After 2.5 years at SugarCRM, it's time for me to move on. Sugar was a great first job out of graduate school, and my experiences there have been invaluable. It took me from the custom tools I wrote at Georgia Tech for system management and monitoring (for CPR), to in-depth experience based knowledge about much better tools other people have written like Puppet, ZenOSS, Cobbler, and more. What began is a small confusing mess where everyone had root on all the servers and no idea what other people were doing grew into a managed, monitored, and automated environment that made everything easy so that people could focus on getting real work done instead of figuring out things like what changes need to be made to php.ini and who might change them to something else. Reimaging a cluster of web servers, database servers, mongodb servers, memcache servers, nginx servers, and mysql servers used to take quite a bit of time, but can now be done in an hour or so.
Each trip out to Silicon Valley was a new and exciting set of experiences, from Velocity last month, to views from the CTO's porch in the hills (like this one), to having beers at with friends old and new that work at places like Yahoo, Facebook, Google, Digg, Meebo, etc.
SugarCRM is a great product, has a great future, and I look forward to seeing what happens next in the super-competitive world of CRM. If our growth numbers of requests/second and OnDemand customers over the past few years is any indication, the sky is the limit! It's been great working with everyone at SugarCRM, and there are lots of aspects of my job and the people at SugarCRM that I'll miss.
All that said, it's time for me to move on. Working on a remote team makes some things pretty difficult, travelling across the country all the time has lost its novelty, and the interrupt-driven world of operations prevents the kind of focus needed to solve the kinds of problems I would like to solve, so next up for me is a complete change of pace. Tomorrow, July 30th, is my last day at SugarCRM.
On Monday, August 9th I'm starting at Highgroove in Atlanta to try my hand at Ruby on Rails in a software engineering envrionment, working in-person at an office a bit more, and being able to manage my time a bit better without the constant flow of tickets and alarms.
Ruby is new to me but I've done plenty of things in Perl/PHP/Python, and Rails is new to me but I've worked on web applications using various frameworks for almost 10 years so that shouldn't be too much trouble either. The skills I pick up will also help me put a dent in the backlog of personal project ideas I have. I have no idea where the future leads, but regardless of where I end up, the "sweet spot" for me has always been the overlap between different areas of computing (whether its operations and research, or mobile devices and web services) and Ruby+Rails will be a great thing to have in my toolbox to glue things together. This should be fun!