Eric D. Schabell: 2021 year in review - The new normal?

Friday, December 31, 2021

2021 year in review - The new normal?

The year 2021 is coming to a close, ending pretty much the same way here in the Netherlands as it started in 2020... a lockdown.

Empty streets, closed shops, closed restaurants, no parties, no gatherings, and all just when we thought it might be getting back to normal.

Not yet.

Meanwhile work has gone one and life has continued for me with little change other than the occasional possibility to get out and about to visit you.

Just like in 2020, we've shared more time together this year online in virtual events, coffee breaks, and other strange virtual events. On the up side there were the possibilities to travel again in 2021 and I got to spend time with my family back in the US for the first time in over three years!

It was my +12th year at Red Hat and the worldwide pandemic continued to influence our daily lives as it surged and subsided throughout the year. While it's a constant in all the planning and activities, let's review some of the activities from 2021 that were not affected by the pandemic.

This year I spent all my time generating architecture content, upgrading demos, updating workshops, and spreading as much good cheer as I could from behind my webcam. I was able to visit a few customers in the Netherlands and even get out and about for an overseas event in Ireland, but I'll get to that in a bit.


Again this year I've been publishing a lot online, maybe even more so now that the events are all virtual  and I needed to float new ideas for your review. This year I've published over 65 articles on this site, many were syndicated on DZone, and multiple articles featured elsewhere on external sites. 

I also did a few special writing projects, such as the Getting Started with OpenShift RefCard.

My hobby of writing as a sports journalist for continued, but slowed considerably due to the shortened season and my time being used up elsewhere.

It's been amazing to share these insights and experiences that can make others better at what they do. It's the most rewarding part of working in open source, the sharing, mentoring, and collaboration that makes all around you grow.

Speaking engagements were numerous, but mostly virtual until the in person event in Ireland (see travel below). One of the more fun ones was a workshop I delivered during my vacation from a hotel on an island in Greece, always a challenge!

There were too many speaking engagements to list here so just sending you over to my SpeakerHub profile for the listing and content made available from my sessions there.

Here are some of the feedback that was shared throughout the year:

“Was in a class last week, about becoming a manager. And they asked a question about who inspire you the most as a leader, guess who came to my mind first 😛. You 😀. I think a true leader leads by example. And just want you should know how much you inspired me.”

“Pleasure having you around. A good man with a good heart.”

“Thanks Eric, you are an amazing person and someone I always enjoyed working with."

“Many thanks for all your help Eric and for all the top material you create, it is absolutely helpful and a big asset to spread the word of what we at Red Hat can do. Really enjoy working with you, man!”

“Do we have a UI for Eric's brain? Like, I can just type in a TLA and get a printout?”

“DZone Community Member of the Day: Eric D. Schabell. Long-time DZone contributor he’s  posted over 300 articles on DZone that have generated over 2.1 million page views.”

“Well done Eric! Amazing to see how much you have contributed back to the community by sharing your knowledge” 

“Such a fun session! Took a ton of notes to better understand the environment and opportunities available for hybrid cloud and digital transformation. Should take the band on the road guys!”“Well done Eric! Amazing to see how much you have contributed back to the community by sharing your knowledge” 

“Thanks Eric, this is really useful to learn the main features of PAM.!” 

“You’re leaders in this space (Portfolio Architecture), this is just awesome content!”

Coding and other content

This year saw the Red Hat Demo Central repository complete its sixth year since the first commit on April 1, 2016 and is hosted on Gitlab.

This year it continued to expand beyond the projects illustrating containers, cloud operations, deployments, AppDev in the Cloud to include more portfolio architecture workshops and example repositories. Be sure to jump on over there and watch the updates as container based projects are migrating to OpenShift Container Platform 4.x and beyond.

Almost all of my workshops and demo projects have been updated and are based on installing using OpenShift through the CodeReady Containers offering or just native containers with Podman:

These workshops are all constantly undergoing revisions and updates to add new product innovations so be sure to check them out thorough next year.

The biggest work I've delivered on this year can be found in the Portfolio Architecture - Examples repository where I've added 12 new architecture projects ranging from cloud adoption, remote server management, retail, and healthcare projects. This is just the public facing content, there is more but that's targeting enablement of the internal field teams at Red Hat.


This year the travel was a bit better than 2020, but not by much. Several lockdowns hampered travel for most of us, but here's the overview.

Just for reference, back in 2019 a normal travel year was over 138,000 km, 22 cities, and 9 countries. In 2021 it was just five trips covering 22,914km, 8 cities, and 4 countries. 

Four of those trips were personal vacations, so only one trip was made for work: 

  • Dublin, Ireland (work)

One can only hope we are meeting even more face to face soon in 2022 and I'm seeding conferences with sessions throughout the coming year to be ready when it happens.

Time for other projects

The positive side of this lack of travel is that I've worked on a lot of physical projects around my home again in 2021. I'm a type of person that likes to fix stuff that breaks down himself, so I have turned my attentions to maintenance and improvements for my home along with some professional builders for the bigger projects:

  • painted three more interior doors and all their door frames
  • remodelled two bathrooms
  • remodelled fireplace
  • replaced four external windows and repainted frames
  • started playing with mobile development around react-native

As long as the travel is not taking up all my time I'll plan to continue with the maintenance work in 2022.

Thanks to you all

Here is hoping you enjoyed what I was able to bring to you in 2021. I'm sharing, entertaining, and hopefully slipping in a bit of educational content for your daily lives.

I want to thank you personally for attending any of the webinars, virtual conference sessions, online workshops, and for taking the time to read my published articles.

As 2022 kicks off, there's hope for travel and in person events, but using the mediums we have at our disposal we'll continue to explore the amazing things you can achieve with open technologies.

Finally, stay safe, take care of yours, and hope to see you soon face to face!

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