Forrest Alvarez


  • Red Hat Certified Engineer - 111-081-113 (April 20, 2012)
  • Red Hat Certified System Administrator - 111-081-113 (April 29, 2011)
  • SaltStack Certified Engineer - 0x71EDAE6D (January 29, 2014)

Professional Experience

Lookback, November 2018 - November 2020

DevOps/Software Engineer

  • Build an internal dashboard with Typescript, server side React, and GraphQL to allow members across the organization to more quickly solve issues related to our product and provide customers with help and data.
  • Develop automated log analysis tooling to reduce time spent on various troubleshooting tasks.
  • Retire Jenkins and migrate all continuous integration to CircleCI.
  • Move off of Ansible for server configuration to a Docker container based system running inside of AWS via ECS.
  • Improve deployment and CI Reliability.
  • Create tooling to facilitate immediate global deployment of AWS Lambda jobs.
  • Reduce spending and consolidate services of various infrastructure elements.
  • Contribute to a shared GraphQL system written in Typescript.
  • Rewrite various parts of our main web app using Typescript with React/Preact and GraphQL.
  • Improve alert and monitoring systems to reduce noise and provide more actionable information when an alert does occur.
  • Technologies: AWS (S3, EC2, Route53, Lambda, CloudFormation, IAM, RedShift, ECS, SQS, VPC, CloudTrail), Typescript, React, Preact, GraphQL (Apollo), Bash, Git, Docker, Ansible, CircleCI, Datadog, Nginx, RabbitMQ.

Envato (previously Pressed Platform, acquired), June 2016 - May 2018

Site Reliability Engineer

  • Write various bash based automation around configuring server images for automated scaling and deployment within AWS.
  • Build a WordPress plugin that allows for banning of specific disallowed plugins.
  • Implement interface improvements to increase speed at which Support can deal with specific issues and avoid creating escalation tickets.
  • Devise multiple methods by which to reduce mail spam and decrease associated billing expenses.
  • Create custom Datadog plugins to report additional information on multiple services to provide actionable insights.
  • Improve and refine monitoring throughout the environment resulting in fewer false alarms, as well as more accurate and detailed alarms.
  • Design and work with development team to implement a backup solution which allows customers to restore historical as well as live content while ensuring minimal system impact and optimized storage costs.
  • Deploy environment wide mitigation tools to reduce malicious attack vectors against customers.
  • Technologies: AWS (S3, RDS, EC2, Route53, Lambda, CloudFormation, IAM, Aurora, EFS, SQS, VPC, CloudTrail), Ruby, Ruby on Rails, Bash, Python, Git, Vagrant, Docker, SaltStack, Datadog, Nginx, HAProxy, Redis, Varnish, MySQL, PHP

Kissmetrics, October 2014 - October 2015

Operations Engineer

  • Implement a fully virtualized (Vagrant) development environment allowing for collaboration and repeatable processes between developers with shorter onboarding times
  • Update and modularize Salt states to allow for ease of use between multiple projects
  • Technologies: AWS (S3, RDS, EC2, Route 53, VPC, CloudFormation), Ruby, Rails, SaltStack, Tokyo Cabinet, PostgreSQL, Nagios, Python, Git, Jenkins, Vagrant

Flowroute Inc, April 2014 - September 2014

DevOps Engineer

  • Set up and configure a continuous integration system which allows for automated testing on every push
  • Create a set of Salt states to automate the setup process for new developers, turning a multi-day setup into a 30 minute process that is repeatable
  • Configure Aptly to allow updates and releases for multiple distributions
  • Improve the process by which web deployments are accomplished, reducing deployment time, and increasing the number of deployments
  • Technologies: AWS (S3, EC2, CloudFormation, VPC), Python, Django, SaltStack, PostgreSQL, Git, Jenkins, LXC, Vagrant

Choice Hotels International, May 2013 - March 2014

Linux Systems Administrator - Information Systems

  • Created a dashboard and backend to collect and visualize data providing at a glance reporting. Reports included kernel version for security visibility, as well as servers per environment and growth for server growth budgeting via Python, Flask, and Bootstrap 3
  • Improvements and maintenance of an RPM to address Java service start up sequence, reducing the time that restart procedures take, and eliminating involvement of an entire team of administrators
  • Designed a Python script to provide developers with the latest official Java release, and rebuild the associated repository to ensure the release was available during machine builds without manual intervention
  • Technologies: Java, MySQL, SaltStack, Oracle DB, Python, Perl, Bash, SVN LLC, March 2011 - May 2013

Linux Systems Engineer - Information Systems

  • Provided 4th tier support to LAMP stack shared hosting platform
  • Identified and implemented solutions to resolve operational pain points revolving around system performance, configuration management, and server functionality
  • In house RPM packager of approximately 40 RPMs, maintainer of over 100 RPMs adopting and enforcing Fedora EPEL guidelines
  • Engaged in leveraging Puppet to update legacy build methodologies for internal application servers from using scripts to using configuration management eliminating configuration drift and manual processes
  • Responsible for the research and deployment of a solution to provide customers with updated Python binaries and virtual environments for additional functionality and configuration
  • Worked as a key team member to deliver major redesigns providing measurable performance improvements to shared hosting product
  • Created and maintained thorough internal wiki documentation of the architectural design, business logic, and operational processes of systems engineering
  • Member of Enterprise Linux Forum that presented open source alternatives, and pushed for open source contributions
  • Familiar with working in a satellite office and interacting with team members distributed throughout multiple office locations and time zones
  • Technologies: MySQL, Puppet, Python, PHP, C, Bash, Git, SVN, CVS LLC, October 2010 - March 2011

Shared Hosting Support - Advanced Hosting Support

  • Assisted customers by phone, email, and trouble ticket within specified SLAs with a strong focus on customer service
  • Identified and communicated software or networking issues leading to customer service outages or performance degradation to appropriate department
  • Consistently top tier on team for both number of customer contacts and quality of service per contact
  • Assisted, trained, and lead other shared hosting representatives
  • Team point of contact for high priority or high visibility customer issues