A day in the life of a Technical Account Manager

Basefarm is of course constantly on the look out for new talents to join our company, both technical and non-technical.
I’m personally working as a Technical Account Manager (TAM) for Linux customers in Sweden, and thought some of you might find it interesting to read about what it is we do. First of all, let me explain a little bit about what a TAM is.

The role

On our website, you can find the following information:

“As a systems consultant at Basefarm you will be responsible for application management on the Linux platforms for our customers. That means handling monitoring, maintenance, optimization and troubleshooting of applications and OS. The focus is often on the Java-based solutions. We work with open source products, including JBoss, Resin, Tomcat, and php applications sush as wordpress, joomla and drupal. As a systems consultant, you can become a Technical Account Manager for some of the largest and most complex internet sites in Sweden. This means very varied assignments and a fast pace. You will naturally have a close, regular contact with your customers and you are responsible for both further development and maintenance of your customers technology platforms. This requires proactivity and that you and your customers is at the forefront of technology. In your role as a Technical Account Manager you are a key for business success!”

That text, albeit very true, does in my personal opinion boil down to two specific things; that a TAM is someone who is very customer oriented and has a deep wish to constantly evolve and learn new things. These two traits are the key to your success as a TAM. Basically, your days will more than often revolve around these two, because you have a very deep level of cooperation with your customers, and often they will come with a new application or system that you might not have heard about in the past. In our field, personally having previous knowledge is most often not the most important thing, as there will always be applications that almost nobody has heard of. What’s important is that you are able to learn the new things being tossed at you!

The challenge

I work a lot with media companies, who are always on the bleeding edge when it comes to software and technology they use. The applications they want to run are vast, and constantly changing. What you learned today might not be used tomorrow. Due to this, it’s impossible to know everything beforehand. Nobody can know everything, but what’s important is being able to quickly learn as well as adapt to this new technology which they present to you. The same goes with setting up new customers, and this is also one of the tasks I enjoy the most as it offers such a diversity. No new customer is the same, which means there’s always something new to learn!

That said, we do have a very diverse and large team at Basefarm, and there will without doubt be a few people who has worked with the new application your customer has provided you with. This means what the knowledge you’ll need is always around the corner or at most a phone call away (if the knowledge resides in our Norwegian office), and everyone is always more than happy to take a moment to assist you. It is however important to keep in mind that it will be your task to quickly learn this new application, as you will be responsible over it in your customer’s environment.

Can’t be prepared for what’s going to come your way

Customer contact is, as I said, just as important. Each day, you will be speaking with different people at the customer’s which you are TAM for. These conversations can range from anything from presenting ideas on how to improve their current platform, having customer meetings, hosting workshops or discussing issues with developers. I find this very interesting, and also extremely important in order to keep the platform well managed for monitoring and similar tasks.

The job as a Technical Account Manager can be both very challenging and rewarding, mainly because your scope is so big. You will for example work with pre-sale customer meetings, designing customer platforms, be part of implementing that platform, and then also have the on-going responsibility of making sure that the technical platform works as great as it can be. You will also take part of on-going meetings with your customers regarding the technical platform and your suggestions for the future.

In the end, what I like most about the position is that you can’t always be prepared for what’s going to come your way. There are usually no guide lines for how to solve something beforehand, and you have a very close connection to the customer on a day to day basis. Being able to take on new platforms and applications that you have not worked with in the past is a big requirement, as this happens very often. If you feel this challange sounds fun and interesting, send us a mail at rekrytering-se@basefarm.se !

For more information about positions available in Sweden, please visit https://www.basefarm.com/sv/jobb/

Breakfast cloud seminar with Basefarm in Stockholm!

We claim that the cloud uncertainly is a myth. Since the cloud became a household word, studies have indicated that the main concern of the IT department is how the information you store in the cloud is handled in a secure manner. How do you know that the cloud provider doesn’t abuse your information? Welcome to a morning with speakers in security and how to use cloud services in practice with concrete examples.

On May 8, 7.30-9.45 AM, we at Basefarm arrange this breakfast seminar at Grand Hotel in Stockholm. The theme is security in the cloud and with us this morning we have speakers from Truesec, TV4 and Marval. If you think this sounds interesting, you can register via Linkedin or send an e-mail to me at elin.mattsson@basefarm.se.

The seminar is free but the number of places is limited. There are already many registered and it’s first come, first served! More information about the seminar and agenda can be found on Linkedin

SQL Server setup fails due to partitioned network warnings from cluster service

I was building a new SQL Server 2008 R2 failover cluster recently and encountered a problem that I hadn’t seen before (which is rare as I’ve seen A LOT of cluster setup problems in my time!). This time it was strange as it was an error before setup actually ran, it was when I was going through the dialogue boxes to configure setup.

The scenario was this:

1. Cluster was fully built and validated at a windows level, all resources were up and OK
2. I was about to run SQL Setup when I noticed the network binding order was wrong
3. I changed this and then decided to reboot both nodes as I always do this before a cluster setup
4. The nodes came back online OK and all resources came up as well
5. I ran setup but when I got to the cluster network configuration dialog box, there were no networks to select from, so you couldn’t go forward.

My first thought was that I must have done something dumb when changing the network binding order but checks on the network adapters showed that they were all up. I then went back through a few other things and noticed that the cause of the error was actually that the cluster service was having issues with connecting to one of the networks. There were 2 types of error / warning in the cluster logs and the system event logs:

Error

Cluster network ‘xxxxx’ is partitioned. Some attached failover cluster nodes cannot communicate with each other over the network. The failover cluster was not able to determine the location of the failure. Run the Validate a Configuration wizard to check your network configuration. If the condition persists, check for hardware or software errors related to the network adapter. Also check for failures in any other network components to which the node is connected such as hubs, switches, or bridges.

Warning

Cluster network interface ‘xxxxx – xxxxx’ for cluster node ‘xxxxx’ on network ‘xxxxx’ is unreachable by at least one other cluster node attached to the network. The failover cluster was not able to determine the location of the failure. Run the Validate a Configuration wizard to check your network configuration. If the condition persists, check for hardware or software errors related to the network adapter. Also check for failures in any other network components to which the node is connected such as hubs, switches, or bridges.

I had to engage the help of some network specialists as I couldn’t get to the bottom of this on my own. The networks actually appeared up and we could connect to them and use them independently outside of the cluster, but the cluster was convinced that they were partitioned. To cut a long story short, after checking many things we realised that the problem was down to the fact that one of the networks was actually a teamed network implemented using BASP virtual adapters, and this network team was not coming up fast enough after the node rebooted, before the cluster service tried to bind it in as a resource.

The fix was simple, in that we set the cluster service to delayed start and then everything was fine. We didn’t need to make any configuration changes beyond this. Once the cluster service was happy that the network was OK, SQL Server setup was able to continue just fine.

Good luck with your cluster builds!