Realex is growing. We’re looking for a Senior Systems Administrator to help support and maintain the technology platform that handles billions in payments each year. What’s it really like to work at Realex? Here’s your future boss*, Cormac Cassidy, to give you the ‘from the horse’s mouth’ story about life at Realex and his IT Operations team.
Give us the 30 second CV Cormac…
Well, I’m Cormac, I’m the IT Operations Manager at Realex Payments. I joined Realex Payments as a graduate in 2005 after studying Computer Applications in DCU and have worked my way up to the role of IT Operations Manager. I can’t believe I’ve been here 11 years… I must have incriminating material on someone important! But seriously, I love the company and what I do; that’s why I’ve stayed so long.
Why do you come to work every day?
Realex is just a good place to work. There’s a nice bunch of people; open, friendly and helpful (and good craic!). We take what we do seriously, but we don’t take ourselves too seriously. People are happy to share their expertise and their unique knowledge of their roles. IT isn’t isolated; it’s central to our business which means I get to learn from different people with different skills. Don’t get me wrong; running an always-on, mission critical platform is a challenge, and we have big ambitions to develop the platform even further. However, those challenges come with lots of opportunities, and I have progressed quite a lot in my career during my time here.
What opportunities have come your way since joining Realex Payments?
I have been given the opportunity to take the lead on many challenging and important projects over the years. For example, I was technical lead when we built a new data centre environment. I had to come up with a solution to move all our traffic to the data centre without any interruption to our service. As soon as the project was complete, we then moved to a 2nd data centre and built an active-active data centre configuration. What’s satisfying is that this was both a real learning opportunity for me while also being critical to the business.
When this project was complete, I moved into an Infrastructure Architect role, and later became IT Operations Manager. I now manage a team of 9, comprising of 6 Sys Admins, 2 Network Admins, and 1 DevOps engineer. I know how important these opportunities and steps have been for me, so I’m really conscious of passing on the same opportunities to my team – to help them grow and progress their career.
What’s the primary role of your team?
As a team, we manage the day to day running of our 24/7/365 Payment Gateway applications. We have a target uptime of 99.999%, and we need to respond to all issues from hardware to the application. What’s challenging is that even planned maintenance can’t result in any outages or downtime, so you have to be quite innovative when implementing changes.
What does it take to work in the Production team?
From a technical point of view, team members have very strong Linux administration experience and have previously worked in an operations type of role. (i.e.: not just working on projects but also looking after the day to day operations.) On the personal side of things, they’re all eager to learn, strong communicators, and can work well in an environment that’s pressurised. Above all, they’re problem solvers who enjoy working collaboratively. We work closely with other teams that support the production system, and together we come up with plans to solve issues.
Any juicy projects coming up?
Our main project is to move to an automation / continuous lifecycle environment, which will be live in the next 18 months. We want to be able to implement a private cloud that can provide Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and release software rapidly, in line with our Agile development team sprints.
*This does not constitute an offer of employment. However, your commitment to reading this asterisk point does suggest the level of commitment and attention to detail we need in IT Ops, so you’re definitely on the right track!
Ann Swords is a recruitment/OD business partner for Realex Payments and is currently searching for a Senior Systems Administrator .
Are you interested in joining Cormac’s team at Realex Payments?