As an IT administrator - be it a network engineer, a system administrator, or a "master of the entire IT universe" - there are probably some things that you wish you'd made time for way back in 2010. So, to kickoff 2011 with a bang I've put together a Top 10 New Year's Resolutions for IT Geeks...
#10 - Move to SNMPv3. If you're still running SNMPv2C or, dare I say, SNMPv1, it's time to make the change. SNMPv3 offers several key advantages, especially in the area of security, and it's high time to start taking advantage of it. Even if you have some gear that doesn't natively support SNMPv3, like Windows Servers for instance, in most cases there are third-party agents available to gain compatibility.
#9 - Deploy a pure IPv6 subnet, somewhere... Yes, the edge devices will have to be dual-stack, running a hybrid of IPv4 and IPv6 but don't wimp out on the devices within the subnet. Go pure IPv6 and start getting some experience with the issues that this will cause you and start ingraining the IPv6 nomenclatures into your everyday thinking.
#8 - Upgrade to Exchange 2010. There are loads of advantages to upgrading to Exchange 2010, some of which are highlighted here and if you're like most companies e-mail is the most visible service that you provide to your users so you want to make sure that it's a priority.
#7 - Put something in the public cloud. Even if it's a little bitty something - put something there and get some real world experience in dealing with it. It'll come in handy the next time your CIO approaches you on the subject.
#6 - Get certified. Whether you're focused on the Microsoft apps, Java, VMWare, Cisco, or SolarWinds - set yourself a goal of achieving at least 2 new certifications in 2011. My picks? VMWare and SolarWinds.
#5 - Set aside more time for planning. As engineers, many of us would rather "do" than "plan". There are some big things going on in the industry - cloud computing, data center consolidation, virtualization, WAN technology migrations, Microsoft technology updates - whatever your focus, a bit of planning will go a long way towards ensuring that you have a successful 2011.
#4 - Update all of your maps and diagrams (or create them if you don't have any). I can't think of a single situation - whether you manage the network, the servers, an application, the SANs, the virtualization infrastructure, the data center or even security - where this isn't something you should be focused on. Time you spend here will pay you back exponentially. Trust someone who's been there...
#3 - Do an audit and find places to give back to your budget. There are lots of places that you can recover budget dollars from your IT infrastructure. For network engineers, audit your WAN connections for performance and availability against your carrier Service Level Agreements (SLAs). If you're a SAN administrator, storage admin, or VMWare administrator audit your storage devices to look for duplicate files, orphaned VMDKs, and unnecessary snapshots. If you're a systems administrator, look for systems that can be virtualized. Then, be sure you can report on the savings in a way that your boss will understand.
#2 - Give something back. As a technologist in a world where technology is changing our lives every day there are a multitude of paths available to give back to your community and it's my opinion that we have a responsibility to do so. Did you know that the Salvation Army takes donated PCs and laptops and refurbishes them for the needy? I bet that there is a church or school in your neighborhood that would jump at the chance to get a few hours of your time to pull from the depths of your expertise. You never know, ask your boss and you may even be able to do some of this during work time...
#1 - Find a mentor. I can't tell you how important it is to find a mentor to help you in your professional and technical growth. I've always had at least a couple of mentors and I'm fortunate enough to also provide mentoring to several people within the industry. This item is #1 on my list for a reason - just do it and you can thank me later.
Make any New Year's Resolutions yourself? Post them as a comment here so that we can all benefit from your creativity and wisdom.
Happy New Year and Flame on...
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