I am an experienced Suffolk (UK) based IT Professional, with a strong
foundation in Linux based systems and software development. I currently
specialise in system administration and network security, however, as part of my
role at Virya Technologies Ltd, I have also developed a strong grounding in
Most of my recent software development activities have
been in PHP, using Agile methodologies to develop both standalone applications
and extensions for the popular Joomla! Content Management System.
I pursue a range of hobbies including mechanics and
photography. In addition to being a Linux Foundation member, I am also an active member of the Joomla! Bug-squad, with a number of commits merged into the core CMS.
I'm always been keen to expand my knowledge and
understanding of a wide range of subjects and where possible seize every
opportunity to complete further training.
My Online Portfolio contains examples of past Software Development activities and also of past Website development activities. Some examples of my code (and contributions to other projects) can be seen on GitHub.
I take great pride in my problem solving abilities, especially when translating requirements or documentation into programmatic code. As an example, when Joomla! 3.0 was nearing final release, I used the list of backwards compatibility issues to create an extension compatibility checker - allowing extension developers to quickly identify which areas of their extensions were likely to require a rewrite.
I've worked with a number of API's, ranging from enhancement of Account Expiration & Control (AEC) to the creation of an API for my PHPChangedBinaries project, which includes a custom cryptographic authentication mechanism.
Although the supporting website is currently incomplete, I've also created and documented an API designed to serve Lottery Results from around the world.
I've published a range of material including a number of Whitepapers, a book and a large volume of documentation. A selection of those materials can be found below;
Conversant Networks Ltd
Conversant Networks Ltd is a Content Delivery Network provider, with a customer base primarily located in South East Asia.
I was promoted to Operations Architect in March 2018. This is a senior position reporting to (and regularly working with) the CEO and other senior stakeholders.
The role involves overseeing architectural aspects of the network’s growth, including identifying desirable new deployment locations - based upon current network demand - in order to optimise delivery whilst ensuring that hardware related capital is spent as efficiently as possible during network expansion.
It also requires that I liaise with engineering teams in order to help drive product direction and priorities, and to perform acceptance testing on the CDN team’s output, ranging from ansible playbook submissions to entirely new products and appliance types. In particular, I’ve worked with engineering to develop the next generation Command & Control Infrastructure, Distributed File Storage appliances.
When requests for specialised work are received, it’s passed to me to gauge viability when measured against various business concerns (including the potential general applicability of the resulting technology, likely cost of implementation etc). These have ranged from developing specialised mid-tier solutions (with an aim of also pushing towards a productisable generic solution) to assessing requests for complex media protection mechanisms.
When non core departments release new software to integrate with the CDN, it is my responsibility to perform and/or oversee integration and acceptance testing to ensure that they integrate without impacting existing delivery. These range from new software stacks to entirely new appliances.
As the subject matter expert, I retain ownership of the DNS routing system whilst also acting as a CDN Technical Authority. In that capacity, I’ve worked with partners and suppliers in order to improve network Peering relationships so that we might increase our delivery throughput.
When necessary, I act as an escalation point for the operational support team and help to troubleshoot complex customer delivery issues, as well as to identify weaknesses in any existing delivery mechanisms. The ability to quickly troubleshoot complex issues is an essential component of the role.
The customer facing portion of my role requires quickly developing close relationships with customers and potential customers so that technical matters can be discussed as freely as possible. This is particularly important when I work with them to beta test new features and major releases.
Operations & Platform Engineer
Swiftserve / Conversant Networks Ltd
As well as providing Operational support for the company’s federated Content Distribution Network (CDN), this role involved developing and maintaining new features and complimentary systems in order to meet both internal operational and customer requirements. The latter required a lot of rapid prototyping, with successful implementations then needing to be productised further.
Implementations included a DNS routing system, distributed Real Time Media Protocol (RTMP) stack customised to meet requirements common in the Asian markets, and support for a number of custom authentication and tokenisation requirements for HTTP delivery within the Chinese market. Many prospective customers had an existing supplier, so the requirements had to be adhered to exactly (with little room for negotiation) to ensure we could provide a directly compatible offering.
Projects were often started (and had to be completed) with very little advance notice.
I was promoted into a role specialising in Operational Security and am expected to ensure that both infrastructure and operational procedures reflect the highest possible level of security and professionality.
In addition to this, I act as an escalation point for the NOC (as well as the wider operations team) and am also expected to undertake project work in order to maintain and develop tools as part of our Continuous Improvement regime.
In the past, I have also acted as a Customer Resident Engineer - integrating with a customer’s Operations Team in order to provide on-site support during the transition of their CDN from a Managed Service to an Owner Operated model.
My prescribed role also includes
- Network Management
- Incident/Problem Management
- Supplier Management
- Proactive Management
Velocix is a world leading provider of Digital Media Delivery Platforms
My role is to provide first and second level support on all Velocix products and services, including monitoring, managing and configuring the worldwide Content Delivery Network. The core role being to ensure that both internal and external customers are provided with maximum service availability
- 24/7 network surveillance, proactively responding to issue that are detected or reported, including analysing all available data and identifying trends
- General System Administration tasks on all elements of the CDN and also of the company network
- Observe configuration and change management procedures
- Pro-actively escalating problems to Third-level support where they cannot efficiently be resolved within the Network Operations Centre
- Identify areas of concern, whether due to potential service impact or directly affecting customer satisfaction
Linux Specialist & IT Manager
Virya Technologies Ltd
My role at Virya primarily involved
- managing customers' servers (primarily Linux based infrastructure but also
- developing software (primarily web-based applications in PHP, including
extensions for the Joomla! CMS)
- Managing the company's Hosting infrastructure (Shared, Virtual and dedicated
- Conducting security audits (including penetration testing)
- providing emergency server support where it is requested by a customer
(including post-compromise forensic analysis)
The role requires an intimate understanding of networking protocols, system (and
database) administration and agile development techniques.
Being a small business, my responsibilities stretch beyond those within my
job description, and additional roles include marketing the business, providing
quotes for work and management of the business in the Director's absence.
I initially contracted for this role, becoming a full-time employee in
Ministry of Defence
Primary role involved controlling 180 inventories at a number of globally
distributed units for the purpose of correctly provisioning aircraft spares.
Responsibilities involved hastening the return of unserviceable spares and
ensuring accountability for all issued items.
As a secondary role, I became a trained Processor System Administrator for
the unit's bespoke (AIX and Oracle based) Supply Control System. This involved
being the units point of contact and support for all technical issues relating
to the MJDI system, including assisting other units during the roll out of the
system across the Ministry's estate.
Additionally, I acted as the unit's Systems Manager, assuming the roles of
Local Security Officer and Authorised Demander.
John Parfitt – John Parfitt Wedding Photography –
“Ben at Virya Technologies
was recommended to me by a colleague when looking for a provider of system admin
for my dedicated server. Ben, Ruth and the team at Virya Technologies have been
absolutely brilliant from day one. Patient, understanding and extremely helpful,
I have no hesitation in recommending their efficient and knowledgeable
Ipswich and Suffolk
Small Business Association – Website development and Hosting
“Ben has worked in a
support/development capacity for the ISSBA website which is Joomla based. He has
always been happy to help, has kept me up to date with progress and has
endeavoured to find the best solutions to any issues with the site. I would be
happy to recommend his services.”
Seatrade Global – Website & Software development and Hosting
“Ben is an extremely competent and dependable Joomla expert and server security specialist. He has been fundamental to the deliverability, on-going support and maintenance of Seatrade's news sites (amongst other projects).
Ben has always being very personable and uses his extensive knowledge and people skills to ensure that he employs the best solution, whilst ensuring that we understand the rationale to any suggestion, issue or enhancement that he has deployed or recommended to improve the usability and functionality of Seatrade's news sites.”