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Job Title: Web Applications Developer
Department: Information Technology
Reports To: Director, Information Technology
FLSA Status: Exempt

Job Details under cut )
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Well, another trip to England has come and gone. Unfortunately, this time I saw very little of the country. I did get an exceptional familiarity with the inside of our new office in the small town of Camberly, however.

I came over in order to manage the technical side of relocating our offices from a small facility in the town of Bagshot to a much larger and better fitted office in the town of Camberly. The basics of the move worked out fairly effectively. I programmed the new switch, brought up the firewall with the new office's IP scheme and set up the servers. However, I was entirely unable to set up the IPSec VPN tunnel between the two offices. The particular firewalls we use have a custom utility designed to set up IPSec tunnels between two of their pieces of hardware. From the very beginning we had problems enabling this.

Complicating the issue was that we (well, I) had made a minor error in configuring one of the key servers for the office. It was not easily possible to bring the system up without it being able to communicate with the home office.

I started working on building the tunnel at around 9 or 9:30am Friday morning. Around 1 (8:30am in the US), I brought in one of my co-workers from the US and we started the process of consulting with our Firewall vendor. He left the office around 11pm that night, US time, with no resolution and the Firewall support representative declaring that he was giving up and going home. (Gee, any wonder we are pursuing switching vendors?)

I kept working. About 45 minutes later I managed to crack into the server I needed to adjust and was able to set up some of the basic functionality, including DHCP. During gaps in our conversation with our Firewall Vendor (we went through 2 level one support reps and a level two rep, with waits in between), I managed to complete wiring the office and to bring up a very basic isolated network for our training environment.

Around 6am I took a nap of approximately one hour. My boss arrived back in the office (having left late the previous night...he could have offered no technical help, he's more web/programming skilled than admin...and he had to get online cleanly to manage other major projects via email) and got behind a service call I had made that morning to our connectivity vendor. I was looking for ACLs for the routers in both locations, wondering if they had something configured that was blocking the establishment of the tunnels. He pushed this and sent me to take a second nap.

During the course of this day, I completed as much as I could without the IPSec tunnel in place and created a procedure for working around the need for the tunnel as much as possible, tweaking Firewall rules and other processes and briefly documenting them for our UK employees. By 6pm we had done as much as reasonably possible and headed back to our local hotel for the night (no London stay for me...no entertainment...although I had a couple of drinks I badly needed with dinner). I was in bed by 7:30 and up at 4:15. We had a car coming at 5:15 to take both of us to the airport. My boss' flight was 7:55, mine 10:50. Since I'm as relaxed at the airport as at the hotel...and don't sleep much beyond 8 hours ever, I decided not to take a separate car. All I've missed is an hour or so of internet access (so I'm typing this post in notepad to put up Monday morning).

I think we have a 50% chance of solving the problems with some information we received from our connectivity vendor (I've already had them make the changes I discovered a potential need for...just need to test), so I'll be trying that out either later today or first thing on Monday. If that doesn't work, we're scheduled to be back in contact with our Firewall vendor on Monday morning.

I'd like to thank my co-worker who stayed on the job with the vendor for about 15 hours on Friday, my boss who forced me to eat and nap and took over all the car/hotel arrangements and re-arrangements that we went through due to the problems and the lovely people who work for us in the UK, who were quite kind to me even though I was unable to provide them with internet connectivity that they desperately wanted/needed on Friday.

July 2010

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