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Summing up 2016

While there's pribably only a handful of people that may be interested in what I have to say about my personal and professional life, I believe it may be beneficial to me to have last year summed up.

Last year, 2015, I left Nexenta for personal reasons and took a DevOps position at a local branch of software company. This March however I have had a good frortune of hearing about Canonical looking for technical support engineers. Seeing as they have made ZFS a default FS for LXD, I have hoped my ZFS expertise would count in plus for me. It did and currently I am a Technical Suport Engineer in Cloud division at Canonical.

I have come to see that many people only know Canonical for sponsoring Ubuntu distribution. The truth is however, that the company makes and sells plethora of cloud related tools, with the cloud orchestration tool juju and baremetal and VM provisioning tool MAAS as some coolest examples.

Many interesting things are currently happening in Linux now. I still believe observability tools are much better in illumos and all systems that borrow it, reading up last entried on Brendan Gregg's Blog proof that Linux is catching up. Capabilities of the eBPF framework seem to be almost on par with DTrace now, the ease of use is subpar now, however.

Changes back in 2015 and in 2016 turned out to be very good for me, my family life and professional growth. Hours that I have been putting in Nexenta left me with no time and energy to do anything else. I keep having new ideas all the time. In the past I have been a very active member of opensource community in Szczecin, but working in the storage startup left me lifeless.

The new DevOps position that I took was a mixed blessing. I finally reinvigoriated myself, having now time for both family and hobby, I started efforts to blog on illumos community, restart ZFS Admin Guide and started my own SoHo ZFS on Linux storage guide. At the very moment only the last one is actively developped by me. Sadly, my hopes for reigniting the ZFs Admin Guide seem to have failed. I couldn't come to consensus with OpenZFS project about hosting the built Guide and with source manager about merging my changes. Also, no one else stepped up to help with making it recent for non-illumos operating systems. I still hope someone will take over the guide and make it a first class document for OpenZFS, so that we don't have to browse Oracle docs for it. I am trying to catch contact with Cody again.

Still, having more time, I could not find professional satisfaction. I have been audited for a release engineer posisition in supposedly DevOps culture, but, sadly, it turned out the company appointed DevOps engineers to do release management, thus showing absolute lack of understanding of what DevOps really is about. The role has been a weird mix of sysadmin, tester and release engineer roles, with IS still a distant and separate part of company, not really part of any release process. All the automation was about Not Invented Here syndrome. The company's culture actively discouraged experimentation, pushing any proof of concepts into private time.

That is reason that when Canonical announced making ZFS a supported filesystem, I have undusted my CV and sent it. Thankfully, they were interested.

So currently my plans for 2017 are prolonged plans for 2015:

  • Really, really learn C. Again. I used to write simple games twenty years ago, but now it's time to do it properly.
  • Learn python
  • Fisnih SoHo ZFS guide
  • Finish ZFS Admin Guide