Meet Your Zenoss System Admin: Max Forma

Max Forma has been an IT systems engineer with Zenoss for five years, and we’re excited to share his insights into what he does. Thanks for all of the work you do, Max!

We’ve been highlighting our incredible system admins (sysadmins) all week in honor of System Administrator Appreciation Day. Catch up on our previous conversations with Marshall Dean and Esteban Diocares for more great tips and career insights — or just to get to know the rock star sysadmins who keep their companies up and running!

How long have you been with Zenoss?

Five years as of June 4, 2017!

What inspired you to become a sysadmin?

I like the challenge of keeping an infrastructure running properly so that everyone in the company can succeed.

What do you do to help Zenoss customers?

My team’s work ensures the company as a whole has the resources and information needed to appropriately solve for Zenoss’ customers’ needs.

Are there any stereotypes you’d say are true or not true of sysadmins?

We do tend to prefer dark, cool areas.

What would you say has been the best new tool for managing and pinpointing issues with computer networks and IT infrastructure?

I rely heavily on our ZaaS instance to notify me of issues before they become work-stopping problems.

Has anyone ever given you a piece of career advice that impacted where you are today?

To go with an old cliche, “Think outside the box.” Nonstandard solutions can sometimes be some of the most useful.

Is there anything you wish people knew about your job?

Systems administration can be a rather stressful job at times. Mistakes can cost your employer significant money in some cases. The successes make the stress worth it.

As a sysadmin, what would you say makes Zenoss unique or valuable?  

The flexibility in alerting allows me to trust that a late-night page is accurate. This also means that I can sleep easy knowing I’ll be properly alerted should anything go wrong.

What would you say is the best part about the work that you do?

I frequently get to work with exciting, leading-edge technology and am backed by a fantastic company of extremely intelligent and talented people.

If you could choose one career role model, who would it be?

Solomon Hykes, CTO of Docker. He’s helped more than one startup through difficult transitions and has helped drive some of the most impressive ingenuity in tech in recent years.

If you had four extra hours in your day, what would you use them for?

More time on my kayak or motorcycle!

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?

Pacific Northwest. Excellent weather for outdoor hobbyists and beautiful scenery.

What qualities does a good sysadmin have? Are there any places in your career that you have found those to be the most useful?  

Tenacity. Many problems we deal with on a day-to-day basis do not have obvious solutions. It’s easy to get frustrated, but a good sysadmin can work through those frustrations to find the solution — and then have enough remaining to make sure it’s properly documented!

What simple thing can others do to help make your job easier?

Include any and all details that could possibly be related to the situation at hand. Things that may seem inconsequential can end up being a key component to finding the solution.

What would you do if you won the lottery?

I would spend as much time as possible with my family — as well as kayaking and motorcycling.

What advice would you give new sysadmins?

Stick with the hard problems, and always be learning. Play with that piece of new, exciting tech, but don’t forsake your existing commitments.

This week is System Administrator Appreciation Day — but at Zenoss, we don’t think a day is enough when it comes to the great work sysadmins do every day! We know what it’s like to walk a mile in your shoes and we want to make that a comfortable walk with a killer new pair of special edition Zenoss socks. We have limited supply, so act fast!