Thomas

J Thomas Stokkeland

IT Engineer with proven leadership skills

Me and IT

Early years

I enjoy all technology, when i was 10 i started programming Basic on my dads floppy-desktop (early 80's), from there it went to a CP/M based system, i got Turbo Pascal and started making semi-useful programs. I also built and soldered my own Disco-Light control systems back in those days, later becomig an amateur DJ running lights and sound off my own equipment at local events (Norway).

When i went to college i chose electrical-engineering/automation as i was fascinated by robotics and such, after college i ended up doing a lot PLC and MMI/HMI programming

My first couple of jobs was on the engineering side, IT at this point was a side track, where i got involved trying to figure out new things or specific troubleshooting.

Development

Programming have always been in my blood, always wanted to see things to happen and evolve, so i had less interrest in C++ and Java, and much more so in languages like PHP, Perl, Python, Bash, Powershell and the likes.

Around 2000 or so i started my own side business, helping a bunch of locals sell things online. I wrote a few million lines of PHP and HTML over the years, created an order management system my customers used. Even to this day i still do some side work developing web applications, mostly PHP on the web front.

Starting around 2015 i devoloped a simplified SIP-PBX Appliance product, based on Asterisk/Linux, spent a few months writing lots of Bash, Perl, PHP, and Python, a web UI management system and it was specifically taylored to high quantity endpoint use (Something most off the shelf Open Source PBX are not).

Now with cloud coming about things like application monitoring becomes very important, but the cloud services usually give you very limited customization abilities - so i have written quite a few C# and PowerShell utilities that will do very specific application monitor abilities, and provide triggers/logging to overall monitoring and alerting system.

BTW - HTML5/CSS3 is a blessing - gone are the days of trying to satisfy IE4 and make sure Dreamweaver uses the right JS libs

Going IT

In 1999 i had a title as Automation Engineer, although half my job was running the plants Network and IT. I recall going to the MS Windows 2000 launch event in Rochester NY, it was very exciting with this new Active Directory thing, and before long i was reading several books on AD infrastructure. Soon enough we had a pair of Windows Servers running as DC's, and our ERP/MRP application was installed on the same hardware, a whopping 512MB of ram on the database server.

In 2004 I got my first pure IT job as a Network administrator, it went from a small network and few servers to two cabinets and 2 campuses built out fully in 4 years. Then i became head of IT (2008), and we did a full revamp with fiber optic build outs, new phone system, and campus wide wifi.

Since then i have done a lot of infrastructure improvements - last 5 years have shifted some because of the cloud movement, and now being in software/healthcare industry there is a lot more focus om compliance and security.

Information Technology

I worked on a lot of things - this a very limited list/notes area

Cloud

The word cloud has been abused left and right - to me cloud means a resilient all inclusive infrastructure platform that provides everything in one service, the big vendors are AWS, Azure, Google and Oracle.

I have worked on multiple public cloud systems; AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud. Azure is where I have spent the most time, working on a current project (2018-2020) of becoming a SAAS provider, services to include full HA and DR options. I also spent a fair amount of time with Google Cloud since 2013, utilizing it as an IAAS provider.

Networking

Cisco, F5, Force10, HP, Citrix, etc. Have deployed new Core and Datacenter Leaf and Spine architecture, 40Gbps distribution/mesh with 10Gbps system connectivity. Fiber, Twinax, Copper.

Finished implementing a new Cisco 6840 core for my local infrastrtucture (Dec 2017).

On the WIFI side i have deployed multicampus (Cisco) networks, as well and industrial/manufacturing deployments.
Some of the cool stuff is firewalling - my favorite firewalls are made by Palo Alto Networks, but I worked on a bunch, Cisco ASA, Checkpoint, Juniper, Fortinet, Sonicwall, OpenBSD & Linux based, MS-ISA/TMG, and more...

In 2019 We deployed a small HP/Aruba network for QA device testing and certification purposes.

SAN/NAS

iSCSI, FC. EMC, Compellent, IBM, Lefthand, Equallogic, and open source

Finished a project deploying EMC Unity and Data Domain in 2018, and DR additions deployed in 2019.

Virtualization

VMWare, Citrix, Oracle/VirtualIron, Linux/KVM.

Finished a full technology refresh project in 2018, VMware on Cisco UCS, SRM, Ops Manager

Why all the legacy hardware?

That is a good question - why didn't we choose to utilize more cloud or converged infrastructure?
The answers are not simple, but here are a few pointers to how we ended up here:

That said, the future is bringing us to become a SAAS provider, so the whole strategy for this side of our operations will be driving how we do On-site vs Cloud and other operations/infrastructure in the future.

Enterprise Applications

I have been at the root of implementing, replacing, and upgrading ERP and MRP systems - to be clear though, I did not run he projects from a business perspective, I was responsible for technical and infrastructure. In my opinion, IT should NOT own the overall project, as it must be business focused and not technology focused - I simply help finding solution and making sure it works. The hardest part is actually ahead of time, specifying and planning everything without going overkill and not forgetting anything.
MS Dynamics AX, MS-Dynamics NAV, Epicor/DataFlo, Macola (ERP/MRP, Pervasive/Btrieve), FundWare (Blackbaud).

Other major applications include CRM, Support/Service systems (RT, OTRS, Jira, etc), Web sites/Web Applications incl custom projects, monitoring systems, records management, ++

All the underlying infrastructure, like datases etc I consider systems (below).

Systems

Windows, Linux, UNIX

MS-SQL, Oracle, MySQL, PostgreSQL, MS-Exchange, Sharepoint, IronPort, OpenDNS, Qualsys, Websense, BES, + + + +

VOIP

Implemented multi-campus replacements, upgrades, and integrations. Cisco, Avaya Aura, Shoretel, Nortel.

For QA and Certification testing i have multiple Cisco UCM and Avaya Aura instance running.

On the open source side things I have spent a lot of time with Asterisk and Asterisk based systems (FreePBX, TrixBox, ++), I prefer Asterisk plain and add my own stuff, but it can become a hassle to manage if it is to be used like a general phone system. I have touched on some other ones, like FreeSWITCH and OpenSIPS, but i always come back to Asterisk for some reason or another.

Along with VOIP/SIP comes networking of course, firewalling and qos, and often WiFi, which brings a new set of challenges - make sure your DSP/Buffers are enabled on the way out.

Project management

I have done my share of projects - some of them could probably be considered programs, such as a full multi-campus infrastructure upgrade, building out fiber optic networks, replace all network hardware,including wifi and LAN/WAN, virtualization/storage, and replace phone systems. I have performed multiple server-room/datacenter moves, office moves, and business migration/renaming related projects. Other projects include custom web applications, technical side of ERP systems, A/V/Net/Conf auditoriums, telecom feature development, load balancing, cloudification, and more.

 

Other

Text editors

vIM

Scripting

PHP, Perl, Python, Bash, vbscript, PowerShell, cmd, Terraform.
NSIS.
(i)Regular Expressions.