I am 33 years young and I manage the international support team of MailStore Software GmbH as the Director of Technical Support.
How long have you been working at MailStore and what did you do before that?
I joined MailStore in the summer of 2009. Before that I worked for 7.5 years at a regional full service provider and was mainly active in Linux-based IT security, email infrastructures, the in-house data center, and customers’ on-site data centers.
What kinds of tasks does your job entail?
In addition to being in charge of the work of the entire support team, some of my daily tasks are to maintain the documentation, plan test environments, coordinate projects with other departments, and, in part, supervise our in-house infrastructure.
I also work together with the management team to help make decisions regarding product and corporate strategy.
Are you currently working on any specific projects?
I am currently conducting various tests and working together with the Development department to define the necessary changes for MailStore Server 9 with the goal of further performance optimization. The planning is also currently underway for MailStore Services, which will be launched in the coming months, and we are preparing for the MailStore Service Provider Edition roadshow in mid-March.
Which technical areas do you cover? What are your personal key areas of focus?
Currently my professional focus is still on IT security and network and email infrastructures, which I continue to find very interesting and exciting. In terms of email infrastructures, I am the key contact person within my team for all non-Windows email server questions.
The topics of security and data privacy are also very important to me personally, so these always play a major role in planning and implementation.
What is special about email infrastructure and archiving from a technical support perspective? Are there any specific challenges?
The great thing about our infrastructure products, which can at time be extremely difficult, is the dependency of many other components on these systems. This means that the customer environment needs to be regarded holistically in order to solve problems.
On the one hand, we have very different email servers, network components, and other central infrastructure components, and on the other hand, different email clients and virus scanners. This means the root of a problem may not be what you first think. This job requires you to consider each customer and each case as a unique, personal challenge and find the best solution, so it’s safe to say that work in technical support is always varied and interesting while challenging you to remain open to new possibilities at all times.
What is the trickiest case you have solved so far?
That’s really hard to say because there are simply so many cases in which the solution was anything but obvious.
One of my favorite cases started with a customer who was encountering a delay of several seconds each time he attempted to access the archive using the Outlook Add-in. This of course had an effect on the quick search. The problem only occurred with users who were authenticated against the Active Directory.
After ruling out the obvious possibilities, I recorded and analyzed the data traffic on the MailStore Server computer using the protocol analyzer ‘Wireshark.’ This showed that it was attempting a name resolution for the domain controller via NetBIOS Name Service (NBNS) before every connection attempt to the same domain controller (NBNS is no longer required since Windows 2000). Only after three unanswered broadcasts at an interval of 700ms was the local DNS cache used and the connection established. Since several LDAP connections to the domain controller are established with a Kerberos-based Windows authentication and all other communications occurred without a delay, the cause was found and the problem was quickly solved after the appropriate adjustment was made to the network configuration.
Are you interested in IT outside of work? What kinds of things are you doing at the moment?
I am in the fortuitous position of having turned my hobby into my job, so I am very involved with IT outside of my work. As an outspoken supporter of Linux and open source, I steer clear of Redmond’s operating system and administer my own Linux-based web and email server, expand the onboard HTPC system to include additional functions, supervise other web projects now and then, and am currently playing around with a Raspberry Pi.
What do you like to do most when you are not busy with IT?
A lot of exciting things that you could hear more about by joining me for a meal and a nice glass of wine than you could by reading about me on the Internet. Data privacy… You know what I mean ;).