Interview Series: Patrick Paijmans

Our first participant in a, hopefully, large number of engineers keen to share theirs on our Lead Engineer Interview Series! Enjoy the read, feedback is always welcome!!


Full Name: Patrick Paijmans
Company: Gemeente Asten / Gemeente Someren
Certifications: MCSA 2008 / MCSE 2003 / VCP5 / VCP4
Twitter: @PJPaijmans




Who is Patrick Paijmans?

A NextGEN system engineer using modern channels like Twitter, LinkedIn and communities to stay updated on tech, and deliver cutting edge IT solutions.

I am a IT professional with over 15 years of experience and has a broad knowledge of several IT platforms and many more applications. I have excellent knowledge and expertise of Microsoft, Citrix, VMware, Hewlett Packard and Novell products and operating systems.

The last few years my primary field of expertise has mainly been with server, desktop and application virtualization technologies using VMware, Microsoft, Citrix, RES an HP technology. Together with excellent installation and migration skills, server management skills and second- and third line support skills, I add value to the ICT environments I work in.

I am dedicated to expanding my knowledge to get the most out of an ICT infrastructure to create the best possible user experience. Working with the newest IT technology and investigating new technology to enhance IT infrastructures is my passion.


Can you tell us something about your employer/company?

My employers/company are 2 individual local government agencies joined in a stretched twin-datacenter environment


Can you describe your IT infrastructure in short?

Our IT infrastructure is a twin-datacenter highly available infrastructure based on HP (Blade)server and HP 3PAR SAN storage technology. We have built a stretched (Metro) cluster between datacenter MER and datacenter SER. The infrastructure is almost 100% virtual and based on VMware technology. The virtual workplace for about 90% of our users  is based on Citrix and Microsoft Xendesktop SBC technology. We also have 10% of our users using a special Citrix Xendesktop / Microsoft VDI solution for 3D CAD.


What is the main purpose for this IT platform?

Main purpose of this IT platform is to supply about 380 coworkers with a desktop for day-2-day operations in many applications/databases served by a backend server infrastructure. This infrastructure is (rapidly) expanding with applications and external connections  which serve the people and companies inside both villages.


What was the main requirement on which you designed this environment and how did you comply to it?

Main requirements for the design was to integrate 2 separate environments into 1 environment to enhance users who work for 2 local government agencies and to simplify the necessary system administration for the “small” IT team. Also enhance  disaster recovery functionality as opposed to the previous separate IT environments. We did comply with most goals, we had to cut some corners cause of budget constraints.


If you had the chance to design and build this environment all over again, would you change anything? If so, what would you do differently?

Yes, I would like to change/trade our newly purchased “legacy” bladeserver / SAN “Block storage”  and FC SAN network infrastructure to a Software defined Data Center solution. Ditch the complexity of SAN and FC SAN networking for a more simple and better balanced flash/memory performing software defined solution and explore the possibilities/flexibility of software defined networking.


What are new developments or solutions which caught your eye and why?

SDDC / Software Defined Networking / vGPU ( Nvidia GRID) / flash and memory acceleration (IOPS offloading).


What are your thoughts on applying these on your own environment?

Solutions mentioned above will take a (legacy/blockbased) infrastructure to the next level. And it will provide organizations more flexibility, faster upgrades, some also bring les complexity, faster IT infrastructures and therefore faster desktops and applications.


How do you see IT change in the next 5 years?

We are slowly moving to a (external) cloud based solution or we will grow into a shared service centre private cloud.


How do you think this will translate to your current working environment?

IT could be transferred to an external cloud party and my function becomes more of broker between the cloud party or it will be transferred into a shared service center and my function will change into a certain expertise like storage / (Virtual)server infrastructure / (Virtual) desktop infrastructure/2nd or 3rd line support.


Do you leverage knowledge from IT communities or events in your daily work? If so, what are sources you use often?

I use LinkedIn and Twitter extensively for staying informed of new technology. Asking community questions (and getting answers quick). I also check out blogger sites on stuff I’m professionally interested in and can use for work cases.


Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us!!

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My main focus is infrastructure (Storage, Networking and Computing), but I'm also very interested in designing and implementing VDI and Server Based Computing-environments.
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