As Ruud’s last blog post showed, Ocom (and Leaseweb with it) is growing pretty fast. We wouldn’t be able to accomplish results like these without a motivated and skilled group of people. Behind our website, products and impressive bandwidth graphs there are a number of teams working on keeping us up and running – and we’d like to introduce some of them in a series of interviews.
In this first post, we’d like you to meet our System Administration department; the team that takes care of our internal infrastructure and applications: we wouldn’t be able to do anything without the systems they are responsible for.
Leaseweb’s sysadmin ‘heroes’
The blog post is part of a new series, which will appear on an occasional basis to give an inside look at some of the departments at Leaseweb that ensure a great experience for our customers.
Behind every workstation, internal network, and office system at Leaseweb are its system administrators or “sysadmins” as they are called. Sysadmins work tirelessly day and night to keep Leaseweb internal computers systems, workstations and laptops running smoothly for our employees. In some companies people only think about their sysadmins when there is a problem. Here at Leaseweb sysadmins are key, highly valued colleagues.
Sysadmins are the Leaseweb engineers who maintain, upgrade, and troubleshoot office systems, internal networks, firewalls, and routers, to ensure a quality; “always up” result for our employees, so they can better serve Leaseweb customers. Thomas Weaver, a senior Windows administrator on the team noted: “Among our other responsibilities, we currently monitor over 100 virtual and dedicated servers to make sure everything at Leaseweb runs satisfactorily. With the rapid growth of Leaseweb our responsibilities are always expanding.”
Currently the sysadmin team includes 4 full time engineers, under team lead, Günther van der Eecken. The group supports all Windows and Linux desktops and laptops, consisting of a fast growing number of employee computers, with more than 125 work stations and over 100 laptops under systems administration. As part of their responsibilities sysadmins maintain the internal infrastructure, network and cabling necessary to ensure always available operations for Leaseweb employees.
Reinder Halewijn, another senior Windows sysadmin, pointed out that security policies are critical to ensure Leaseweb office systems are maintained properly: “There are constant streams of security and service updates, which we receive, that must be pushed out regularly to user computers. In addition, we are constantly tweaking computer policies to provide optimal performance. For example, by adjusting the desktop policies of Leaseweb computers to automatically go into ‘sleep mode,’ after a period of time with no activity, we can lower our overall corporate energy footprint.”
This year Reinder is working on a major project to upgrade Leaseweb office systems to Microsoft Exchange 2010, which will offer improved system scalability, auto-archiving, and a better webmail experience to employees. In addition, soon, Microsoft Office 2010 upgrades will commence, so Leaseweb system administrators are always extremely engaged in making sure systems are kept updated with the most current software and operating systems available. New software and upgrades are always appearing and users often require specialized software for their work.
To ensure round-the-clock coverage, for a two week period each month, every sysadmin is available on 24 hour call. No matter the day or time, when an issue arises at Leaseweb, a skilled sysadmin is quickly available to deal with it, either remotely or directly on site.
To the maximum extent possible, sysadmins at Leaseweb aim to provide the users with the support tools necessary to handle many desktop issues themselves, including the ability to re-install their own operating system in the event of a problem. Weaver indicated that it is important for sysadmins to ensure user office systems are always kept up-to-date with the most current anti-virus tools and system updates to ensure peak performance and security for Leaseweb employees. “This is a never ending process,” he said.
Recently the sysadmin team has been engaged in a major effort to configure a network appliance to meet the needs of Leaseweb departments for an efficient and secure network. Reinder noted this new configuration allows for the zonal configurations required for each group to provide maximum security.
Reinder is a veteran sysadmin who has been with company since the beginning of 2007. He noted that working at Leaseweb has been enjoyable, and the team is always tackling interesting new projects, but he concluded that being a sysadmin at Leaseweb, means: “I am always very busy here!”