‘Keeping calm and carrying on’ might be a good way to describe a typical day! It starts with a quick check at home of non-critical alerts from our monitoring system. At my desk (which is height adjustable; I stand and work most of the day) with a nice hot brew, I go through my emails and RSS feeds.
As issues arise, including tasks requested via our internal ticketing system, I am often called upon to advise on a course of action, or to validate or comment on actions others are proposing. In almost every discussion, my opening question is “What are we trying to achieve here?”.
Once the objective is clear, our team typically goes to one of our break-out rooms and we discuss how we would design, architect and implement highly available network, storage systems and applications here at OxFORD. During the course of the discussion, I spend a lot of time asking “What happens if any of these systems were to fail?”.
For lunch, the team heads to the local market to bring back and enjoy something together in the Refectory.
Afterwards, we have a weekly catch-up where we update on our tasks from the previous week and discuss what’s to be done in the week ahead. This leads to a body of work that includes configuring network devices, building and moving through the Linux distro’s major release cycle and provisioning file systems. A big benefit of designing highly available and robust infrastructure at OxFORD means that we push out changes in the middle of the working week without any user or process disruption. We use Ansible as our configuration management tool and we automate most of our tasks.
I wrap up my day with a visual inspection of our datacentres before heading home for dinner with the family.