• Seven years

    Feb 9, 2018

    About Seven years ago I started at Stack Overflow. Today, with mixed emotions I am leaving Stack Overflow for my next adventure. I am both sad to leave a great company, and great people. At the same time, I am excited to take on a new and bigger challenge.


  • Change Control using Git(lab)

    Feb 10, 2016

    Pre-amble and thoughts on Change Control

    If you just want the cool details you can skip to the good stuff I am a strong believer in change control. It allows for many good things to be done with a well run IT organization. The top three things that come to mind are accountability, reliability and review-ability (I think i’m making that last word up). There are all good things to have. Many people have come before me to praise change control and that is not what I want this post to be about. I want to talk about the change control process that we are starting to use at Stack Exchange. A process that I believe addresses some of the most common complaints and push back on implementing a change control system I hear. A good place to start would be to lay out exactly what those common complaints are.


  • Updating VMWare Clusters without DRS

    Jun 16, 2014

    One of the pieces of the vSphere Enterprise license is DRS. Especially the ability to use DRS to one-click upgrade/update a cluster. If you don’t know what DRS is, the short version is that it is a product you get with the Enterprise license which allows you to have vSphere move VMs around intelligently. One of the added bonuses you get is the ability to evacuate a VM. When you combine that with vSphere Update Manager you get a one-click and an hour later you’re done upgrade of your cluster.


  • LOPSA Board - My Candidate Statement

    May 2, 2014

    A little about me

    Hi, I’m George and I’m running for one of the open seats on the LOPSA Board. I’ve been involved in LOPSA for about four years now. I’ve been involved with the NYC local since it started, and have been part of the LOPSA-EAST (Formally PICC) committee for the past three years. I’ve been working as a System Administrator for the last 14 years. Currently I’m an SRE at Stack Exchange. I believe that this organization has a lot of promise to be a leader in the field of system administration and would like to be part of those that have been entrusted by the membership to guide the organization to that position.


  • How Stack Exchange gets the most out of HAProxy

    Mar 25, 2014

    At Stack Exchange we like to two two, well no three things. One, we love living on the bleeding edge and making use of awesome new features in software. Two, we love configuring the hell out of everything we run which leads to three - getting the absolute most performance out of the software that we run.


  • Fun With PowerShell, WS-MAN, and Dell Servers

    Feb 26, 2014

    Recently I’ve been playing with using the WS-MAN protocol to gather information (and eventually run updates) on our Dell servers. It has actually been a fairly insteresting project after I got through the pretty high learning curve to get started using WS-MAN.

    First, what is WS-MAN? It’s a management standard developed by the DTMF. What it really boils down to is giving us the ability to access and manipulate CIM providers via HTTP calls.

    One of the interesting things Dell did with their systems in the past two generations (Gen 11 and 12) is to add something they call the Life Cycle controller. They did not really make much information known on what you can do with it, or even how to really use it.


  • Puppet Workflow with Vagrant

    Jul 25, 2013

    I’ve spent a good deal of my time working with puppet over the last few years. And like most other things I’ve spent some time trying to optimize my workflow to avoid the annoying things. Just like anything else developing a good workflow for puppet has taken some time and I’d like to share the workflow that we have come to use over at Stack Exchange that seems to be pretty-darn-good.


  • Time Flies

    Sep 26, 2012

    Excuse me for a bit while I get a little sentimental. Tomorrow (the 27th of September) marks my two year anniversary with Stack Exchange - it was still called Stack Overflow Internet Services when I joined! I realized this about two or three weeks ago when I was setting up my trip to Denver for the Opening Party. It just amazes me how quickly time flies when you are having fun.


  • Getting the most out of your Sysadmin team

    Jun 4, 2012

    In the past 10 years or so I’ve worked under pretty much all your basic boss types. I’ve seen how people react to different stimuli and managerial styles.  Just like with our programmer cousins we sysadmins can be a peculiar type of person, who isn’t easily managed in the “traditional” style that is still pervasive though out the business world. We are the type of people that are really good at analyzing a problem, and thinking of - sometime very creative - ways to get around the problem.


  • Levels of Interruption - How Important Is What You are Asking me?

    Mar 22, 2012

    Communication is an important thing in any team environment, and part of communication is realizing how your chose form of contact interrupts the other people on your team.

    Generally we get interrupted multiple times a day via our various means of communication. Generally we are available via: Phone (both land line and cell), IM, Group Chat (IRC/MSN/Skype/etc or some web based chat system), and email. We will get incomming messages via all of these mediums in a day, and need to prioritize, respond (or ignore) and action each one of these requests. Each different way of getting in touch with me brings along an implicit level of importance as well as a speed of action type identifier.


  • Where are all the SysAdmins?

    Feb 14, 2012

    I had a great - albeit brief - conversation with Matt Simmons while he was in town on his world tour in NYC recently that got me thinking about bringing the SysAdmin community together.

    This isn’t the first time that I’ve thought about how bring the SysAdmin community together in a stronger way. And, since I’ve joined Stack Exchange I’ve thought about it more and more since community building is a big part of what we do here. The working theories are that there are a large portion of our community in the small business sector - places like regional ISPs that have a large need for administrators, but aren’t that big in the grand scheme of things. But it seems that a good deal of system administrators aren’t involved in the community at all - or at least not in a visible way. There are a few questions that come to mind when you start to think about how to grow and solidify a community:

    • How do I reach these people
    • How do I get them involved The problem I’m having now, is simply I don’t really have any ideas on how to accomplish these goals, how to reach out and bring people into the wonderful community that is being built. I shall keep mulling this over, but if you have any ideas - leave them in the comments below.

  • *Shudder* DevOps

    Feb 6, 2012

    I think the first time I heard the term DevOps I didn’t think all that much about it, in fact I vaguely remember thinking “oh great another group of developers that think they don’t need sysadmins and they can just code themselves out of any systems problem.” Of course, at the time I was working in a soul crushing job, with incompetent programmers who thought their job was to push out code and as long as it ran on their laptop everything was just fine. So, I may have had a slightly … jaded view of things. At that point I just put my head back down and got back to work.


  • There is No Such Thing as Too Complex

    Aug 12, 2011

    This is a crazy idea, but it’s true there really is no such thing as too complex in an IT environment. If you take a moment to think about it, everything we do is incredibly complex. Really, just take a moment to think about it. There is not one thing that you do as a Systems Administrator that isn’t complex.


  • SysAdminTools - Making Our Lives Easier

    Jul 29, 2011

    First, it is SysAdmin Day! So happy sysadmin day to all of those hardworking sysadmins out there. I’ve had a project that I wanted to get off the ground for a while now. In fact, I think of it every time I move jobs, or start working on a project and think “wow this could be really useful to the other sysadmins out there.”


  • The End of A Long Commute

    Mar 31, 2011

    I am nearing the end of my long daily commute from Philadelphia to New York City. The end result hasn’t been too bad, although over the past six months the daily hour and a half commute has worn on me at times. My journey started when I took my current position at Stack Exchange as a Systems Administrator in their New York offices.


  • Full Featured Email using powershell

    Mar 25, 2011

    Note: This is copied (thank you wayback machine) from a previous incarnation of my blog. I was very sad when I realized this post was gone, then very happy when wayback machine had it A little while ago i spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to send an email that fulfilled the following requirements: Multiple Recipients Attached File Meaningful Subject Sent without an external executable Thanks to powershell’s ability to access .Net libraries, this is a fairly simple, however not quite so well explained - at least that i could find - process. Let us start simply, with the basic SMTPClient Object, and setting the Server Variables, settings, etc. The most basic way to configure your server is to simple create a.Net System.Net.Mail.smtpClient object, and set the email server hostname, taking the defaults.


  • And we are back

    Feb 28, 2011

    After about a year off from writing on a personal blog, i’ve decided that I should really do this things again - for reals this time.  Being inspired by the writing I’m doing for my job, and the fact I’m actually missing doing this - along with about 30,000 things i’ve been thinking about and keep saying “I need to write this down somewhere.” I’ve finally decided to jump back into the fray.

    This is probably my third or fourth time i’ve gone around this loop, writing, not writing. And amazingly through everything my domain has always been available to me.

    I’ll be taking the next few days/weeks to get the blog to a state that makes me happy, as well as to start to just write.

    And really this is placeholder text so there isn’t a 404 on the front page.

Categories
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