The IT-alian Job
The Entuity: Out of the Box blog series highlights the efforts, insights, and stories from actual Entuity employees. This week, we interview John Diamond, our Solutions Architect & Product Manager, who discusses handling a major crisis with a short deadline, Entuity’s Explorer tool, and his favorite scene in the movie The Italian Job.
So John, How did you get into network management?
I joined a different Network Management company back in 1994. Before that I’d been a UNIX device driver author at a modular computing vendor and had spent time running a software development team responsible for their first TCP/IP based Ethernet controller. Having got my feet wet in the world of networking the management of it was a logical progression and I spent several very rewarding years working directly with customers in a New York City focused Sales Engineering role.
What was your first job? Tell us about a crisis you worked on while working there.
My first job was with an electronic hardware manufacturer who sponsored me through college. I spent a summer with them before starting classes and joined the test department helping to test memory and CPU boards for private telephone exchanges.
Back in those days they were still using 4K bit RAM chips so, despite the seemingly massive size of the boards, they had very low capacities by today’s standards. Intrigued as I was with all such technology I decided to create a better way to gain access to the memory and other aspects of the equipment I was testing and wrote an EPROM-based (nobody had heard of Flash back in those days) monitor program that could be operated via a teletype … remember those?
One morning, I was asked by my manager to help out with a crisis for a customer who had been installing several of our circuit boards into a system that was destined to be installed in the voting chamber of a major national government. It was to be at the center of the system used to collect and display the votes of the parliamentary delegates in real time. The deadline that the subcontractor had for passing the final customer acceptance testing was the following morning and there were substantial penalty clauses attached.
Two of the interconnected storage controllers were not playing nicely together and everyone involved had apparently run out of ideas. I’d been “volunteered” to fly over to the test facility in the Netherlands to see whether I could put my diverse electronic engineering and software backgrounds to use to come up with new ideas.
After a short hop over the English channel that evening, I found myself in an almost deserted factory test lab at 11pm where hundreds of voting consoles were wired up to the central control racks undergoing final testing.
Fortunately, I was able to help guide the team to a solution within a couple of hours so was able to find my way to a hotel before the sun came up.
Tell us about one of your passions.
I’m a hobby woodworker/woodturner and have built my own 3D printer. A few years ago I found the cure for ten-fingeredness using a table saw in my workshop. Recently, I’ve become involved with an organization (enablingthefuture.org) that designs and builds 3D printed prosthetic hands and arms for children with missing fingers or hands. You could say that my own clumsiness has opened up a new opportunity … at least that’s the way I like to look at it.
Describe your favorite scene in a movie.
One of my all-time favorite movies is the original 1969 version of The Italian Job with Noël Coward and Michael Caine. Growing up in England, I saw it first as a teenager. When Michael Caine’s character, Charlie Croker, upon leaving prison visits the garage that had been looking after his Aston Martin he removes a hidden bundle of banknotes and pays what he owes with the immortal lines:
Charlie: I haven’t been in this car for so long.
Garage attendant: Yes, I gather you’ve been in … India for two years, sir.
Charlie: Yes, shooting tigers.
Garage attendant: Really? Splendid. The garage bill, sir.
Garage attendant: I’m afraid it’s two hundred pounds. If you insist, we can charge it.
Charlie: No. Please! There’s a bounty for shooting tigers.
Garage attendant: Well…
Charlie: Yes, it’s fifty pounds a head.
Garage attendant: Really? There’s no need to pay
Charlie: These are bundles of …
Garage attendant: There’s no need to pay now.
Charlie: It’s alright.
Garage attendant: Yes, you must have shot an awful lot of tigers, sir.
Charlie: Yes, I used a machine gun.
What is your favorite part about Entuity’s Network Management software?
Although reporting has been an interest, if not a passion, of mine for many years, I’d have to say the Explorer is where I find coming back to time and time again when I give a demonstration. I’m always pleased with the reaction of someone new to this technology when I see them drilling down in the many facets of the way their devices have been discovered and modelled and the Explorer is one on the best ways to rapidly appreciate how deep it goes.