[rescue] Thoughts on Suits, unemployment, and 3-year-old hardware

James james at jdfogg.com
Thu Apr 1 21:42:17 CST 2004

> This morning I had to push the DNS updates to take my company's web-based
> product offline.  (Probably not supposed name names since there are suits
> involved, and litigation pending, and this is a public archive...)

I feel your pain. I'm still trying to put my life together after Microsoft
(of all companies) bought my company and ditched a wonderful working
Solaris/Linux environment. I too had the task of using DNS to make my
beloved service go away (or actually move to a Microsoft owned platform).

> Our first product was technically a smashing success - but didn't generate
> enough income to sustain us.  After a couple of years of slogging it out,
> we made the difficult decision to sell it off, shrink the company down to
> just an engineering core (8 of us - and NO suits!) and develop something
> completely new and have someone else slap their name on it and do the
> sales/marketing.

We were kicking much ass too, and were making enough money to break even in
a booming business that was sure to take off (and did).

> At our peak, we've been handling 12 billion HTTP hits/month on four Sun
> 420Rs behind a Cisco LD417 load balancer.  (These weren't static hits,
> either; almost all dynamic content.)  During "peak times" (about 16 hours
> a day, with a 2-3 hour lull and very steep ramp-up/ramp-down - you'd
> boggle at our Cricket graphs) we'd sustain anywhere from 5000-8000
> connections per second - often higher - and if our latency ever exceeded
> 200ms I'd get paged about it.  Our aggregate external bandwidth was
> typically over 70 megabits/sec (30 in, 40 out), with even higher bursts.

Same here, but we took 800 million hits/day with 80% dynamic content. Our
traffic never dropped below 1 mill hits/hour in the course of a day.

> I'm going to spend April selling off the company assets, drinking heavily,
> sitting on the couch for hours staring at the walls, screaming a lot,
> sleeping in, wondering how my children are suddenly taller than I am, and
> thinking about what I'm going to do next.  I've been out of circulation so
> long, it seems there are painfully few Solaris gigs around here these
> days, and certainly none paying anywhere *close* to what the SANS salary
> surveys say a SAGE Level 3+ geek with 20 years experience and my skill set
> in the Pacific NW region is supposedly making.  $97,500 _average_?  Yeah,
> RIGHT, maybe if I sold crack with every Jumpstart install.
> Bleah.

I am using many diverse efforts to maintain my old income, but it is proving
to be very risky. And I have no health insurance and I really need it. I
still mourn the loss of my old job. It was the best 3 years of my life.

> The Bloody Marys from breakfast have worn off.  Ah!  One pint of Duvel
> still stashed in the desk drawer!  "Alc. 8,5% by vol."  Right on!

I'm sure things will improve both of us some day, but right now is the hard
part. I hope there is some severance, it is what kept me together (though
I've gone through it now). It took a while for me to find a groove. I still
don't have a good groove, but enough to see me through one month at a time.

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