Douglas Mitchell

I am an expert in all areas relating to managing complex computing environments, from the initial specification of hardware and software to meet customer and user requirements through the acquisition, configuration and maintenance of those hardware and software components to produce a computing environment. Specific experience includes environments based upon both UNIX and Microsoft servers. I have expertise in the Perl scripting language as a programmer, and project leader. My specialty is the manipulation of electronic text through the use of regular expressions. Other current programming experience includes: UNIX scripting languages especially bash, and bourne shells, awk, and sed. Applications supported with these skills include systems administrative tasks such as server cluster management, tape backup, disk management, mirroring of file-systems, auto-shutdown, remote management, and the collection of network/systems performance data.

After earning my Bachelor of Science Degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Akron, I worked as a Software Engineer coding programs in C on UNIX and VaxVMS systems for HRB Systems (Later acquired by the Raytheon Corporation).  My engineering background had prepared me to craft software always keeping in mind the hardware limitations and strengths of the computers on which that software executes. 

While I was hired to be a programmer for the National Technology Transfer Center (NTTC); I soon was performing Systems Administration full time by putting the NTTC on the Internet; estabishing a leased line connection to the University of WV and configuring our Cisco router.  My time with the NTTC was also the start of my fascination with the use of regular expressions in manipulating electronic text and the first time I installed an obscure open source operating system called Linux (Slackware – from floppies!).  I was made a Manager of Information Technology at the NTTC, establishing the IT department for this organization; hiring staff, developing policies and disaster recovery plans, and I oversaw the physical move of the NTTC servers to a building which was built for the NTTC on the campus of Wheeling Jesuit University.

I then worked for two Internet startup companies, CLAIRVOYANCE and Arsenal Digital Solutions.  For CLAIRVOYANCE, I established an IT department this time to support C++ software development, and I facilitated the transition of the company from UNIX software development to software development on Microsoft Windows. For Arsenal Digital Solutions, I performed systems administration, and technical sales support as well as leading Perl software scripting projects which developed utilities to manage and monitor Veritas Netbackup installations, and to extract information about billable tape backup events which in turn were loaded into an Oracle database.

From 2004 to 2008, I provided systems support for companies in Retail trade; Family Video and Abt Electronics. For Family Video, I had the opportunity to maintain hundreds of servers, performing tens of thousands of retail operations every day.  I designed the Linux installations on the store servers to support a new point of sale system, and created the process where the old point of sale (POS) system data was ported to these new servers via Perl and shell scripting, which reconfigured the Linux system so that non-technical sales staff were able to manage this transition with minimal technical support from the corporate headquarters. I also developed a series of systems administration tools for performing tape backups, and restoring Family Video Linux store installations from those backups.

Abt Electronics is an electronics and appliance superstore. I maintained the AIX servers on which the point of sale (POS) and warehouse inventory systems operate. Sales staff wrote sales via PHP interfaces which were developed in-house for the Oracle based POS. I also maintained several Red Hat Linux servers which host the Abt Electronics Ecommerce website and MySQL databases to support Internet sales. I introduced to Abt a systematic methodology for web site development; configuring specific development and QA web server environments. This allowed new flat content and market targeting searches to be developed and tested before being promoted to Production.

Multiplan gave me the opportunity to return to supporting software development in that the java applications used to process and reprice medical insurance claims were all developed and maintained in-house. I supported both Solaris 9/10 and RHEL/Oracle Enterprise 4/5 servers. Much of my time at Multiplan was used in maintaining the complex eSuite development, Capacity Lab, QA, and Production java development environments. The eSuite applications executed in a Web Logic clustered configuration, however I also maintained several standalone Tomcat instances as well. I also had an opportunity to administer a growing VMWare installation as Multiplan was transitioning their physical Dell PowerEdge systems to virtual RHEL and Oracle Enterprise Linux servers on five VMWare clusters.

With OptionsCity, and after the merger Vela, I have continued supporting software management coupled with operations management of the commodies trading platform City Trader. There are only three of us on the City Trader team, and we are responsible for everything from L2 support to adding trading products, new feature development, both web and mobile client applications, and the backend trading platform which has been developed as a distributed Application Programming Interface (City-API) which executes on the Amazon Web Services (AWS) virtual private cloud. I am build manager, and the operations department; having developed my own Nagios tests which provide continuous monitoring of our environment. I have also developed scripting which launches additional City-API instances depending on server loading and/or response latency on our AWS load balancers.

Now that I have founded Auspicious Clouds Computing LLC, I am eager to add more clients to my constulting practice. The Amazon Web Services environments can leverage the efforts of very small development teams, providing the server, and network access to the Internet that was once only available to large heavily capitalized companies. The ablility to only pay for those computing resources that are being used can be a tremendous advantage to technical teams if they can utilize them to their benefit.

Doug Mitchell's Résumé PDF Format
White Paper: A Technique for Calculating Computer/User Administrative Support Requirements
White Paper: Deploying Technology Across the Enterprise, Seven General Principals for Successful IT Projects
Presentation: Zen and the Art of Systems Administration