Adam Spiers


e-mail: cv@adamspiers.org

Experience | Technical skills | Education | Publications | Miscellaneous | Referees

Profile

Senior Software and Systems Architect/Engineer with a wide range of experience. Excellent interpersonal/group communication and teamwork skills. Highly self-motivated, with first-class analytical, design and problem-solving skills. Particular passion for design, building and application of automation tools and methodologies which rapidly accelerate processes and optimize environments whilst maintaining strict quality standards.

Experience

January 2012 to date

Worked on SUSE Linux Enterprise High Availability Extension, including new Booth Ticket Manager for multi-site clustering. Helped design and implement new SUSE Cloud product based on OpenStack and Dell Crowbar.

June 2012 to December 2012

Took a sabbatical to resume musical studies. Carried on coding on various F/OSS projects and personal projects during this time in order to keep skills sharp. Became maintainer of GNU Stow.

August 2009 to June 2011
Senior Software Consultant, Systems and Resource Management Product Engineering, Novell Inc.

Engineering and architecture of PlateSpin Orchestrate, a Java- and Jython-based, HPC-enabled data centre automation platform providing the core orchestration backend component of Novell Cloud Manager, which manages the lifecycle of virtual/physical assets within heterogeneous data centres.

  • Remote working member of core engineering team, largely self-trained on a huge codebase (over 4 million lines) due to timezone differences and travel budget limitations.
  • Primary owner and developer of the product's fully automated build/test framework. Author and primary owner of the product's automated testing strategy roadmap. Introduced a modernized approach to unit testing of legacy code involving TestNG, Mockito, and PowerMock. Designed and implemented a heuristic recognition algorithm for tracking frequencies of integration test failure scenarios.
  • Helped analyse and resolve issues during major upgrade of the product's customized Jython engine from 2.1 to 2.5 (e.g. heap dump analysis to identify PermGen memory leaks).
  • Introduced git and decentralized development and testing workflows to the team, which resulted in 100% passes on the first test run after merging the Jython 2.5 upgrade back into the trunk.
  • Acts as primary contact point for third-line support of all EMEA customers and partners, and has represented the product at EMEA-wide and global conferences. Built a showcase demonstrating how the product can be used in a Green IT scenario to dynamically optimise thermal airflow within a data centre, via automated physical relocation of virtual workloads according to policies based on temperature sensor data.
December 2006 to July 2009

Operated on many strategic and SSO-oriented tactical projects within the UK. Specialising in, but not limited to, data-centre topics such as virtualization, high availability and disaster recovery, migrations from UNIX to SUSE Linux Enterprise, interoperability and heterogeneous systems management, policy-based automation and the dynamic ("adaptive") data-centre, and SUSE Linux Enterprise Real Time (SLERT) and low-latency infrastructure.

November 2005 to December 2006
Senior Linux/FOSS Architect, EMEA Linux SWAT Team (LST), Novell, Inc.

Sole UK architect of LST, operating on many strategic and SSO-oriented tactical projects within the UK and across EMEA.

  • Active in many major named UK accounts, particularly in the financial and telco verticals. Have engaged directly to help large clients relate to Novell's data-centre vision and existing product range, handling introductions to new technology, specific technical objections, business process issues etc.
  • Close technical collaboration with other LST architects on SLES, SLED, Xen, NLPOS, HASF, SLERT etc.
  • Provided support on deep technical issues, PoCs, benchmarks etc. to area/geo Technical Specialists and Consultants.
  • Acted as area's primary technical interface/escalation point into R&D and PBU for Linux and F/OSS issues, both internally and for clients/partners.
  • Supported Client Executives/Managers in their understanding of many topics, e.g. specific technologies/products, the F/OSS community, patent/license issues, GTM models, industry trends/sweet-spots, partnering processes, etc.
  • Participated in key marketing events, e.g. LinuxWorld, SLE10 launch, Gartner conferences.
  • Technical collaboration with and training of key IHV/ISV partners.
  • Primary EMEA technical contact for SUSE Linux Enterprise Real Time.
September 2002 to November 2005
Senior Systems Engineer, Linux/UNIX Engineering, Lehman Brothers

Originally recruited as primary EMEA Linux specialist to a team responsible for engineering, deploying, and maintaining builds of Linux on x86 hardware (including Egenera BladeFrames) for use with mission-critical, highly-available production applications stacks migrated from Solaris/SPARC. Subsequently merged with UNIX team, and later chosen as founder member of European Infrastructure and Architecture Engineering team.

  • Primary EMEA representative of tightly-knit virtual team responsible for global Linux builds.
  • Designed, implemented, and maintained sophisticated OO engine and toolset for parallelized scheduling/execution of arbitrary jobs (including components for Kerberos-/ssh-based remote distribution).
  • Designed, implemented, and maintained a host-grouping database, facilitating automated administration of large machine clusters defined by flexible rules based on Boolean set logic.
  • Designed, implemented and maintained a complete, centrally administered, policy-based rpm distribution system, which successfully controlled synchronisation of all software installed (from OS-level to application-level), and additionally controlled all site-specific configuration. Coupled with PXE/DHCP/KickStart booting technology, allowing any system to be completely rebuilt to its previous state within minutes, much faster than any restore from backup tape.
  • Took part in a long-term project reviewing architecture of all tier 1 European applications specifically with regards to high availability and disaster recovery. Played a key part in designing and implementing automated server-based test suite to improve review turn-over.
  • Heavy involvement with engineering of roll-out of Opsware and related custom tools/infrastructure for workflow-based deployment and configuration of custom in-house applications.
  • Built several task automation and verification tools including shell-based domain language facilitating configuration management and test suites.
  • Worked closely with vendors on many issues at the hardware, application, system, and kernel levels.
  • Assisted with a cost-cutting server consolidation project.
  • Lead engineer on team responsible for certifying, supporting and maintaining highly customised firm-wide production builds of Perl (including several hundred CPAN modules).
  • Worked with storage management team on enablement of SAN/NAS connectivity from Linux machines to EMC/Network Appliance systems, from cabling/driver configuration to volume manager software etc.
  • Established intranet web-based solution for issue tracking, knowledge base building, and process/procedure documentation. Provided full suite of procedures to SA teams relating to Linux builds and support thereof.
  • Provided support to developers involved in porting applications from Solaris.
1995 to date
Voluntary part-time developer and quality assurance engineer
on many Open Source and Free Software projects
  • Was allocated stock in both Red Hat and VA Linux prior to their IPOs in recognition of significant contributions to Linux community. Only a few hundred engineers world-wide were hand-selected for each of these.
  • Acknowledged in credits for majority of Linux and Perl installations in the world.
  • Have discovered and helped fix many system-level bugs in various Linux distributions and software.
  • Have run Linux constantly at home since early days of Slackware 2, Red Hat 3.0.3, and 1.2.x kernels.
  • Long-distance collaboration on shared code bases via git, svn, CVS etc., and online discussion forums. Experienced in lucid written communication on complex technical issues via e-mail and newsgroups.
1999 to September 2002

guideguide (formerly known as mediaconsult) develops customer-driven "e-publishing" websites for high-profile partners in specific sectors of German market. Technologies used included traditional LAMP stack, XML, Java, NAS.

  • Performed and supervised design, implementation and maintenance of many complex object-oriented (OO) class hierarchies within a large code base (~275,000 lines).
  • Promoted use of eXtreme Programming (XP) methodologies, e.g.:
    • Established code quality guidelines and review process.
    • Developed comprehensive test suite in conjunction with PerlUnit testing framework.
    • Performed extensive refactoring of problematic legacy code.
  • Created/maintained several CPAN modules in conjunction with project.
  • Built several automation tools to increase efficiency of development (e.g. automatic configuration of complex in-house Apache/mod_perl setups, tools for code integration, mysqldiff).
  • Ensured increased reliability of production servers via automated online testing.
  • Administered and optimized MySQL databases (~40,000 users).
  • Administered bugzilla bug-tracking database, and integrated it with existing source control systems.
  • Compiled, installed and supported many development tools.
  • Built and administered powerful subsystem for dynamic image generation to improve customer-based customizability.
  • Set up a shared documentation system on the intranet.
1999

W3 WebSolutions Ltd. designed, implemented and hosted dynamic websites for clients with a wide range of required applications.

  • Replaced problematic old servers with completely new Red Hat Linux systems.
  • Installed, configured and maintained services including MySQL, Apache with PHP and SSL extensions, wu-ftpd, sendmail, and bind DNS server.
  • Built CGI interfaces in Perl for DNS and sendmail virtual domain configuration, giving customers control of their own domains.
1996 to 1998

Was offered this post as a result of the college's recognition of the substantial improvement to the quality of their IT facilities through my voluntary work during the last two years of my degree there. Achievements/responsibilities included:

  • Administration of UNIX (in particular Linux) systems, the college's web server and website, and services for scientific-oriented students: sshd, sendmail, qmail, IMAP, POP3 and FTP daemons, Apache, MySQL etc.
  • Installation and maintenance of a UNIX-based request tracking database to keep on top of all the technical support requests received from students and administrative staff.
  • Supervision of and participation in installation of college-wide Cat 5 ethernet cabling, including router/switch/firewall configuration.
  • IT budget responsibility.
  • Complete installation and management of a Novell Netware network for ~700 users integrated with Windows and Mac clients.
  • University-wide collaboration with other departmental and collegiate IT professionals to improve the university's IT infrastructure.
Summer 1996
Intern, Nuclear Medicine department, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota

The Mayo Clinic is the largest private health clinic in the world.

  • Enabled fast, site-wide access to various nuclear medicine imaging techniques and static content via the clinic's intranet.

Technical skills

Education

1993-96 New College, Oxford University
Mathematics and Computation degree: Academic Exhibitioner and B.A. Hons 2(ii)
1988-93
Shrewsbury School, Shrewsbury, Shropshire
1993: A grades in 5 A-Levels; Special Paper in Mathematics (grade 1).
1991: A grades in 10 GCSEs
1988: Top Academic and Top Music Entrance Scholarships

Publications

Miscellaneous skills/interests

Referees

Available on request.