Systems Administration Portfolio
Here are a few examples of the type of work Jonathan has done as a systems administration consultant:
A small company that has been running proprietary online community software since 1993 had a major spam problem, receiving around a quarter of a million spam messages a day. The company did not have the means to purchase dedicated spam-filtering hardware that could handle this much spam, nor could they outsource their email because of the large number of email users.
Jonathan configured multiple open source anti-spam packages to work together to make the load manageable by a single server at a small fraction of the proposed $10,000 hardware solution cost, with very minimal maintenance costs.
The main order-processing server of an online retailer died one evening because of a failed hard drive, just days before a promotional mailing was due to go out.
Jonathan built and reconfigured the server from data-only backups onto a temporary server and had the site back up in less than three hours, allowing the company time to properly plan a replacement server.
Solaris Web Server Recovery
A client who relies on ad revenue from websites for his income had a Solaris server with a very complex setup. The server crashed, and the client couldn’t get it back up and was rapidly losing revenue.
Jonathan worked 13 hours straight to get the server running again.
A client offering diverse online services had several aging servers and maintenance costs were becoming a major burden. They were worried about upfront cost of replacing them but the effort and expense of consolidating all the different services onto a single server was also prohibitive.
Jonathan implemented a virtual hosting platform that provided each distinct server its own virtual hardware, allowing for minimal migration costs and a hardware cost that was roughly 50% of the proposed upgrade costs for all the servers, while providing better overall hardware to the individual servers.
Even with the best planning and foresight, eventually all servers come to the end of their usable life cycle.
Jonathan has perfected a method for server migration which eliminates data loss, allows for testing, and limits downtime to just a few minutes.
Specialized Data Processing
A client needed an online method for users to enter data remotely and gather statistics from the data. There were no usable out-of-the-box solutions that were configurable to meet the required specifications.
Jonathan quickly built a secure website in PHP with a MySQL backend that did error checking, allowing individual data enterers to input their data correctly. He also wrote a script which nightly compiles the necessary statistics. The client was relieved to avoid the hassle of finding a dedicated programmer.
Website Format Migration
A client which provides extensive online forums needed to move away from their old and insecure software without losing the current content or alienating their users.
Jonathan worked with the client to determine exactly what the replacement software should and should not do. With extensive research into available software and plugins, he finally recommended Joomla as an customizable and manageable alternative. His expertise with Joomla was helpful in aiding the client with the migration when problems arose.
Complex Software as a Service Planning
A client wanted to provide a complex Software As A Service to a large number of customers.
Jonathan researched the back-end software and hardware requirements of the software, determined that a Citrix environment would be optimal. This added additional requirements, but Jonathan was able to provide a detailed proposal which spelled out the interoperation, redundancy, and security of eight separate servers, as well as a physical colocation facility and internet connection. When broken down over three years, Jonathan’s proposal was less than 80% of the cost of a managed solution.
Server and Infrastructure Monitoring
In a shared office environment, the network, internet connection, and servers were being overloaded, frustrating all of the users. The owners of the office space needed to determine the cause of the problem and be able to monitor their hardware’s usage to forestall any further problems.
Jonathan used the open source monitoring softwares MRTG & RRDtool to map out the hardware assets and quickly find and resolve the problem. The owners were able to continue to use the software to monitor their hardware to ensure that any future problems were caught before they were detrimental.