involved in an additional three Flings to be published in the coming weeks and months – watch this space. The Flings actually leverage Go, Python, Terraform and Ansible under the hood.

#BLM

The “Being a Black Man” post was a very personal and difficult post for me to write but one I’m very glad I wrote. It has led me to become much more involved with the Black Tech community. I hope to become a role model for Black folks in our industry (there are not enough of us).

What’s coming for 2021 on the blogging front ?

I have already a lot of blog posts written and ready for publishing and lots of idea – I just don’t have enough time!

I’d like to cross the 50,000 annual views for 2021 but I prefer to focus on quality blog posts and I suspect the views will come organically.

I will continue to focus on automation and coding (vRealize Automation, Terraform, Python and Go).

I will look into emerging technologies like Crossplane – I like the idea of leveraging Kubernetes APIs to build infrastructure. My last post of 2020 was on this topic – read about it here.

I have already lots of content on multi-cloud and especially around multi-cloud networking – expect some blog posts to be published this spring.

I won’t just write technical posts though: I will write about diversity and inclusion in Tech and I have started writing a series of blog posts on achieving the Principal promotion (while 2020 sucked, getting promoted to Field Principal was a personal highlight).

Thanks for reading and have a great 2021 !

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