2016 has been another crazy year for me, and 2017 is just as crazy. I’ve been putting off updating my site for a while (a whole year). So here is a summary update of just some of the things I’ve been working on for 2016 and the first few months of 2017.

Certifications: I am now a Puppet Certified Professional 2016, I guess if its not obvious, I’ve been working even more heavily with Puppet, going to training, writing modules, etc. This was my first certification and I will say the test is very difficult testing you on every obscure area of Puppet, and it changes a lot between versions. If you’re studying for this exam, you need to practically read all their documentation on top of training and having real life experience. Their are study guides, I also just recently obtained certification as an IBM Certified System Administrator for WebSphere Application Server Network Deployment V8.5.5 and Liberty Profile. Mostly because I’ve been working with it heavily for a while so the certification was just a formality, I barely studied for that one.

System Administration and DevOps: I learned the hardway that running ‘reboot’ on AIX does not run the shutdown scripts in System V init the same way it does on Linux, if you want a graceful shutdown, run the full ‘shutdown -r now’ instead. Another, painful lesson, related to Puppet, if you use hiera as a key value store for site configuration, bad things happen when it stops working for some reason and Puppet starts breaking things, in production. The mess it creates is so bad, I think Puppet should put in some sort of safe guard that if hiera is failing, it does not generate or update catalogs for nodes. I’m also doing a lot of AWS and cloud work, not so much Eucalyptus anymore, and there may be more for me in that area in the future.

Security: YubiKey’s are super useful once you get them setup, and get a RFID shield for your work badge. I updated my WebSphere xor password decoding tool with instructions to make it easy to find the passwords in question. A friend needed it, and the tool lets you crack the passwords offline even though wsadmin can decode them for you using one of it’s MBean’s or whatever. Also, I’ve always wanted to put SSL in front of this site. I plan on using CloudFront to fix this soon. Maybe by the time I actually getting around to posting this.

Conferences: I attended BSides Charlotte somewhat, did BSides LV and DefConf in Vegas again, and BSides Charleston. This year I hope to do a few local conferences including attending DerbyCon

See also