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Details

  • Full name: Robert Walker
  • Date of birth: 22 October 1977
  • Nationality: British
  • E-mail: bob@randomness.org.uk
  • Phone: 07810 542 241
  • Address: 19 Clarendon Road, Croydon, CR0 3SJ

Skills

  • Operating Systems: Linux (Ubuntu, Debian, Red Hat), Solaris, FreeBSD, OpenBSD, OS/2
  • Configuration Management: Chef, Puppet, CFEngine2
  • Version Control: Git, SVN, CVS, RCS
  • Monitoring and Metrics: Nagios, Icinga, Graphite, Ganglia, Munin, StatsD, Diamond
  • Shell Scripting: bash
  • Packaging: deb, RPM, SRV4
  • Agile Methodologies: Kanban, Scrum, Continous Integration/Deployment
  • Databases: MySQL, PostgreSQL

Employment History

February 2013 – Present: WebOps for Government Digital Service

At GDS I was a member of the Infrastructure and Tools team within the GOV.UK team.

During my time at GDS I worked on several major projects including migrating GOV.UK to a new platform, leading technically on the setting up of a new logging infrastructure and helping with the procurement of a new CDN.

I managed the team's backlog when we lacked a delivery manager. I facilated several retrospectives.

I participated fully in our second line support model and out of hours on call rota I also trained several of our developers so that they could contribute to our second live support model.

I also helped maintain several environments and puppet repositories.

October 2010 – February 2013: Systems Architect for TagMan

At TagMan I was responsible for maintaining and growing a platform serving approximately two billion hits a month spread over six points of presence across the world. During my time at TagMan I worked both in the Operations Team and in a development team focused on improving the scalability of our architecture.

As part of the Operations Team, I introduced the concept of configuration management with an initial install of Puppet, and later supported a switch to Chef by writing cookbooks and managing the contractor who did the bulk of the work. I also acted as team leader during periods when we had no Operations Director.

My scalability work included identification of the inherently non-scalable parts of the codebase, helping the developers design replacement code with an eye to scalability, and liaising with product management during addition and prioritisation of the necessary tasks in the backlog. I replaced our legacy system of client configuration (which used a MySQL replication chain) with a more scalable solution based on Git and message queues. I also replaced our in-house deployment tool with a system of packages and Chef cookbooks, both to improve scalability and to bring our procedures closer to industry standards.

March 2008 – October 2010: Senior Systems Administrator for Ominor

At Ominor I set up and maintained over 30 servers for a range of e-commerce websites developed in PHP and Ruby on Rails, spread across two data centres in several environments. One of my major tasks was to provision a new rack for a client with a turnover of approximately one million pounds a month. I managed the servers with Puppet, and used Nagios and Munin to monitor the servers and collect usage data.

Throughout my time at Ominor I worked closely with the developers as part of a team following an Agile methodology. As part of this I helped maintain the continuous integration servers, and performed deploys as and when they were signed off by the clients.

January 2008 – March 2008: Contract Systems Administrator for Fotango

During the windup of Fotango, I worked as a contractor providing out-of-hours cover and daytime support while the Fotango systems were transitioned to their new provider.

January 2006 – December 2007: Senior Systems Administrator for Fotango

At Fotango I was a member of a five-person team providing support for about 200 Red Hat and Debian machines in our production, staging, development and office environments.

One of my first tasks was to design and install a rack for a new product, including redundant routers, load balancers, web servers and database servers. The routers used VRRP for failover, and the load balancers used a combination of Heartbeat, ldirectord and IPVS to provide high-availability web services. The database cluster ran PostgreSQL, and used DRBD and Heartbeat to provide a failover solution. I also set up monitoring and logging for this product using Nagios and syslog-ng. The web servers were organized as Xen guest domains spread across a cluster of machines.

I was also responsible, along with a co-worker, for investigating alternative technologies for automatic provisioning of machines, to replace the existing system based on CFEngine and a custom autoinstaller. Much of our testing involved virtualization using Xen and VMware. Our eventual choice was a combination of Puppet and FAI.

As well as projects such as these, I was part of the on-call rota providing support for our legacy systems, including our IBM SAN and several large MySQL databases.

August 2002 - December 2005: Senior Systems Administrator for Glu Mobile

While at Glu Mobile I installed and maintained over 20 internal and external systems which provided numerous services. My main duty was the administration of six Sun machines (3x280R, 3xv100) running Solaris which acted as a provisioning system for mobile games using Jboss and MySQL. I also administered machines running other services such as mail, DNS, Samba for internal file shares, Checkpoint FW-1/VPN-1, HTTP (both barebones Apache/PHP and Jboss/Jetty solutions) and DHCP. I installed and administered a new backup system using Veritas NetBackup 4.5 and a Sun L8, and initiated the process of migrating to Veritas NetBackup 6.0 with a Sun L100. For most of my time at Glu I was also responsible for desktop support.

August 2000 - June 2002: Systems Administrator for Profero

At Profero I was responsible for the administration of several Intel-based machines running FreeBSD, OpenBSD and Suse Linux. These machines provided services such as mail, DNS and file sharing using Samba and AppleTalk. I also administered the machines that Profero's ad servers ran on. In conjunction with this I set up and maintained a firewall (StoneGate) which provided load balancing and clustering.

June 2000 - July 2000: Fixed-term contract to provide support and systems administration for Sciteb

While contracting for Sciteb I installed a number of desktops (Linux and Windows) and set up several services on their Linux server.

August 1999 - June 2000: Systems Administrator and Software Developer for Pepper Head Design

I joined Pepper Head Design as an HTML coder and progressed to become a PHP and JSP developer leading a team of two other developers. I also liaised with our outsourced Java developers, and was responsible for support of desktops and servers running a combination of Linux, OS/2 and Windows.