Pros: benefits, 401k matching, working from home occasionally, persona time off, yearly bonuses, willing to promote and hire from within the company
Cons: sometimes poor planning, no incentive for being on-call, poor planning by others increasing our workload
1. A typical day of work for me starts with me at work at 2:30pm, this is because I work second shift.
Once all the second shift engineers arrive, the first shift engineers go over the CR (Computer Room) / Data Center work for that day. We are not allowed to start CR work until 4:35pm which is a half hour after the markets close.
If its a Tuesday – more... all infrastructure engineers on my time have a meeting to discuss any issues, how/when/what any projects coming down the pipeline. This meeting is new because my previous manager was let go recently, and the new manager is trying to stream line the work and provide everyone an opportunity to do everything. What this mean is he wants to help ambitious individuals shine, and try and get everyone experience with the different aspects of the job.
After we have going over CR work and meeting if applicable, we are assigned tickets by our operational lead. Once we know what he have to do we prep for our work that we can start at 4:35pm. This usually includes re-configuring server hardware, sometimes setting management ports (such as HP ILOs and Dells Idrac), labeling devices and/or patch cords that are to be installed that day.
Sometimes a hardware failure occurs before/after 4:35 and if the troubleshooting does not make it on the official approved CR work for the day. In this case the system administrators will put in an Emergency Change Control via Remedy ticket system which lists out what work needs to be done and what hosts that work affects. This then needs to be approved the the Technology Operations Command Center manager. If it affects many hosts or production environment drastically this ticket will be escalated to a director for approval.
After work is assigned and prepped, we finish our designated task. This ranged from racking and connection servers/networking gear/etc, escorting vendors for warranty hardware repair, troubleshooting, running and certifying cabling, and removing hardware and connectivity no longer being used.
Once all work is complete, I would start planning my work for the next day. This includes patch adds, hardware install, hardware troubleshooting, and connectivity troubleshooting.
Once the end of the shift is near (11pm) we close the tickets competed and type up a turnover document that lists everything that was completed that day. Any new hardware failures noticed and any vendors on site are also reported on this daily document. Once complete and the shift is over the turnover is sent to the whole team to aid in communication from 2nd shift to 1st shift.
Lastly I was part of an on-call schedule which meant every 4-6 weeks I was on-call for a week. If anything crashed or failed when the data center wasn't staffed, the on-call person would get that phone call and have to go to the data center if needed. The requested response time (time from phone call to arriving at data center) for this was 1.5 hours.
2. This job has taught me many things. For starters, I had never even seen a Data Center when I was brought in as an intern. Now I have pretty good knowledge of how a data center works. I have also gotten experience checking switch configs for troubleshooting. It has helped grow me into a better team member, and be able to manage my own projects.
CME is also good at promoting hard workers. I started as an intern in April 2010 and was hired full time in November 2012. Since then I have received one promotion and am on track to be promoted at the end of this year
3. I have been managed by 5 different managers due organizational changes of my department. I was lucky enough that a couple of them were excellent. After working with them for a while, trust would form and they were willing to back me up when suggesting ideas to help projects or work be more efficient. They were also very straight forward and would tell you what they think of you. For me this was always conducive to learning, most feedback was good, but they were not afraid to tell me areas I needed to be stronger which in turn helped me to work on improving myself as I knew where to focus.
4. Some co-workers are great, others are great people but not always great workers. For a period of about a year and half, I was part a Data Center team in which every engineer worked as hard as they could. On top of this we had a great manager would listen to us about issues, and he was not afraid to confront other groups that would make our job harder due to poor planning. With all of these at the same time made the job fantastic. We all understood that if we worked hard and took the time to do things right, it would make all of our jobs easier. They also had a great attention to detail, so if they handed me work that they planned and partially implemented they would thoroughly explain what needed to be done. We all were able to take constructive criticism, so we were consistently improving each other. Also because of our similar work ethics we became good at helping each other with work and be able to work in the same area without bumping into each other. We each had our own strengths and we were always trying to improve each other with strengths.
5. The hardest parts of the job for me was people on my team not working hard. After I was transferred data centers (within the same company) I only worked with one of the hard workers of my previous team. Some individuals on my new team wouldn't do work unless they were specifically told to. So some times this would leave me running around trying to get my work done, and they wouldn't even offer to help. I struggled with this because we are all adults, I shouldn't have to watch over them to make sure they work. My newest manager is helping me overcome this, by teaching me to try motivating the lazier engineers. As he has told me, hopefully this will show them that if we all work hard and with attention to detail, we all make each others job easier. Also it is hard when other it groups within the company sometimes do poor planning, which can lead to us doing the same thing 3 times because changes keep getting made or realized.
6. The things I find most enjoyable is when I am assigned tasks that take a lot of thinking. For example, as a Data Center Engineer, I don't get to write programs usually because we aren't a development group. Once I came up with an idea for a small program that would automatically generate our cable labels, which depending on the amount could take up a half hour possibly even up to two hours. At this point I created a small java program, that would take a report our connection database could generate and strip out all unneeded information. Once that was complete it would created a file with all the information sorted, which you opened in our label printing software. The little program would complete all of this in a few seconds. Another instance I was able to create a small java graphical applet that is used to teach new engineers how fiber taps work. Lastly I like being given the responsibility of a project. I like that it makes me use to mind to try and find the most efficient method possible. I take pride in my work, so to see a project I was responsible go well makes me feel accomplished. – less