Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Benefits of starting off in a small company

"Specialisation and inter-dependence leads to a higher standard of living" - at least that's what I claimed to have learnt in high school economics.  The statement included three terms that I had picked up during the year and had the added benefit of being the longest and most convoluted statement for the memory game that the class was playing.

I was fortunate enough to gain a broad education of the core aspects of web application development and deployment in my first "proper" job after graduating from university.

After a few years I realised that setting up servers for deployment and maintaining their security and performance settings didn't show up on the balance sheet as making the company money, so I tried to switch to be more focused on designing, developing and testing applications.

When I moved to the opposite side of the world (from New Zealand to London) I was expecting to be working within much larger organisations with experts and people who know their servers like the back of their hand.  So far I haven't encountered that.

Last week I traveled over to mainland Europe to configure production servers for the project that I have been involved in for over a year.  The idea was that the OS would already be installed and I would simply set up the application server and possibly apply some enhancements.  The combination of the installed OS being 32 bit on 64 bit hardware and my old-school approach to Linux server configuration (without any X Windows) meant that I had to re-install the OS and start from scratch.

I've seen mention of DevOps but haven't really looked into it.  So far I consider myself to have enough knowledge of any application and the environment that it is being deployed into to not have to introduce any new process into the mix.  However, I do have an ambition to appear less on the critical path of project activities.

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