TORONTO, ONTARIO, April 7th 2020 —
We are very proud of our clients. After two or more weeks of Working From Home (WFH), we are pleased to report that most are
functioning well, and that the Starport Service Desk ticket flow has started to approach more normalvolumes.
The pressure on our clients has been intense; most have had to continue to operate their own complex businesses while at the same time determining how best to retreat to the safe seclusion of their own home offices.
While we are very used to the WFH model at Starport, like you, we didn’t have a pandemic playbook reference guide. We had to work and manage our retreat, communicate with staff and clients and make plans about how to manage with our
families at home. For those with young families, the retreat was all the more complex. Like most of you, we are very proud of our staff.
As you can appreciate, I speak with Brian Everest (Starport’s CTO, co-founder and good friend) many times each day.
Many of you have met Brian. He doesn’t talk a lot about himself or his work (or much at all for that matter). But I think those who know him would agree that his solution design and technical skills are…well, more than adequate.
I asked him what his thoughts about this whole WFH ordeal were. He answered “I was made for this”.
“I am able to get more done, connect to everything and everyone I need, and I can do it when I need to.”
To those who know him, that means virtually all the time.
Brian has residences both in Summerside PEI and in Toronto. Like most of us, he is currently following provincial directives to self isolate
and is currently located in his Summerside home. Prior to that, he was already spending more than two-thirds of his time working
from home; connecting, conferencing, configuring. The other third was attending in-person meetings with clients and staff at Starport’s offices
in Toronto and PEI.
I asked if he’d mind sharing his thoughts on WFH.
Really, what I wanted was to discuss the WFH tools, architecture and processes he’s designed for Starport, so that we can scale up to help ourselves, and in so doing support our clients. More than anything though, I wanted to show you what he calls a “home” office.
Here are a few pictures of Brian’s home office that were taken by his daughters (yes, they had to pass a security check first).
This is no ordinary office. It sits in his basement in a windowless office behind a murphy door that’s designed as a shelf and full of books. Bond style. If you didn’t know what was behind it, you’d never think to look.
Inside are five computers, two notebooks and eight screens mounted in a semi-circle around his desk and on the walls. Dashboards galore; ticket flow, cyber events, video conferencing screens, servers being patched and probes delivering monitoring results. In another part of Brian’s home is a rack room, the core infrastructure that’s needed to provide the bunker office with reliable, safe, redundant data. The racks have a pair (think redundancy) of gigabit fibre internet feeds that sit in front of monitored commercial-grade firewalls.
From his bunker office, Brian is able to videoconference with his team managers and their staff, his cloud team
and his cyber team. He can also connect to and work in real-time on equipment in either of Starport’s two data centres; configure, upgrade, commission new servers, add storage, increase or decrease memory of servers and add more core power to applications under the high data stress caused by the pandemic. Just the kind of tonic our clients expected.
The other day I asked Brian if we had the spare capacity in our data centers to scale if clients needed more cycles;
more capacity, particularly if this pandemic persists. It was as though he knew there’d be a need, just not when or why.
“Yes, last October we pretty much replaced all our core equipment and doubled our capacity. I was expecting
it might be helpful, I just didn’t think it would be needed so soon”.
To some, this level of readiness might seem like a stroke of luck. To those who know Brian, the expression “luck favours the prepared” is more appropriate.
When this is all over, and life is normal once again, Brian says he’d welcome anyone who’d like to tour his office.
I’ve seen it myself and it’s well worth the time (but a warning… you’ll need to sign an NDA and pass a police check to get in).