Sam Doran

My little corner of the Internet

My Next Chapter

For the ten years that I have been a working professional, I’ve been blessed with a variety of jobs. Everything from photographer to aircraft mechanic. I never really knew what I wanted to do when I grew up (and still don’t, to a certain degree), but it became obvious after my first few years in the working world that I was meant to work in some capacity making computers do amazing things.

My first “real” job was working as a Linux System Administrator on Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5. I supported a group of developers running RHEL 5 on their workstations writing code that ultimately ran on servers also running RHEL 5. It was amazing! I learned so much during that time using RHEL as my day to day operating system, both on the server and desktop.

It was during that time that I came to love Red Hat, both the product and the company. I was keenly aware that if not for Red Hat, my career in technology would involve managing Windows at scale. I’m fairly certain I would not be in the technology field today if not for Red Hat and RHEL.1 Windows is that bad.

When I moved on from that job and never got the work at another RHEL shop after that. I used CentOS at all my jobs after that2. I missed being a RHEL customer since I truly believed in the world they were creating: a viable way to run your business using open source software. It was nice to be part of that as a customer, but I did my part by at least using Linux and not Windows in all the systems I built.

Over the years, the nature of system administration changed dramatically. With the growing popularity and capability of cloud platforms and hypervisors, automation became a necessary tool for survival. I’ve always been an automator — from Photoshop actions to shell scripts, I find myself anything I can in any way I can. I had a respectable collection of shell scripts I’d written over the years but I found them hard to maintain and fiddly. They always required too much adjustment to get working, plus manual tweaks along the way.

I settled on Ansible as my automation tool of choice going forward. I have yet to have one single regret. It’s an amazing tool that, despite all my years using it almost daily, still impresses me with what I can make it do in a much more elegant fashion than my shell scripts of old.

So Ansible became the second formative company whose technology and ideals shaped my career. Another company I admired and respected for the way it was changing the world — in the case of Ansible, through better, powerful, elegant, and maintainable automation.

Much like Red Hat after I left my first job, I didn’t have the privilege of being an Ansible customer. But I did my part to help the world see the power of Ansible by using it to build and manage amazing infrastructure and sharing with others.

Today, I’m extremely happy to announce that I now work for Ansible and Red Hat. To say this is surreal is an understatement. Few people are fortunate enough to work for a single company they admire. I get a two in one.

I have joined the Automation Practice at Red Hat helping companies of a size and scale I never imagined improve the management of their infrastructure using Ansible. It is truly a wonderful opportunity and I’m looking forward to getting started.

There is one down side to this job change: I left behind a team of individuals that posses a collective talent I likely will not encounter again for some time, if ever. They challenged me, helped me, humbled me, and ultimately made me better. I will miss them all dearly. This is the first time I can say that. I have a feeling this won’t be the last.

  1. I’ve used macOS, née Mac OS X or Mac OS, for as long as I can remember (I remember updating to 8.5). It’s my favorite OS by far. But back then, macOS didn’t have nearly as many job opportunities as Windows and RHEL. Managing macOS at scale generally meant working for an educational institution. Those jobs were more limited in scope and harder to get into at the time.

  2. I never really cared for Ubuntu. I tried it many times over the years but CentOS/RHEL always appealed more to my personal taste. To each his or her own.