Before joining Jigsaw24, technical specialist Neal spent six years at Avid, leading a support team for their infrastructure pipeline, and eleven years working for an English audio firm in the US, on projects including the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. He’s also a certified SCP Support Manager, and has the plaque to prove it.
“I worked for Avid before I came to root6. Initially I was covering support for their customers in Bristol and Cardiff, but eventually I was leading a team of folks providing customer support for their infrastructure products, so things like Interplay, the bigger storage systems and the bigger workgroup-based products. I was also involved in delivering training, and I’m an Avid Certified Instructor for a number of classes on the technical support curriculum that engineers need to take to qualify as an Avid Certified Support Representative.”
Networking, workgroups and workflows
“My main specialities are networking, workgroups and Avid workflows. It’s always interesting to handle complex workflows based on shared storage and involving networks – there are lots of things that can go wrong. We recently had a university that had a really interesting NEXIS problem that we were able to resolve. It was very frustrating for them, because the customer essentially found that the storage had become inaccessible to a large number of clients attached to it, and we had to remote in to the network to diagnose it. It was an intriguing challenge. I’ve also got a lot of experience with various networking technologies from Dell, Cisco and Mellanox.”
Unpacking the stack
“Customers can come to Jigsaw24 confident in the knowledge that there’s someone who can answer questions on each level of the networking stack. It’s a team with a range of expertise. So for example Matt and Phil come in at the media layer, and as you can see from Phil’s tech talks they know a lot about making and connecting the fibre optics. When it comes to connecting from building to building, Dave, Rupert and Graham have done a lot of that, and have experience of hooking up facilities over dark fibre and exploiting those connections. And then when it comes to the actual networking part, getting the sites to communicate, that’s where I come in – putting the actual switches in place, getting the routers in place and getting it all to talk to the internal equipment.”
Keeping an eye on the giants
“There’s constant interest in where Avid are heading next. We see it at various different product levels and I do think that, because so many of us come from Avid, we have a good understanding of how they work and a gauge on how things are going to develop. We work very hard to make sure we’re on top of the direction that Avid are taking with their technology, and we can also pass that line of questioning back to Avid and say, “This is what we’re hearing from customers – how are you going to make sure this product meets their needs?”