Technical Knowledge

From my scientific, IT and employment experiences I have gained a vast array of technical skills and understanding in the IT field that not only cover hardware and software but also the combination to provide end-user and business IT services.

Hardware

I have a wide range of hardware knowledge that covers:

  • Dell PowerEdge servers
  • Dell PowerVault storage
  • Dell Optiplex and Precision Workstation desktops
  • Dell and Lenovo portables
  • HP ProLiant servers
  • HP MSL tape libraries
  • HP MSA storage
  • EMC VNX 2e SANs (block)
  • Brocade 6500 series FC switches
  • Polycom Lync desk phones: CX300, CX600, CX700, CX3000
  • HP zl5412 core switches
  • ZoneDirector 3000 with ZoneFlex APs
  • HP ProCurve switches
  • Cisco 2900 and 3700 series switches
  • WatchGuard XTM 535 appliance
  • Fortigate firewall appliances
  • Epson, Xerox printers
  • Axis IP cameras
  • Cisco wireless AP500 series APs
  • Ubiquiti UniFi APs

I am always reading about the latest developments and technological trends and am very confortable rooting digging deep into technical issues.

Operating Systems

I have installed, tried and worked with many operating systems – open, free and commercial, my experience covers:

  • Windows Client OS: XP Professional, Vista Business, 7 Enterprise, 10 (testing)
  • Windows Server OS: all versions from 2003 through 2012 R2, (2016 testing)
  • Ubuntu Linux and RHEL
  • Apple Mac OS X 10.3 “Panther” through 10.12 “Sierra”

I am very proficient with the Windows range of desktop and server operating systems, including the differences between the myriad versions and editions.

Software

I have direct knowledge of a wide range of software that includes:

Developer Services

  • Team Foundation Server 2008, 2010, 2013 (testing), including Team Foundation Build services
  • Microsoft Release Management Service (testing)
  • TeamCity Enterprise Server
  • Octopus Deploy
  • Mantis Bug Tracking System

Database Services

  • SQL Server instance and database administration
  • SQL Server Reporting Services

Collaborative Platforms

  • SharePoint Services 3.0
  • SharePoint Server 2010 Foundation, Standard, Enterprise
  • SharePoint Foundation 2013
  • Search Server Express 2010
  • Office Web Apps 2010
  • Outlook Business Contact manager 2010
  • Project Server 2010
  • MediaWiki on Windows and Linux stacks
  • DokuWiki on Windows
  • Umbraco CMS
  • MailList Controller
  • FileVista web-based file transfer service

Unified Communications

  • Exchange Server 2003, 2007 (all roles except Edge), 2010 (all roles except Edge, UM)
  • Office 365 including peripheral features such as Skype for Business
  • Microsoft Lync Server Standard 2010 all services, including Enterprise Voice with UM, IM, conferencing, federation
  • BlackBerry Express Server 4.x
  • hMailServer

Monitoring, Maintenance and Support

  • HP Systems InSight Manager
  • Dell OpenManage Essentials
  • HP System Management Homepage
  • Dell OpenManage Server Administrator
  • Diskeeper 2010, 2011, 2012
  • Opsview Community Network Monitoring System
  • Check_MK (Nagios-based) Monitoring System
  • PRTG Network Monitoring
  • EMC Unisphere for SAN management
  • BatchPatch for Microsoft Updates
  • NinitePro for common third-party applications
  • Spiceworks
  • FortiAnalyzer
  • Syslog aggregation

Security and Data Protection

  • Symantec Endpoint Protection 11.x, 12.x
  • Symantec Messaging Gateway 10.x
  • Symantec Mail Protection for Exchange Server 6.x, 7.x
  • Sophos Endpoint Protection
  • Sophos Endpoint Encryption
  • Sophos Email Gateway Appliance
  • Data Protection Manager 2007, 2010
  • Commvault Simpana 10 R2 with OnePass Archiving
  • ISA Server Standard 2004, 2006
  • Forefront Threat Management Gateway 2010 Standard and Enterprise Array
  • Fortigate Firewalls with FortiOS 5.2 and 5.4 in HA
  • KEMP network load balancing with ESP in HA
  • ManageEngine AD Audit Plus
  • ManageEngine Exchange Reporter Plus

Support Services

  • Quest Password Manager 5.x
  • OTRS Help Desk (testing)
  • ManageEngine Service Desk Plus

Client Software

  • Microsoft Office 2010, 2013
  • Microsoft Project 2010
  • Microsoft Visio 2010
  • WatchGuard Fireware OS
  • XMind mind-mapping

In most cases my experience comes from migrating systems from one platform to another or from implementing a new service that involves installing, configuring and subsequently supporting the platform.

IT Migrations

I have extensive experience in migrating legacy, dated hardware and software platforms to modern technology as part of an IT lifecycle management policy.

  • Active Directory: from 2003 → 2003 R2 → 2008 R2
  • Internal Root CA/PKI: old Root CA decommissioned and new SHA512 Root CA created
  • Exchange Server: from 2003 single server → 2003 from and back-end → 2007 CCR → 2010 DAG (testing)
  • ISA Server/Forefront Threat Management Gateway: from ISA 2004 → 2006 → TMG 2010 Enterprise Array
  • Team Foundation Server: from 2008 → 2010 → 2013 (testing)
  • Lync Server (unified communications): from legacy analogue PBX to a full unified communications system with Lync Server 2010
  • Virtual Server and Hyper-V: from Virtual Server 2005 → 2005 R2 → Hyper-V v1 → v2 → v3
  • Data Protection Manager: new implementation of DPM 2005 → 2007 → 2010 (testing)
  • SharePoint: new implementation of SharePoint Services 3.0 → SharePoint Foundation 2007 → 2010
  • MediaWiki: from legacy version through to latest, including upgrade of PHP and MySQL stack and platform
  • Project Server: new implementation of Project Server 2007 → 2010
  • Symantec Endpoint Protection: new implementation of v11 → v12

Implementing an IT lifecycle policy ensures the business continues to benefit from and take advantage of the latest technologies and services available and not become increasingly at risk from legacy infrastructure.

Technology Exposure

Essential Infrastructure

  • Active Directory: multi-site, resilient, cross-forest trust (testing)
  • Group Policy
  • DNS: internal, external, split-brain, resilient multi-master and master/slave
  • DHCP: single, split scope and clustered (testing)
  • KMS software activation service
  • Internal PKI, AIA and HTTP CDP points and OCSP service
  • Hyper-V virtualisation
  • DFS name space storage infrastructure
  • DFS-R file storage for site resilience
  • IP: filtering, routing, subnets, (S-)(D-)NAT, CIDR, VLANs, trunking, standards, IPv4, IPv6 (testing), convergence, QOS
  • Active-Active, Active-Passive, mirrored, stretched data-centre, load-balanced, clustering high availability technologies
  • Storage technologies: Server 2012 R2 storage (testing), ZFS (testing), de-duplication, traditional RAID

Remote Access

  • RemoteApp and Web Access Gateway (Terminal Services)
  • VPN: PPTP, L2TP (PSK and certificate), SSTP, site-to-site tunnels (PSK and certificate)
  • DirectAccess (testing)
  • Exchange 2007 CCR, 2010 and 2013 DAG, OWA, ActiveSync access and policies, Outlook Anywhere, UM mailbox attendant
  • IIS 6, 7.5, 8
  • IIS 7.5 FTP, SFTP

Infrastructure Management

  • WSUS patch management
  • Microsoft Deployment Toolkit for use with WDS
  • WDS service for PXE/network deployment of images
  • Full and secure Lights-Out remote management with Dell iDRAC 4,5,6 and HP iLO 2
  • PowerShell for light scripting, automation and management

Security and Authentication

  • RADIUS for 802.11x authentication with WPA-2 Enterprise
  • Secure SSL/TLS and authentication (client certificate, Kerberos and constrained delegation, managed service accounts, Windows Extended Protection)
  • Microsoft BitLocker
  • RADIUS, LDAP(S) and Active Directory authentication integration for single sign-on for various services
  • Unified threat management at the network edge e.g. service proxy, HTTP(S)inspection, IPS, NIS, application control, URL filtering
  • Host-based IPSec
  • Secure exposure of DNS, SMTP and web services with edge/firewall reverse proxies and SSL bridging
  • Client segregation in secure environments
  • Security: encryption by default, inspection, monitoring, protection for in-transit and static data
  • Endpoint policy and management for desktops, laptops, BYOD
  • Backup and disaster recovery planning
  • Business continuity (with IT as a role)
  • Team lead/management
  • IT candidate interviews
  • Early identification of potentially serious issues
  • Capacity and scalability planning
  • IT strategy development for business
  • Pro-active IT equipment and service maintenance
  • Continuous IT, infrastructure and process review and improvement
  • Migration from legacy services, equipment and technologies
  • Transformational improvements
  • Research of new technology areas and development as appropriate
  • Leveraging the most from existing investments
  • Accurate, beautiful documentation
  • Interface between management and IT, business and IT operations
  • Service troubleshooting and problem resolution
  • Full IT service life-cycle e.g. conception, research, budgeting, procurement, testing, deployment, documentation, support, improvement
  • IT hardware life-cycle, including secure decommissioning and disposal
  • IT project management
  • Office desk re-layout – IT role
  • Office re-location – IT role
  • Microsoft enterprise licensing programs: Open Value, Select, Enterprise Agreement
  • Software licensing compliance
  • Supplier and service vendor management

Keeping up-to-date

IT progresses rapidly, which is why it is important to stay ahead and learn new technologies in hardware and software as they are developed. I enjoy browsing online technology sites (/., wired, ArsTechnica, InfoWorld the Register and Inquirer) and reading reviews of new products and software, I keep myself informed of new developments, particularly in the x86 hardware and software world.

A powerful computer at home along with the availability of evaluation software allows me to have a complex testing environment in which I can research new technologies, experiment with differing configurations and topologies and safely learn and expand on my skills in an isolated  environment.

The rewards for keeping abreast of new technologies is being able to implement new and improved services that give direct and tangible business benefits such as:

  • a more stable, resilient, dependable service
  • reduced costs for support and maintenance
  • improved productivity from new features
  • improved security and better compliance
  • increased business agility
  • improved user and client perception

I believe modern and well maintained IT systems give a business a distinct competitive advantage over its rivals.