Cirrius Tech - An Introduction

| Jan 4, 2019

My Background

I am a lifelong technology enthusiast, having worked in Financial Services IT for more than 20 years, across multiple disciplines including:

  • Unisys MCP-based mainframe platforms (A17/A19/HMP NX 6800/Libra 180/Libra 6xx/Libra 890)
  • EMC Symmetrix storage arrays (DMX 3/4 and most recently VMAX) including experience of SRDF(S), SRDF(A), BCV
  • Windows Server (2000 through 2012)
  • Various Linux/Unix OSes (HP-UX/RHEL/Centos) including experience of GFS/GFS2 SAN storage clustering
  • Virtual Tape Server technology (B&L/Crossroads/ETI Net SPHiNX, TSM)
  • Automation/Scripting (PowerShell, NT Batch, DOS, Bash, OPAL)
  • Security (Privileged Access Management, Encryption, Password Management)
  • Business Continuity/Disaster Recovery (Design/Implementation/Operations)

I’ve been involved in and led major projects including mainframe infrastructure/network/storage design and implementation, mainframe integration with Windows Server and Linux/Unix, transatlantic datacentre migration (swing) and local data centre migration (lift and shift).

Why write a blog?

I’ve always had a keen interest in technology beyond that which is core to my day job - I’m very definitely some sort of hybrid geek/nerd.

Be willing to be a beginner every single morning. – Meister Eckhart

I’ve always benefitted from the insight of other tech bloggers and feel it is now time to give back, as I embark upon a learning journey many others are also making.

As well as recording what I’ve learned for my own reference, if I can help others along the way, that is reward in itself.

And coming from a mainframe background, I have a different mindset/approach that may have value for someone else.

In this blog I will share what I’ve already learned (not just in relation to cloud, but many aspects of enterprise and hobbyist IT, Security etc) and also what I learn along the way - I hope you will find it useful!

Feel free to provide feedback through the comments, whether praise, critique, or query.

Why Cloud?

Apart from satisfying the not-so-inner geek, there’s method to my madness:

  • the IT industry (and those who rely heavily on it - which is most industries these days) are increasingly moving to cloud/hybrid cloud solutions
  • companies increasingly want the agility and time to market that cloud solutions offer
  • nobody wants to invest in anything that is perceived as legacy (and in my day job, I lead a team responsible for the smooth running of a legacy platform)
  • Unisys are delivering well on a roadmap that sees them offer their entire ClearPath mainframe product line entirely as a software defined solution (no proprietary/bespoke hardware needed, opening the door to running it in a cloud environment) within the next couple of years

In short, why not cloud?

How did you get started ”in the cloud”?

I’m primarily a visual/kinetic learner - I absorb knowledge best by seeing and do things, so before embarking on training courses, I knew I needed to actually use/build cloud solutions.

At about the same time, I was lucky enough to spot a colleague commenting on a LinkedIn post from Microsoft offering limited places on a Hands-On Azure Infrastructure Workshop at the Microsoft Technology Centre (MTC) in Edinburgh, just a short train ride away.

I signed up, and had a fantastic day building some highly resilient infrastructure in the Microsoft Azure cloud, using the Azure Portal, Azure Resource Manager (ARM) templates, but also Infrastructure As Code (IAC) using AZ CLI and PowerShell cmdlets.

I also made some great connections on the day (and via LinkedIn) that continue to inform and stimulate my learning.

My appetite was now well and truly whetted and alongside using some great training resources (which I will blog about separately), I was keen to build my own infrastructure, but with projects that mean something to me - I find that sitting down to build something for the sake of building something just doesn’t stimulate me as much as having a problem to solve or a project I’m invested in.

So I created a blog on Azure using Grav CMS in an App Service Web App and ported over content from a community site I run on Google Sites for a residents group. That then led to me starting my own blog. The rest, as they say, is history!

My main focus at present when it comes to cloud is predominately Microsoft Azure, with Google Cloud Platform and Amazon Web Services or AWS of interest also, as well as other cloud infrastructure services such as those provided by CloudFlare.

Why Azure?

The main reason for Azure as a starting point for me is that I’m already familiar with the UI, and there is just so many great resources out there (from Microsoft themselves as well as Pluralsight, bloggers etc) that it made sense for me personally.

In this blog I will share what I’ve already learned (not just in relation to cloud) and also what I learn along the way - I hope you will find it useful!

Why Cirrius Tech?

The default for many tech bloggers seems to be to just have a domain name based on your own name. However, I learned many years ago that I share my name with a well known dance music DJ. That means that getting a domain name with a reasonably well known TLD like .com or was going to be either impossible (.com is already taken), prohibitively expensive or just plain confusing for anyone searching for one Graham Gold and finding the other.

The site name/title reflects my interest in technology, my interest in cloud technologies (Cirrious) and is also a slight play on words - Cirrius/Serious - I’m serious about IT but that’s not to say there won’t be any personality and humour thrown in along the way.

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