Meet Alex Contant - Our GSS Red Hatter of the Week

Latest response

This week's featured Red Hatter is TAM Alex Contant.

 

In his own words:

"Bonjour, my name is Alex Contant and I am from Montreal, Quebec. Before joining Red Hat, I had my own consulting business for several years during which I was given some great opportunities to work on many diverse, big-scale projects. Overall, I have spent nearly 15 years as a UNIX/Linux sysadmin.

 

I joined Red Hat a year ago as a Technical Account Manager (TAM). A TAM acts as the customer advocate within Red Hat meaning that I bring my customers needs within our organization and get back to them with solutions/options. As a TAM, I also manage & maintain customers case documentation while also providing advice and guidance on their current and future Red hat products.

 

What I like most about my job is that I get to know my customers very well and can proactively help them whenever possible. The Red Hat culture is awesome and you quickly learn that teamwork is a very important piece in our success. Working with passionate people at Red Hat just makes the days fly by!

 

Outside of work I enjoy cooking (French, Thai, Indian, etc.) and I try to take classes with a chef once a year. I am also an avid hockey fan."

 

Stay tuned for more from Alex throughout the week.

Responses

Hi Alex,

 

This question might sound strange, but what is an "avid hockey fan"?

Google just repeats the question, it does not show a definition.

As a TAM, who are you main customers?

 

My favorite kitchens are Vietnamese, Thai, Indonesian, Chinese & Turkish.

 

Kind regards,

 

ir. Jan Gerrit Kootstra

Hi Jan

To answer your question, I`m a huge hockey fan( for example I have signed hockey jerseys on my wall) .

Since I speak French , I get assigned to french speaking Tam customer ;) Most are Government & Telecommunication.

 

Havent had the chance to cook Turkish food but ill check into it !

 

Have a great day

 

Alex

GSS Red Hatter of the Week Alex Contant is working everyday to support the success and exceed the expectations of our customers! The following are two recent stories he has shared with us on how he is doing just that!

This first story details how working as a team can really speed up the resolution of a case:

One of our customers was experiencing an issue with XFS. He was basically losing files after a reboot. I took ownership of the critical case and set up a conference call with the customer to get more in-depth details of the problem. After the call and some digging, I had a storage developer and his manager work with me on the issue. In collaboration with the customer we discovered that a patch was already available, written by another Red Hat developer, which could potentially fix the issue.

We got back on a conference call and I brought in the two experts from storage engineering. The author of the patch was in Australia and unavailable for the call since it was overnight there. However, the client was amazed to be speaking to such experienced storage experts. One of the major problems we faced was creating a reproducer that consumed a lot of time.

Between the developer in Australia, the two experts in the United States, and myself (the TAM) in Canada, we worked on the issue almost 24/7 including over the weekend in order to get a bugfix released for the customer to test & roll-out. Ultimately we got an errata developed, tested and available in record time so the customer's issue was fixed!

What I like about this story is not only that the customer had a working solution in a very short amount of time, but that we were in constant communication with the customer and worked very collaboratively. Technical Account Managers are here to work as a team with our customers! And now you know how Red Hat Security Advisory RHSA-2012-1366-1 (http://rhn.redhat.com/errata/RHSA-2012-1366.html) came to be!” - Alex Contant

This second story really shows how documenting bugs and issues helps us to speed up future resolutions as well:

“A customer was experiencing some errors while doing his backup to a SAN. Basically he had a cluster with a GFS2 filesystem doing backups via a fibre channel card. It turns out he was facing three different bugs! There was a bug with the fiber channel over the ethernet (FCoE) card that created an error so we had to disable some options on the card. After that change, the cluster issues changed- we were seeing warnings that matched a GFS2 bug and what appeared to be memory leaks. While I was researching these two remaining possible issues, I discovered in my research that there was already a bug filed for the GFS2 issue and it was just a warning. So then we were just left with the memory problem.

After some more digging, I found a similar bug regarding a previously fixed memory leak issue in the kernel. While the errors weren't exactly the same, the newer kernel release that contained the fix also included 10 other memory leak fixes. I was confident that one these would fix the root cause of the memory issues. Since this customer was still in a testing phase with his environment, he agreed to test this new kernel, which sped up the fix verification process since we did not need to create a complex reproducer environment in the Red Hat lab. After lots of testing the customer was happy with the final results and successfully deployed their new backup system into production!

In retrospect this issue looks straightforward, as we know now that it was 3 well-identified bugs. However, under the hood, this issue involved engineers from clustering, networking, kernel specialty areas and a lot of research/coordination from me as the Technical Account Manager. It was great to see it pay off when the production deployment was a success!” - Alex Contant