Travis Runty is a Linux tech’s Linux tech. Not content just to make his hobby into his job, he’s a competent technician who now leads large technical teams as they navigate complex issues for Rackspace customers. Travis is one of those guys who never stops learning. He epitomizes what it means to be a Racker: a passion for service, expertise in his field, and a supremely decent human being. Below, he tells his Rackspace story.
Talk about your journey at Rackspace.
My career has been so much more than I ever imagined possible, and at an amazing pace. I started as a Support Specialist in [the Intensive business unit] in 2007. From there I took advantage of the many training opportunities and moved to a Linux L1, then Linux L2, then took on some of Rackspace’s largest customers at a Linux Lead Engineer in the “Custom” team. After a stay there I moved to a Linux Technical Team lead to lead a team of Linux sys ads and develop them into Lead Engineers. After a while there I recently moved to a Senior Manager role managing an organization of 100 people which handles staffing for Strategic customers 24×7.
You could work in Linux anywhere. Why choose to spend your time at Rackspace?
I originally did not have a strong Linux skill set, Rackspace helped me build it. Nowadays I have been recruited by all of the big players in Linux and have declined them all. Rackspace has something special going on by building great talent, supporting our customers the way we’d expect to be supported, and not taking ourselves overly serious. We are a happy bunch that enjoy each others company and work hard for our customers and each other.
A lot of people say linux admins are “server babysitters.”
That is a reasonable label. Servers sometimes have a mind of their own, don’t react as expected, and require regular feedings, errr, maintenances. We maintain systems that most do not even attempt to understand. Working with a small set of customer I have a rare luxury of better understanding the goals and challenges of most of our customers. Correlating these with our support efforts illustrates how important our day to day operations are.
What makes a successful Linux Racker?
Linux needs to be a hobby for an admin to be a great professional. Our Linux brainstorming and problem solving do not stop when we leave Rackspace. We generally surround ourselves with linux instances because we know and trust it.
What are Linux Admin teams like around Rackspace?
We all enjoy learning neat things and sharing those with others. Some of the brightest people work here and they love to make everyone around them smarter. The “cool kids club” here is the group of guys doing amazing things with Linux with high visibility.
How do you lead a team of Linux Admins?
Get them the tools they need, filter the communication to stuff they need to know, and make sure they have plenty of opportunities to challenge themselves. Linux admins generally manage themselves really well because they enjoy what they do so much.
Rackspace is the “Open Cloud Company.” Does open development matter to you?
Being a member of the Linux community, it makes me proud that Rackspace has contributed back to the community that has provided me free of charge.The open source community, my peers, and Rackpace have contributed hugely to my knowledge set. I repay my peers by sharing my knowledge with them, Rackspace by providing fanatical support to our customers, and am pleased to work for a company that contributes to the open source community.
You can find out about open positions at Linux by clicking here.Category: Rackers Tags: Linux, Open Cloud, Open Source