About Rick van den Hof

I started my career at the turn of the century, when I became a full time Linux Server administrator for the popular Dutch tech-website tweakers.net. In those days I learned a lot about scaling high-traffic websites, using technologies like software loadbalancing with LinuxVirtualServer. Back then my currently preferred software, HAProxy was still very much in alpha state and not particularly usable. At tweakers.net I developed a number of tools in Perl and even the first version of the mobile website in PHP wap.tweakers.net.

My career continued at Landis, where my main job was to study for UNIX certifications. I quickly became a SCO certified Master Advanced Certified Engineer, before the company went bankrupt as a result of the dot-com bubble bursting. I continued on to work at a company in Wageningen where I further developed my programming skills in PHP and Perl and was the administrator of a number of Debian Linux servers.

In 2005 I started working at Totaalnet Internet Works - a webhosting company that was quickly growing. This rapid growth required the team that I was leading to design a solution where we could quickly add additional servers to the pool and be able to control them centrally. We decided to use Puppet to manage these servers. I became fluent in writing Puppet resources such as manifests, classes and modules. Since these servers would also need to be deployed automatically, I designed a deployment solution that consisted of a C# WCF service that made use of the VMware API to create new servers and start them up automatically. The servers would then get their boot configuration via PXE, contact the installation server and install Ubuntu using preseed files. When Ubuntu was finished installing, Puppet would take over and configure the server to be used in the pool. At the end of my 9-year employment, this solution was managing in excess of 300 servers.

At Exonet, I made use of my previous experience to further automate and professionalize the deployment of new Managed Hosting setups. Customers ranged from small webdesign bureaus to national advertising agencies. At Exonet Ansible is used, since it uses YAML files to describe playbooks, which allows them to apply standard coding conventions and is easily understood by both employees and customers. Exonet writes and maintains their own Ansible roles that gives them great flexibility and reuseability.