After nearly 9 years of experience as a Sr. Linux Systems Administrator and a leader of teams, I have spent the past 5 years in pre- and post-sales Technical Account Management, where I aim to understand a customer from a technical and organizational perspective, to answer the questions they do not yet know to ask, and be the point person for technological solutions to human problems.
My background is in managed services (IaaS, PaaS, traditional webhosting) and single-tenant systems. I specialize in containers and orchestration, with a particular area of interest in solution selling, process mapping, application architecture, and XY-Problem-avoiding.
I've worked on the infrastructure of hundreds of companies, from break-fix troubleshooting to ground-up design and implementation, but my favorite part of working in this field is the speed of knowledge gain, and effective transfer of that knowledge.
At Balena (previously known as resin.io), I wear three hats: Solutions Engineer, Sales Executive, and Customer Success. This structure allows me to work with customers through their entire lifecycle, from free trial through to full production, scaling a growing fleet of IoT devices managed by our SaaS and/or on-premises fleet management solutions.
In the Solutions Engineer role, I am running discovery calls with customers to identify the goals of their project, so I can help them determine which balena products will best serve their needs and allow them to focus on their core business. This includes platform demonstrations, objection handling, hardware/device recommendations, and platform best-practices during the evaluation phase with our free-forever trial system. Once a decision to move forward with a commercial engagement is made, I then own the negotiations, contracting, and onboarding process with new customers.
I continue working with customers as they scale from proof-of-concept to production by providing assistance with CI/CD system integration, platform automation, support triage, break/fix troubleshooting, and implementing new platform features. Maintaining ownership over a list of named accounts, usually ones that I have worked on through the pre-sales process, gives critical context and insight into maintaining good relationships on an ongoing basis, as well as providing a wealth of experience with best-practices from the experience of customers who are further along in their productionalization.
As part of a highly collaborative team - not only in the Customer Success & Solutions Architecture team, but cross-team with software engineers, data scientists, and hardware-hackers-in-residence - I participate in knowledge-sharing about customer use-cases, brainstorming on bugfixes and feature development plans, pricing, marketing, hardware development and distribution, and future product and service development.
At Red Hat, I was on a team of Technical Account Managers, and focused specifically on Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform. My daily duties included being a single named resource for a small list of named accounts, performing ticket triage, ensuring correct support, project management, and development resources are aligned within Red Hat to solve customer problems; proactive support, including tracking and notifying of available security updates, roadmap presentations for insights into Red Hat's product planning lifecycle, and new software products that align with customer's business needs on their timelines; as well as working on behalf of the customer with external vendors to resolve technical issues.
Red Hat purchased CoreOS in March of 2018, and I transitioned from my previous pre-sales role into a post-sales role, similar but at the same time expanded in scope and more focused on a specific technology (Kubernetes and OpenShift) than my previous Enterprise Support Engineer role at Rackspace.
At CoreOS, I was on the team of Solutions Engineers, a pre-sales group responsible for discovery, walkthrough, POC deployment, and thought leadership around CoreOS' enterprise solutions for Kubernetes. CoreOS' product line included Tectonic, an enterprise distribution of pure-upstream Kubernetes deployed in an opinionated way to bring containers to large organizations, whether in the cloud or on-premises.
My day-to-day at CoreOS involved deploying Tectonic and Quay onto bare-metal hardware, VMs, as well as in AWS, and helping prospective customers with their proof-of-concept deployments during the sales cycle in order to make a buy decision on moving forward with the CoreOS product suite in production. I lead workshops and tech talks, both in-person and via webinars, explaining best-practices, reference architecture, or core concepts. I worked with customers to develop CI/CD workflows, monitoring solutions, and integrate RBAC for authentication and authorization within the cluster.
At Rackspace, I was an "ESE" on the Americas team working on a footprint of assigned accounts. My role involved everything from high-level architecture discussions with customers who have new or existing footprints at Rackspace to technical deep-dive troubleshooting and maintenance. I was responsible for the technical relationship with the customer, and was the arbiter of the customer's consumption of Rackspace resources to ensure they can focus on running their business while we took care of their technology needs.
My day-to-day work ranged from projects for technical refreshes of customer devices, including onboarding new products and services at the customer's discretion, to providing advice on, and ultimately implementing, new or improved technologies into the customer environment. I possess a deep knowledge of the Rackspace products and services, but also a deep understanding of the technologies and processes that underlie them, to ensure that exactly the right resources and products are deployed to meet customers' needs.
My previous role at Rackspace was Linux System Administrator in the Enterprise team working on large-footprint accounts. Major technologies for most clients are the LAMP and LEMP stacks, RHCS (RedHat Cluster Services), and escalated/deep-dive systems and kernel troubleshooting and optimization. I also work on, as they relate to the operating system, technologies including SAN, F5 load balancers, ASAs, etc. Clients also have VMware private clouds, as well as footprints in the Rackspace public cloud, including cloud servers, cloud load balancers, and CDN.
I was involved in two project-based initiatives in this role; the Linux Maintenance Team and the Linux Workload Reduction Team. The Linux Maintenance team works with clients to prepare maintenance windows for planned outages; activities include regular operating system patching, software upgrades, hardware upgrades and replacements, and migrations. I focused on process documentation, onboarding, and complex maintenances. The Linux Workload Reduction Team exists to identify non-value added work; tasks that can be automated or removed from the workflow of Linux SysAds at Rackspace by analyzing data, identifying best-practices adjustments, and delivering requirements to teams that develop automation and tooling.
My role at Channel Clarity was one of a one-man-IT-shop. I was solely responsible for two cabinets of servers each in two separate data center facilities; one facility was spun up and migrated to after I started at the company. My project work at Channel Clarity started by performing a virtual-to-virtual migration from mixed OpenVZ and VMware ESXi unmanaged (no centralized administration panel) environments to a centralized oVirt virtualization cluster. I migrated server monitoring from Nagios to Zabbix, and assisted in the migration from a cPanel (Dovecot/Exim) mail server to Office365. I was responsible for designing, implementing, and maintaining the network of the new data center cabinet, including redundant Cisco switches, centralized NFS storage, and redundant Cisco ASA firewalls with IPSEC and site-to-site VPN tunnels. I maintained an infrastructure of MongoDB, mySQL, Apache, nginx, RabbitMQ, Amazon EC2 and RedShift, and BIND clustered environments. I was also responsible for office IT in a 50-person call center and a 15-person office.
I was promoted to manage the Systems Administration department at SingleHop and took on additional responsibilities while maintaining day-to-day ticket work as a Senior System Administrator. These tasks included employee scheduling, managing time off requests, delegation of project-work, ticket queue handling and SLA compliance throughout the organization, and organizing biweekly staff meetings. I established, documented, and enforced departmental policies, as well as designing and maintaining organization structure and responsibilities matrices. I was responsible for requisitioning new hires, including reviewing inbound resumes and performing interviews. I also ran yearly employee evaluations per company policies. I was the escalation point for inbound and outbound abuse issues that impacted the Support department, as well as being 24x7 on-call for technical or client satisfaction escalations.
I took on additional responsibilities at SingleHop when I moved into a dual role of Senior System Administrator and Team Lead. The additional responsibilities started in 2011 with handling VIP clients and ensuring 10-minute response times via the ticketing system to meet our SLAs, taking on more complex project-based work including multi-server architectures and advanced technologies such as Microsoft stacks including Exchange, DFS, Active Directory, Microsoft and mySQL server replication, and other technologies such as SAN. I additionally took on the role of Team Lead, where I took responsibility for ensuring documentation of common processes, developing automation scripts, managing delegation of and taking on project work like VMware vCenter private cloud setups, and training.
At SingleHop, I was part of a team of system administrators providing expert technical support and managed system administration services to a client base of dedicated server and VPS/cloud clients. Tasks included managing the ticket and phone queues, where requests would run the gamut from troubleshooting out-of-control resource usage, mitigating rootkit or other intrusions, installing software, performance tuning middleware, advising on necessary upgrade paths for better hardware solutions, setting up distributed computing from load balancing to virtualization, managing server migrations, and server monitoring.
I returned to TouchSupport after a leave of absence to take some college courses, where I was promoted from my Level 2 position to Shift Manager. As the Shift Manager of the evening shift, I was still responsible for my previous tasks as a Level 2, but took on some additional responsibilities. These included generating employee test questions and evaluation procedures for quarterly employee reviews, documenting and filing procedures on steps to resolve common issues, and managing the work load for the Level 1 team to ensure focus and productivity.
At TouchSupport, I was part of a team responsible for responding to support tickets from over 300 website hosting and technical services companies via helpdesk system, telephone, and live chat support. I provided support for Linux, Unix, and Windows-based web and application servers at a client and administrator level. In addition to troubleshooting shared, semi-dedicated, and dedicated hosting environments, I was responsible for coordinating server backup restore efforts and crash restores, managing server migrations, and monitoring server health and uptime. As a member of the Level 2 team, I was also responsible for receiving escalations from and supervising the Level 1 technicians in above tasks, as well as ensuring a smooth hand-off during shift changes, as we were a 24x7x365 shop.
I co-founded a start-up providing virtualization and bare metal hardware consulting services, officially formalized as a company in March 2014. At my company, I maintained a lab setup (pending development and production use) of Puppet, managed a vCenter cluster, deployed server monitoring and backups, performed physical-to-virtual and virtual-to-virtual migrations, and wrote automation and feature scripts in Bash and PowerShell. Additionally, I have handled support tickets for end-users of an open-source Joomla and OpenVZ-based "hub" system that provides web-based virtual machines for engineers to perform software simulations for composites design and manufacturing. I also performed the installation, migration to more powerful hardware, and provide ongoing troubleshooting while my clients' development team extends the software platform and migrates from OpenVZ to VMware, including consulting on and testing the VMware vCenter API. The start-up was retired after our client received a contract that required them to use in-house resources for a new project, and time constraints prevented further expansion on our end.
In my spare time, I design and run websites. This website is built on Foundation, a framework I enjoy hacking around with to create simple, one-to-five page websites.
Self-hosting has increasingly turned from a hobby to a necessity, as popular vendor-locked-in consumer solutions continue to retreat into business models that require both unfettered access to my personal information as well as monthly fees. To maintain my privacy, as well as to simply stop the endless cycle of being unceremoniously bounced from a familiar workflow to scramble to a new solution, I have come to enjoy the optimization of setting up services like NextCloud, Navidrome, and Mattermost.
When I'm not on the computer, I'm usually cooking, on a road trip, or wandering through the woods taking photographs with my dog.
I live and breathe remote work on the Southern coast of Oregon, with previous remote-work experience from Los Angeles and Chicago. Remote work suits my desire to concentrate in a quiet space while still utilizing collaboration and communication tools to keep in sync with my team.
This website is linked to my identity at Keybase.
To reach out to me directly, try the e-mail address me at this domain name.
Copyright © 2015-2021 Jordan Cooks.