Last updated: 30th August 2017
Next availability: January 2018.


As a Technical Consultant, I am authoritative on medium and high-end UNIX systems design and configuration. With deep and wide knowledge of operating systems, servers, storage and clusters, as well as LAN, SAN and Virtualisation, I have the knowledge and understanding to propose, design and configure high-end systems within multi-million dollar projects. I bring high levels of professionalism, commitment and attention to detail to every project. I match customer requirements with industry best practices to deliver a design and implementation which provides the best of both.

As solutions do not end with a design, I also have excellent troubleshooting skills to address any issues which may arise later on in the project lifecycle.

UK Government & Defence Security Clearance (SC) valid until 10/03/2017.

Key Technologies

  • Unix/Linux - design, configuration, performance tuning, hardening.
  • Solaris (Solaris 10 SysAdmin, Data Management, and SunCluster Certified Installer certifications)
  • RedHat Certified Engineer (RHCE) #110-278-421
  • Cluster – SunCluster, Red Hat HA, RAC, VCS - design, configuration, administration.
  • Servers - from Blades up to M9000
  • Virtualisation - VMWare, Xen, Zones, LDOM, WPAR, LPAR
  • Storage / Volume Management - NAS, DAS, SAN, Veritas, SVM, ZFS, LVM, MD - design, configuration, administration
  • Programming - Unix Shell (Bourne Shell, Bash, Ksh, etc), C, and other languages
  • DevOps - Jenkins, Puppet, Spacewalk, Git, Gerrit, Artifactory, Nexus

Recent Successes

  • Author of the Wiley book Shell Scripting: Expert Recipes for Linux, Bash and more (ISBN 1118024486). facebook.com/shellscript has over 5,000 followers.
  • Have designed and deployed the Linux strategy and infrastructure for the UK's third largest supermarket, and delivered and supported the first six projects based on that design.
  • Wrote software to format Sun iRunbook documentation for publication, which reduced a 5-week Write / Format / Review process into a 1-week Write-and-Review process, dramatically increasing the project's profitability.
  • One Sun customer's satisfaction with my E20k design directly led them to nominate Sun as their preferred supplier for high-end UNIX systems and to immediately purchase a further eight E25k servers

Work History

Jan 2016 - Present: DevOps Engineer, Thales (Contract, renewed six times)

Working across multiple projects with the Ground Transportation Systems division, providing Jenkins, Jira, Git, Gerrit, SonarQube and other services for Java, C++, C# developers using Maven and Gradle build tools for Continuous Integration (CI) and Continuous Delivery (CD).
Using Foreman / Katello, Puppet, Vagrant and VMWare to deliver and manage build environments, developer workstations and other key infrastructure across the projects.

Feb 2015 - Jan 2016: Linux Engineer, United Utilites PLC (Contract)

Working with Red Hat Satellite 6.0 (Puppet, Foreman, Katello, Pulp, etc) with Red Hat 6 and 7, Git, Kickstart, as well as Solaris 9, 10, 11 and Jumpstart. Creating and defining a new Red Hat VMware commodity platform within the existing Wintel (VMware) and Solaris (Physical Servers / Zones / LDOMs) estate. Integrating existing Solaris systems into the Puppet infrastructure.

Using DevOps methods in a traditional Enterprise environment to deliver application-ready virtual machines within 15 minutes, including application-specific customisations where required.

June 2013 - Jan 2015: DevOps Engineer, BJSS Ltd (Contract)

For a large NHS project, creating Puppet and Bash scripts to deploy, manage and maintain a large application using a complex combination of Java/Tomcat/Apache/PHP/Redis/PostgreSQL layers, into multiple environments on Red Hat and CentOS. Taking responsibility for coordinating test and deployment activities between management, developers, testers, third-party suppliers and the end customer.
Working with the V&P team to tune and configure all elements of this stack for performance and resilience, including configuring, testing, building and deploying customised OpenLDAP packages.
Consult, design, deploy, document and sign-off for multiple Red Hat High Availability clusters with EnterpriseDB for V&P, Production and DR environments.
Deploy and Smoke-Test the application into all Test/Performance environments, as well as in Production and DR environments, on internally-hosted systems, on Rackspace cloud servers, and on the customer's hosting provider's servers.
Also working with typical DevOps tools such as Git, Maven, Jenkins, Puppet and Bash.

Aug 2013 - May 2014: Build Automation Engineer (DevOps), Thales (Contract, renewed 3 times)

DevOps working with Jenkins Continuous Integration, Git, Gerrit, Shell Scripting, JBoss, Apache.

Maintaining the build ecosystem used by many teams of Java developers, and deploying to multiple environments. This involves installing, maintaining, upgrading and configuring Jenkins CI, Git, Gerrit, Shell scripts, JBoss, Apache, MySQL, GeoWebCache, Artifactory, Sonar and related technologies. Gerrit configuration with OpenID and LDAP. Working with VMWare and Spacewalk (Kickstart) to automate build of RedHat and CentOS servers.

June - July 2013: Linux Specialist, Tesco PLC (Contract)

Linux specialist providing design and strategy for a wide variety of projects across all parts of Tesco's business, on Virtual and Physical platforms. Collaborating with Storage, Network, Database and Application teams on DR, Big Data, Hadoop, Clustering, Hosting, and other projects.

December 2011 - May 2013: Infrastructure Specialist, IBM (Contract, renewed twice)

The Unix / Linux Subject Matter Expert on IBM's contract with Department for Work and Pensions. Providing expertise on RedHat Linux 4 and 5, Solaris 9 and 10, AIX 5.2-7.1 and HP-UX 11.31. Working with VMWare, Zones and LDOM, vPAR, LPAR and WPAR virtualisation technologies, on x86, SPARC, Itanium and Power hardware.

Delivering standardised, secure, best-practice builds of Operating Systems and Middleware technologies. Creating detailed and accurate documentation of requirements and installation procedures. Working with and debugging many versions and combinations of of Oracle, DB2, MySQL, Informatica, Siebel, Tomcat, Apache, Samba, Perl, JBoss, and many other technologies, from 10 year old legacy releases to cutting edge configurations.

Responsible for Defining and Documenting infrastructure standards and procedures, from user account creation and management to access control and patch management. Mentoring and training offshore resources in best practices as well as in methodologies for troubleshooting and diagnosing problems.

Supporting over 500 users across 200 OS instances, providing direct assistance with Build and Deployment, Database, Shell, Java and Perl development tasks.

June 2009 - December 2011: Linux Design Consultant, Sainsbury's (Contract, renewed 7 times)

Consultant designing and implementing a Linux infrastructure to follow on from the existing Solaris environment. I used my deep understanding of Solaris and Linux, as well as SAN, Networking, Clustering, Monitoring and Application requirements to deliver a suitable solution for the business. Defining standards, procedures and best practices for design, deployment, resilience (VCS and Oracle RAC), storage and backup strategy. Delivering documentation and training for Project, Support and Operations staff to build, use, support and extend the design. Having put all of this into place, I have guided through the next three projects - Home and Lifestyle, Pricing Promotions and Point-of-Sale and Real-Time Supply Chain using the standards and procedures provided. Continuing that project with a virtualised Linux design using VMWare.

September 2007 - June 2009: Technical Consultant, iNTEQ Professional Services

For Sun Professional Services, Sun Resellers and other partners, a technical authority providing Enterprise services specialising in design and build of Clusters, High-End Servers (E25K, M3000, M4000, M5000 to M9000) and Volume servers (CMT/Niagara T2000, T5000, X Series).

Designing and implementing Solaris and Linux systems and Clusters, Servers and Storage. Also writing technical documentation on ESX, RedHat, MySQL and other technologies for Sun.

September 2005 - September 2007: Technical Architect, EDS

Designing implementations (Solaris, HP-UX, Linux) for a large international Bank, taking this design through to obtaining quotes, arranging purchase and organising the delivery, installation and configuration of the servers across multiple environments, within EDS and Client datacentres. Providing cost models for the deployment and ongoing support of the implementation.

Similar work for a large UK government department, focusing on high-end Sun servers (E25K and SunCluster), but also dealing with the systems administrators, and with the SAN and network design in detail, coordinating across multiple internal departments to provide a single point-of-contact for the project to arrange the implementation. Working closely with multiple suppliers to design a coherent solution as well as taking a close involvement in the change management process across all environments.

I was also responsible for capacity planning, to ensure that we deployed sufficient capacity for current and planned future workloads. This involved analysing volumetrics and workflow of the application.

June 1999 - Sep 2005: Technical Consultant, Sun Microsystems (via Netops, Sun Strategic Partner)

Design, onsite installation, configuration and testing of all Sun Professional Services offerings for Sun Microsystems clients in all markets including Financial, Telco, Retail, Utility and Public Sector.

SunCluster design and installation, HA-API (aka GDS) Scripting

Full range of Sun Servers, including Netra, Enterprise, E10k, SunFire (4x00, 6x00) and StarCat (F12k,15k,20k,25k) and storage including SSAs, A1000, D1000, A5x00 and A3x00; T3, T3B, SExxx0 SAN Arrays including Hitachi HDS 9960/9970/9980 arrays, L1800, L700 Tape Libraries Veritas Volume Manager, Solstice DiskSuite, Raid Manager, Veritas Filesystem

Also responsible for all aspects of Netops' and customer internet presence, including determining security policies and procedures, installing and administrating firewall, webserver, mail server, DNS.

September 1998 - May 1999: Systems Specialist, Datel Computing Ltd

AIX and SCO Systems Specialist responsible for providing consultancy, installation, and ongoing maintenance and support of systems running on RS/6000, NetFinity and other servers. Sole company expert in SCO UNIX. Personally responsible for all aspects of the server hardware, operating system, network and networked devices.

May 1997 - September 1998: Unix Installations Engineer, Siemens Nixdorf

Unix and networking for Mercedes, Tesco, Dixons. Taking the role of a Senior Engineer, I replaced the whole network – Unix clients and servers, PCs, printers, and (Unix/X11 client) Electronic Parts Catalogue systems for a Mercedes dealership within one working day without disrupting the business. This involved co-ordinating a team of 12 engineers to complete the dealership-wide upgrade.

February - May 1997: Support Engineer, GEC Alsthom Signalling Ltd

Administration of Solaris 2.5.1, Windows NT 4 and Novell NetWare. Technical support and management of PCs plus Solaris SPARCstations. Administration and maintenance of Internet gateway, ISDN connection, Intranet including Perl CGI scripting, NIS+.

September 1996 - February 1997: PC Support Technician, Refuge Assurance PLC

As part of a team of 6, on-site helpdesk support for 600 PC users running networked Windows / NetWare. SCO UnixWare and programming of utilities for its data-entry system. Administration and installation of the NetWare servers. Responsible for virus control and backup / restore facilities.

June 1994 - June 1995: Validation Engineer, ICL (Sandwich Year as part of Degree)

Various flavours of Unix (SCO, DRS/NX, UnixWare) and Windows NT 3.5, 3.51 validation and certification, involving systems administration, hardware and software, and my specialisation in Networking - including TCP/IP, OSI, X21, V24/X25, Token Ring, UUCP, Internet Services (DNS, NNTP, etc).
Working closely with the kernel and userspace developers of DRS/NX, I was able to get involved with the development team right down to kernel level. This gave me a great insight into Unix internals. Whilst at ICL I wrote a shell script which turned a half-day task into a two-minute task.

Education / Qualifications

  • BSc. 2(i) (Honours) Computer Science, University of Hertfordshire (1996)
  • 3 A-Levels in Computer Science, Pure & Applied Mathematics, General Studies (1992)
  • 9 GCSEs including "A" in Maths & French, "B" in English Lit. and Language (1989)
  • Red Hat Certified Engineer 110-278-421
  • Sun Certified Systems Installer for Sun™ Cluster 3.x
  • Sun Certified Data Management Engineer - VxVM + SDS
  • Sun Certified System Administrator for Solaris 10 OS (Part I & II) - SR1388196

Industry Training

  • SunCluster 2.2, 3.0, 3.2
  • HDS 9970/9980 V/Lightning
  • Sun Fire 15k Admin For Sun Professional Services
  • Applied SunCluster 3.0 Technologies
  • SunCluster 3.0 API
  • SunFire 3800-15000 Server Range
  • Solstice DiskSuite (Solaris LVM) 4.2.1 Update
  • Volume Manager 3.2 Update
  • Sun SKIP, EFS, FPS Firewall
  • Sun E10000 (aka Starfire, E10k)

Other Technologies

  • Solaris: Author of tools including SMF Generator, VxVM Translator.
  • Linux: Active 1996 - Present. Creator of http://speedtouchconf.sourceforge.net/ and other projects. See also below.
  • AIX, DRS/NX, SCO OpenServer and UnixWare, HPUX, SINIX, *BSD Unix.
  • Programming: Author of SysView (was http://sysview.net/), Played the major role in porting Nwebmail to Solaris.
  • Unix / Linux Community: Author of the Bourne Shell Scripting Tutorial which is online at at http://steve-parker.org/sh/sh.shtml as well as many other articles on that site - normally ranked in the top 3 by most major search engines.
  • I also write http://nixshell.wordpress.com/, a more occasional, but widely followed *nix blog..

Personal Details