Posts Tagged 'Techs'

May 12, 2011

Follow 750 Servers from Truck to DC Rack

What do you call the day after you finish building a new data center server room and cabling the server racks in it? If you're an employee at SoftLayer, you call it Truck Day.

Last week, a few of the folks from marketing were invited to celebrate in the Truck Day festivities for Pod 2 in DAL05 (SR02.DAL05), and I jumped at the opportunity. I don't go anywhere without at least one camera on-hand to document and share what's going on with the SoftLayer community, and Truck Day wasn't an exception ... In fact, I had three different cameras going at all times!

The truck arrived at around 7 a.m. with a few dozen pallets of servers, and about forty employees from all around the company immediately jumped into action. As the pallets moved from the loading dock to the inventory room, people were unboxing servers and piling them on carts. When a cart was full, it was whisked to the data center and unloaded. The data center techs plugged in each of the servers to confirm its configuration and stacked it with matching configurations in designated areas around the data center. By the time one cart got back to the inventory room, another was on its way to the data center, so very little time was lost.

Back in 2007, SamF did a great job of explaining the process, so I won't reinvent the wheel. Instead, I'll let you see the activities as they were captured by the three cameras I toted along:

To give you an idea of how fast all of this was done, each the time lapse cameras set up in the data center and in the inventory room captured images every five seconds. When the video was compiled, the frame rate was set to 20 frames per second, so each second of time lapse video is the equivalent of 100 seconds of work. In a matter of just a few hours, we received, inventoried, racked, cabled and started selling around 750 servers in a brand new data center pod. Competitors: Be afraid. Be very afraid. :)

Pictures from DAL05 Pod 2 Truck Day have been posted on our Flickr Account: http://sftlyr.com/8g

In the past three weeks, we brought three different data center pods online in three different parts of the country: On April 25, it was our first server room in San Jose (SJC01); on May 2, the second server room in DAL05; and on May 10, our second server room in WDC01. As far as I know, we don't have a new pod planned for next month, but given how quickly the operations team has been building data center space, I wouldn't be surprised to get a call asking me to come in a little early to help unload servers in a new data center next week.

-@khazard

Music Credit: The background track in the video is "Your Coat" from SoftLayer's very own Chris Interrante. Keep an eye out for his soon-to-be released EP: OVERDRAFT.

February 1, 2010

Fuel!

Fuel!

Ask anyone here on our staff, and they’ll tell you a few things about their position:

  1. It’s never boring
  2. It can be quite demanding
  3. We’re never technically “off duty”

That being said, we all need our fuel to keep us going at warp speed. Luckily at the NOC we’re lucky enough to have a fully stocked break room with all sorts of odds and ends to keep us going when the energy levels get low. Allow me to show a few of my personal favorites:

  1. Chocolate Covered Raisins
    These little buggers are great when you’re running like mad and just need a quick snack. You can scoop up a good cupful and keep them at the desk for the remainder of your shift. You can take a little detour to grab a couple while en route to your destination. You can also trick yourself into thinking that they’re healthy since they have raisins in them.
  2. Doritos
    These have made a reliable meal substitute on multiple occasions. A few bags of these can trick your hunger pains and quiet the ache for a few until you can grab an actual meal (not always a guarantee).
  3. Coffee
    Any fan of caffeine knows why I’m adding this. It’s often the first thing ingested at the start of the day, and is famous for its energy-inducing properties. Love it or hate it, you cannot deny the eye-opening effects of this one.
  4. Dr Pepper
    My second favorite carbonated beverage provided here. A quick drink and a quick pick me up.

And for my favorite:

RedBull!

Much like many of the techs here, I have a clinical addiction to caffeine. Caffeine is the lifeblood of the NOC and keeps us working at top speed and form. To date, I have found no quicker delivery of this than through the 8.2 ounce can of this elixir.

And there you have it. These are the snacks and beverages provided that keep me going. And while it’s no health food store, it certainly spikes the blood sugar or caffeine levels enough to sustain a happy and proficient technician through the long night hours.

November 25, 2009

The Secret Mind of a SoftLayer Tech

I sit right in the middle of the NOC (Network Operations Center) here at SoftLayer. I hear all the tech calls, project discussion, and random banter from the techs on a daily basis. Most techs are also propeller heads on their own time. They have servers of their own, apps they like to run, preferences as to what hardware and software they like best, etc. Now, working in this field for most of my life I know that techs are not company loyal when it comes to their personal geeky funness (yes, that’s a word) I don’t care if spell check, Google and the rest of the world doesn’t think so (but I digress) they like what does the best job regardless of where it comes from.

I routinely hear techs talking about their personal servers, apps, etc. and referring back to SoftLayer with comments like, “I just host it on my server here at SoftLayer so I don’t have an issue.” With the issue being whatever the topic of conversation might have been. Network speed and stability, hardware and software reliability, ease of access (KVM over IP, the portal in general, multiple remote control options) cost, endless amount of add-ons, and the latest and greatest in everything!

I can relate.

I realized the potential of SoftLayer from the beginning and this place continues to exceed my expectations- and my expectations are always over the top! Simply put, after working in the corporate world and realizing what could be done with the right people and the right attitudes, I vowed only to work with a company that shared those views. And quite honestly I never thought I would see it happen. Then along came SoftLayer.

When techs constantly refer back to SoftLayer for their own fun computer projects as being the best solution, it just confirms what I already knew:

SoftLayer Rocks!

November 9, 2009

Outstanding Tech Recognition: Destroyer Droid

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away… our hero Romeo R., SoftLayer CSA was battling an endless sea of support tickets…

Ok so maybe it’s not that dramatic, but I was recently rewarded the Destroyer Droid award from our management team! In case you didn’t see the original post here it is:

http://theinnerlayer.softlayer.com/2009/outstanding-tech-recognition-droid-awards/

I’ve written two other blogs on TheInnerLayer but there was one in particular that I think brings me to where I am today, it was entitled “What it’s like to be a Datacenter Technician”. Today I am a shift lead for our Dallas Support Staff. In my previous blog I mentioned how DC techs wore several different hats (Hardware Engineer, Network Support, and System Admin) at any given time and we have to always be on our toes. Now being a Shift Lead of course, I still get to do all the fun stuff a Datacenter Tech gets to do, but now I have more focus on how to get all of the above working together and more efficiently.

Enter Destroyer Droid:

Getting more into the management side of things is an entirely different monster; you have all of your previous duties plus the duties of setting up the flow of work for the day. It’s given me an entirely different mindset on how SoftLayer works and what it takes to be successful. It can be quite the handful on some occasions, but I enjoy coming to work every day because of the challenge and the people I get to work with. I think whenever someone in a Shift Lead type of position receives an award it is a direct reflection of how the team as a whole is performing, and it wouldn’t be possible unless every single tech was on their game. If you’re reading this and your boss/manager does something similar to our recognition awards let me know in the comments!

Now if I could only get the guys to stop calling me the destroyer…

Categories: 
October 20, 2009

Droid Award Update: Romeo Rodriguez

SLayers!

Droid Award Update: Romeo Rodriguez 

All hail Romeo Rodriguez for he has received the Destroyer Droid Award!

Romeo has stepped up in the face of the opposition - and destroyed them! He consistently takes care of business, helping to prioritize daily tasks, escalate high priority issues promptly, and execute emergency procedures swiftly and efficiently.

Another one of SoftLayers outstanding techs!

 

Destroyer Droid Award
The Destroyer Droid Award is given to a tech who, like the Destroyer Droid, consistently rolls into situations, takes control, and "destroys" them. Techs with this award look at the bigger picture, and go outside their realm of job description, making sure projects and tasks are completed with proper prioritization, no matter how many. Awardees frequently think like a manager and are quick to help coordinate workload among fellow employees.
Categories: 
May 28, 2009

Hardware Heros

The techs that build the servers here at SoftLayer are known as Server Build Engineers or SBE’s. These guys are on the front line of Operations. They are responsible for building out customer server orders, maintenances, fixing cranky provisions, and many other hardware related tasks.

One might think that a hardware tech is a simple job. Well, not the SBE position at SoftLayer. Not only are they responsible for time sensitive hardware builds and provision troubleshooting, but they work directly with all the other departments. We don’t have bazillion hardware techs like other companies might. We train ours up to be one man hardware machines.

Sometimes a provision might have a weird error that needs to be escalated to development. The SBE will work directly with the dev team to resolve the issue.

Sales might have questions about some hardware they are trying to sell. SBE’s answer the call.

SBE’s even jump in to help CSA’s (Customer Service Administrators) when the ticket load or phones get hectic.

SBE’s do numerous projects, too. From helping with large scale hardware compatibility testing to troubleshooting hardware, they are the jack of all trades at SoftLayer.

We have a pseudo paramilitary way of doing things in the hardware department. It’s all in fun, but we get down and dirty and have a “can do” and “yes sir” attitude. We pride ourselves in being able to tackle any problem. If we are asked to do it, we do it, regardless of whether or not it’s our job, we are too busy, or whatever the obstacle.

Be all you can be? Join the army. Be more than you expect you can be? Join the SoftLayer Hardware Team.

The few, the badass, the SBE’s!

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