This year was another abnormal year with ups and downs for many. Salute to everyone that kept pushing through any and all hardships you experienced. For me, my focus continued to be family and seizing all presented opportunities while blocking out as much unnecessary noise as possible.
I consider 2021 a spectacular year with several milestones and firsts for me. This year kicked off with me being featured in the Star Tribune (the 5th largest newspaper in the United States) in Superbowl Sunday’s paper! Other major highlights included being renewed as a Microsoft MVP for the 10th year, being promoted to an Azure Platform Offering Lead at work, developing 6 new courses for Pluralsight, publishing my 7th and 8th book one of them being my 1st book with O’Reilly, appearing on 5 podcasts/webinars, & speaking at 7 conferences/user groups of them being DevOpsDays MPLS! I also continued my virtual world tour speaking at events in Africa and even Jamaica!
2020 was an extraordinarily tough year with many downs for so many people all over the world. For me losing 3 people in a week and a half (not to COVID) along with all the funerals to follow was rough. Also, the injustice in my home city with the murder of George Floyd and unrest was unbelievable but not a surprise with injustice going un-noticed for so long. It was amazing to see the world wake up and acknowledge what has been happening for so long.
In spite of all of the bad stuff from 2020, there was a tremendous amount of good stuff happening and progress. I believe there is always an opportunity in the middle of chaos. To see the opportunity it is needed to take a step back, slow down, and analyze the board. In this post, I am going to recap the positives from this year as I have done in the past few years.
Let me start off with the fact that I was renewed for my 9th year as a Microsoft MVP! I was re-awarded in the Azure category for the 3rd year. I never take the Microsoft MVP award for granted as it is never guaranteed. I am honored to once again be among such a talented group of people across the globe!
The next thing I want to call out is a message I received from someone from my home city after listening to one of the podcasts I was featured on. In this message this upcoming tech star talked about how he was inspired by the episode and how he can relate to me. This message was inspiring to me as this is a huge part of what I want to do through sharing my story. I hope to see more of it in the future. Here is the message:
Ok, now lets get into the list of activity from 2020!
In 2020 I was honored to be featured on 7 podcasts! Some of the podcasts in the US, Europe, and Africa! Here are the podcasts:
Guest on “Lisa at the Edge” Podcast EP13: In the podcast episode Lisa and I talked about: Evolving your career as technology evolves, Transformation of IT dept to Strategic Business Partner, DevOps, Containers 101, Azure Kubernetes Service, Diversity in tech. Episode link here
Guest on Packet Pushers podcast Cloud Governance, Bringing Order To Your Cloud Chaos. Podcast episode here:
Was a guest on Tech Talk Wednesday podcast and radio show with Kazeem Adegboyega Topic: Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) in 30 minutes. Streamed online via Microsoft Teams and aired in Lagos, Nigeria on Lagos State University (LASU) radio (95.7).
10/31/2020 FEATURED ON BITTECHTALK EPISODE #127 – BITTechTalk ep. #127 Steve Buchanan – PC Tech to Microsoft MVP
Guest on Black Tech Talent podcast.
11/5/2020 Guest on the RunAs Radio Podcast –
Guest on Headinthecloud Heartinthecommunity a community show by Isidora Katanic and Holly Lehman.
In 2020 I developed 5 new courses for Pluralsight bringing the total to 6! This is an opportunity to continue sharing my knowledge with the world through Pluralsight’s global platform. You can find my Pluralsight Author page here:
Here are my blogs about the courses throughout 2020:
One more highlight from my journey with Pluralsight in 2020 is that my AZ-900 course broke into the top 100 courses on Pluralsight! This actually stayed here for multiple months!
I am excited about the potential with Pluralsight for 2021!
In 2020 I presented at some conferences and user groups. Here is where I presented in 2020:
Inside Azure Management event conference
I was a speaker during the “Inside Azure Management Summit” on 7/23/2020. This was a free community event. It featured Microsoft cloud experts from the authoring team of “Inside Azure Management” book, Microsoft MVP’s, and community experts from around the world. I presented on Azure Policy! My session can be watched here:
I was one of the experts in several Ask the Expert sessions during Microsoft Ignite 2020! Sessions included PowerShell on Azure, Kubernetes on Azure, and Azure Migrations.
Presented at an Azure User Group based in Ghana, in Africa on Terraform for Azure!
Since 2020 was full of time spent inside at home I took some time to knock out a few certifications.
I took and passed the Docker certification! CKA will be in my future.
I decided to study for and passed an AWS certification!
I also gained a Terraform certification by contributing to the Terraform associate exam and helped out with a Terraform certification study guide!
I also spent time writing blogs, volunteering with some youth tech programs, as well as shared a couple of scripts on GitHub! Here are some posts about some of these:
2020 was a full year. I already have plans and stuff in the works to make 2021 an exciting year continuing with a focus on Azure, Containers, Kubernetes, IaC, Terraform, GitOps, and more! Please check back here often for new blogs, scripts, and more.
I have been waiting for this one to release! I was a guest on Blacks In Technology ‘s renowned podcast BITTechTalk.
On this episode we talk about; the pros and cons of having a coding background vs infra, what it’s like coming from infrastructure into DevOps, the importance of networking skills in DevOps.
We get into the fact that many folks in the tech industry have to jump ship to get the promotion & better pay, being in consulting vs internal tech, what it’s like being a Microsoft MVP, changing the narrative of blacks in tech, tech salaries and much more!
Check out the podcast episode with the BIT founder Greg Greenlee & me here:
I recently had the honor of being a guest on the “Lisa at the Edge” Podcast. Lisa is a Microsoft Hybrid Cloud Strategist and an influencer in the hybrid cloud community based out of Scotland. She runs a blog and this year she started a popular podcast.
On Lisa’s podcast, she covers Careers in Tech and Microsoft Hybrid Cloud and a range of other topics with experts across the tech community.
This is an episode you don’t want to miss. This was one of the most entertaining podcasts I have been on. It took some interesting turns in regards to topics and very engaging. In the podcast episode Lisa and I talk about:
Evolving your career as technology evolves
Transformation of IT dept to Strategic Business Partner
CloudSkills.fm is a podcast by fellow Microsoft MVP Mike Pfeiffer and veteran in the tech space with 5 books under his belt and numerous courses on Pluralsight. The podcast can be found here: cloudskills.fm. Mike is an all around good guy and I was honored to be a featured guest on one of his podcast episodes. The podcast is weekly with technical tips and career advice for people working in the cloud computing industry. The podcast is geared for developers, IT pros, those making move into cloud.
On this episode Mike
and I talked about managing both the technical and non-technical aspects of
your career in the cloud computing industry. We also discuss DevOps stuff
around Docker, Azure Kubernetes Service, Terraform and cloud stuff around Azure
management including my 5 points to success with cloud. You can listen to the
I’m very excited
Opsgility recently published a new Azure course by me titled: “Deploy and
Configure Infrastructure”. This course is part of the AZ 300 certification
learning path for Microsoft Azure Architect Technologies. More about the AZ 300
certification can be found here: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/learning/exam-az-300.aspx.
The course is over 4 hours of Azure content!
Description of the course:
In the course learn
how to analyze resource utilization and consumption, create and configure
storage accounts, create and configure a VM for Windows and Linux, create
connectivity between virtual networks, implement and manage virtual networking,
manage Azure Active Directory, and implement and manage hybrid identities.
It has been a while since I have blogged about non-Microsoft technology. Well I recently moved to a new house and figured this was a good reason to upgrade my network and wifi equipment. I decided to go with Ubiquiti Networks – UniFi line. They have a physical hardware and Software Defined Networking (SDN) combo that I deployed. After deploying Unifi I realized how bad the previous wifi solutions I have used are and wanted to blog about Unifi’s solution. Lets jump in. Here is a list and pictures of the gear for my setup:
1 x UniFi® Security Gateway (Enterprise Gateway Router & Firewall with Gigabit Ethernet)
This gear is enterprise level stuff at consumer level pricing!
NOTE: I originally also bought the UniFi® Cloud Key. This is basically an embedded server that runs the UniFi Controller software for managing all the network gear. It kept rebooting every 5 minutes and was super-hot. I ended up returning it after talking to tech support. I will either buy one in the future when they fix it or I will just run the UniFi Controller software on my own server.
I decided to go with all Unifi gear because it works seamlessly together. The gear overall has great designs especially the AP’s. The AP’s mount to a wall or ceiling and blend in like smoke detectors. The real star in the Unifi solution though is the UniFi Controller software. The UniFi Controller software gives you centralized management of all of your network gear. With the controller software you can Visualize the network in maps, get performance charts with real-time graphs, receive outage notifications and custom alerts, manage updates and schedule tasks, set up alerts, apply mass-configuration changes, get deep insights into metrics, setup VLANs, multiple wifi networks, access schedules, setup guest networks and more. I know this is just for my home network but I am a technical geek and am super excited to have this level of networking in my home. Now let’s explorer the UniFi Controller software on my setup.
In the UniFi Controller software you can add all of your devices. The following screenshot shows this. You can manage the devices from here such as rebooting, upgrading firmware, locating them and more. Something cool about locating the devices is that when you click on locate it makes the blue light the device has flash.
One of my favorite features of the UniFi Controller software is the ability to have network maps. You can upload custom floor plans into the UniFi Controller software and then you can place your devices on the map. In my scenario I uploaded maps for 3 floors. This screenshot shows the lower floor with the gateway and switch.
I have a main level map that has one of the AP’s.
I then have an upper map with the second AP. Something else to note about these maps when you have an AP shown is that you can display wifi coverage. You can should 2G or 5G coverage.
From the maps section of the UniFi Controller software you can also switch to the topology view. The topology view gives you a tree view of your devices and clients that are connected to devices. In the following screenshot you can see clients that are connected via CAT6 to the 24 port switch and you can see what clients are connected to each wifi AP. Something else shown in the screenshot is properties of a client. You can get device info, stats, and even deep packet inspection.
Recently I was working on a Service Manager project and outgoing email was not working properly.
The SMTP channel was setup properly. I ran a telnet session and attempted to send an email via telnet. Well the telnet session would connect just fine to the Exchange server but then would disconnect as soon as I tried to run some telnet commands.
I knew this was odd as I have never seen this before. There must have been an issue on the Exchange server or a policy to disconnect telnet sessions.
I needed a better way to troubleshoot this issue before I went back to the Exchange admin.
I ran across a freeware tool called SendSMTP that was a huge help.
The tool can run somewhere and send emails via a GUI or even via command line.
This tool also does not install the .exe just runs right from a folder on the server so it is portable and can be removed easily after you are done testing/troubleshooting.
It also lets you specify many settings such as host, authentication, timeout and more.
The reason this tool is super helpful is because it has some built in logging.
As you can see in the following screenshots you can set the logging levels you want.
After you test sending an email you can either view either of the two log files
by clicking on View Log or by clicking on the Log tab.
I loaded this tool on the SCSM server and then tested sending an email both anonymously and using authentication. Both failed.
Because of the logging I was able to determine that the connection keeps being reset by the Exchange server as there are some access denied issues.
You can see the log as shown on the tools Log tab in the following screenshot.
I was able to give this directly to the Exchange admin for further troubleshooting. 🙂
I wanted to share this on my blog as this tool might come in useful for someone else as well.