The person behind BIT

The person behind BIT

08-10-2019 10:50:09

With a company like BIT and the range of services surrounding our data centers it is quite easy to know what people are needed. It is easy to imagine you need people who know how technical installations like cooling systems work, how the network must be designed and managed and how to set up and maintain different (computer) systems within the data center. And now I am only talking about the technical part. 

Automating the processes around all these services sounds useful, doesn’t it? The many systems that are being used can also be linked together. Although you can sometimes opt for ready-made software solutions, they are not always desirable. There are situations where no software exists that meets the requirements. In that case you can develop such a solution yourself. And that goes way beyond running some scripts. Soon you want to be able to save and read all kinds of data as well. Running this through a central system sounds easy again so you will not have to retype things every time. 

I am Martijn Toutenhoofd, software engineer at BIT at the research and development department 11 years and running. I knew BIT and many of its employees in the years before that. The relaxed atmosphere and direct communication immediately appealed to me. That is where we found each other. It sounds a bit like a romantic story. It is not, but I definitely feel at home there. There is  a lot of room to come up with solutions and it has never been simply executing an assignment. My co-workers are happy to work on the best possible solution. You notice that, it is nice and it stays nice. If you also do as much of the work as you can together, you would say that things will be okay. I saw myself developing here and I also saw myself doing something else within 5 years or so. Turns out that was wrong. In my spare time, I am not so concerned with software. I spend my time doing sports, music, photography and other things where I can express my creativity. It does not even matter that much what it is, where I see an opportunity to create something and it peaks my interest, I am ready to go. Whether that is software, music, photo, drawing or DIY projects. A background in electro technology and knowledge of all kinds of hardware in turn helps with everything that can be done at BIT.

So, what kind of software do you make? I often say that we type the software where processes for co-workers and clients can be simplified (within BIT’s boundaries). Nice and vague and it kind of ignores the fact that there are always processes that can be improved. Quicker, more efficient, with as little actions as possible getting something done with as little mistakes as possible. For example, administering a power configuration for a client rack where we also record measurements in the central management system of the data center, match it to the client, perform checks, provide insights into the client’s energy use in their client portal, etcetera. Some typing needs to be done before that is possible. With this story, we immediately touch upon a number of components that are our responsibility at R&D, mainly the software side of things. The power meters in the data centers have to deposit there measurements somewhere. Those same meters have to be linked to the rack they are in. The client has to be able to look into the power use and history in their client portal. The power use is billed to the client. Part of management/reading of the power meters, administration of this power configuration, client portal, monitoring/checking, billing. This is only one example and then there are various corporate processes that we also have something to do with.

Boring, only a bunch of abracadabra of code, what’s fun about that? I cannot say that I was immediately excited about it. When I was younger, I never thought I would end up in software development. The things you can create and work out for people really appeals to me though. It does not exist? I will type it up. Just around puberty, I started to play around with websites and I also found joy in creating something there that looked nice, moved around and could offer some useful information or entertainment. That was the time of framesets, under construction animations, guest books and visitor counts. We hardly see that anymore and kind of make fun of it when we do come across something like that. We can do so much more now and in so many different ways. It is a much more than typing code. It is about communication, preparation, planning, research, documentation and probably a lot more too. It is not boring to me and there are always challenges.

BIT’s openness to the outside world, emphasising environmental awareness (and taking measures to increase it), their dedication to the industry and its people, putting quality first, etcetera. All advantages for me. The company is small enough to know all your co-workers and you have to work with all of them as well. Maybe I have been around for eleven years because there really is a lot of work to be done. It is really motivating to see different systems work together and make things easier or better for co-workers and clients. At R&D we will keep responding to changes in services and processes within the company and we will keep adding options to the client portal.

By: Martijn Toutenhoofd