Ask the Interns: Grant Parton

Originally from Bend, Ore., Grant Parton is a graduating senior at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, studying Computer Science. Hear about his experience on the DevOps team at Delphix as well as the biggest challenge and lesson he learned this summer.

Pictured (top left to right): Andrew Harpin, Tanya Alexandra, Brandon Lim, Grant Magdanz, Grant Parton; (bottom left to right) Garrett Rodriguez, Andy Wood.

What inspired you to join Delphix?

I was interested in gaining experience as a DevOps engineer at a startup in the San Francisco Bay Area. I liked the idea of contributing to internal tooling and maximized efficiency at a software company, and that’s how I came to know about Delphix. The company provided a very positive experience throughout the interviewing process, and I was ultimately inspired to join because of my manager, Mohammed, who leads the DevOps team at Delphix. He made it very clear that he’d provide a meaningful and fruitful internship experience this summer. 

What project was your internship focused on? 

Cloud computing companies provide many tools to work with their products, but many functions require extra effort on the developer end. My project this summer focused on the implementation of an archiving procedure for our cloud infrastructure resources. The idea of archiving an instance means that we want to give users, which in this case are Delphix employees, the ability to shut down their resources in the most cost effective way possible. While powering off an instance saves us money on computing charges, we still pay for expensive disk storage. Hence, my work focused on helping the organization reduce the cost of the infrastructure.

I implemented a process for our engineers to create images from instances on archival and recreate instances from the archived images. Generating an image of an instance could be stored for roughly half the price of running instance disk volumes. While adding the ability for instances to be archived/relaunched was the most important part of my project, this project also warranted extensive testing to ensure that this new state of instances didn't disrupt any existing functionality.

What is the biggest challenge you faced and what did you learn from that experience? 

Early on in my internship, I often found myself in parts of the codebase that made little sense and was difficult to Google my way out of. But this challenge led me to strengthen another skill that I had little exposure to as a college student — the ability to properly communicate questions to colleagues and mentors. There were times where a properly worded question could have saved me hours of work, but I had failed to synthesize my question in a way that clearly outlined the problems I was facing. Effective communication has always been highlighted with great importance in school, but rarely do we have opportunities, like this, as students to practice these skills in an environment where they are relevant. 

What key skills and/or experience have you gained from your time at Delphix? 

The most crucial skill I’ve gained during my time at Delphix is working with cloud infrastructure platforms. Cloud computing has become an industry standard, and it’s been great to have three solid months to absorb knowledge about standard workflows and processes within the cloud. I’ve always known that having a baseline understanding of these concepts is important, but the level to which I was exposed to AWS during my internship has made me a much stronger engineer.  

I also learned how to efficiently navigate and contribute to a dynamic code base. When it comes to working with large code structures, it can be pretty daunting when you’re used to working on small personal projects. But these are necessary tools to master no matter what team you work on, and making sure that you don’t step on people’s toes or disrupt version control can be equally as important as code development.

What’s one thing you wish you knew before starting this internship?

I wish I had known that it’s okay to be unfamiliar with the technology you’ll be working on. Prior to my internship, I thought I had known enough about AWS, but clearly that was not the case. Given that my project was based on using this service, I spent a lot of time figuring it out one manageable piece at a time and learned a ton. There are an incredible amount of resources put into the internship experience at Delphix, and the internship mentors don’t scope out projects that they don’t think you can complete.

What is one piece of advice you’d like to share with future interns?

Take the time to meet as many people as you can, even if you don’t have the chance to work with them. Software development is a team sport, and there are a ton of teams that contribute to this process. I really enjoyed hearing about other people’s jobs and learning about the different pieces that work together and bring to life the bigger picture. 

What’s your secret talent? 

Painting, but that’s a work in progress.

Grant Parton's drawing