Jobs

Sometimes people like to ask me what I do for a job. The truth is that I don’t really even know what my job entails – it basically revolves around keeping uptime on some web services functional at all times (24 x 7). That means network, servers, and infrastructure up at all times.

People before me designed a somewhat reliable system to do that, including network redundancy, firewall / router failover, load balancers, system monitoring applications and servers dedicated to that very purpose, multiple instances of servers that host different web applications, disaster recovery contingency plans, etc…

All in all we have a pretty stable system, though we do suffer from outages once in a while from a few things that really aren’t really out of our control, but things that we haven’t thought through clearly enough and that we haven’t seen all angles on. Some of these things are failover of applications like Tomcat that for some reason fail to do so cleanly (in that there is a large hiccup in the response time before it comes back up).

I’d like to think that somehow, at my  company, I am a benefit, because I bring a knowledge of Linux that my most of my co-workers don’t share. I think one of them knows quite a bit about it, but isn’t an expert. I don’t really consider myself an expert as there is a ton more to learn, but it’s nice to know that you are needed I suppose.

Some things that I have designed / touched on are creating a few servers with some  unique functions (that I have probably even spelled out here): I manage most of Nagios / OpsView installs, Unitrends Enterprise Backup (which does come highly recommended {perhaps I’ll write a post on this later}), a yum update server / repository, and a few other little things involving MySQL, Apache, and php.

Our inventory of servers isn’t exactly getting smaller – the databases we house are about 800 GB or so and always growing (a lot of this stuff is junk / temp tables that we use for daily work), but the main databases are well over 400GB. The only place we really can go is up.

Some of my favorite things I have worked with are these: The SonicWall Enterprise Firewalls – these, coupled with site to site VLANs and it’s VPN work like a champ, doing a ton of work all in one simple 1U rack space. I also really like our Compellent SAN – though I do question the integrity of our drives…

To expound on that, I used to be a huge Seagate hard drive fan. I had a ton of success with them in the past and I have always though they performed extremely well … that is until I found a Compellent SAN filled with them and saw how many of them die per year and I have since gotten a bad taste in my mouth. It may be the nature of these drives to blow out after so many reads and writes (our drives are extremely active), however, the amount of drives we have had go bad over the last 6 months is unacceptable.

In any event, I’ve also really enjoyed working with VMware. Obviously this is a given, but we use ESXi 5 – and I think it is an extremely robust program. As far as we are concerned, ESXi has never been a problem – some of the things that RUN on it may have an issue, but the actual application that runs on the servers has been borderline flawless.

Currently, my company is also exploring Hyper-V. I have played with it a bit in the past and suffice to say that I really didn’t enjoy it much – mainly because it lacked Linux support. I know it’s a Microsoft product and that they really only want you running Microsoft products on it, but since Linux is (for the most part) open source, why not integrate it? Which, as a matter of fact, I am glad they did with the release of Hyper-V 2.0 on Server 2012. Hence, why we are taking a look at it.

On the side I do some web hosting on a Linux based server – I really enjoy it. Probably more than my day job, but unfortunately, it’s not something that provides much income at this point. I’d love to get more involved in it, but most of the people who I work with in a day don’t do web design projects.

In any event, I’m not sure what the point of this post was, maybe just to make a post. I feel bad that really all I have been doing is compiling kernels religiously and not really paying much attention to the SQL portion of the site. This will change as I have a lot more to get on with.