Profiles in Engineering: Dan Tehranian — DevOps Lead
Dan Tehranian's father is still a little sore at the $5,000 broadband bill triggered by tens of thousands of downloads of one of his first apps, an easy to use MP3 creation utility. This was in the late-1990s and Dan's father worked in the computer industry so there was always lots of computer gear at home to explore, a super-fast home network for Doom and Warcraft parties with friends; and good money working summer jobs testing Data General's computer equipment, money that was reinvested in yet more computer electronics.
Dan was lured to Delphix by former colleagues and joined in December 2014 as DevOps Lead. It's a key role and it adds to an already illustrious career of technical and strategic leadership roles at VMware and several startups.
Former colleague Chris Kast writes: "Dan is what I consider to be the quintessential DevOps engineer...Dan made it a point to talk to each of the engineers and figure out what the biggest pain points were... What took hours to do all of a sudden took minutes."
Dan was 15 years old when he started on a series of internships at Data General, Compaq, Sun Microsystems, then Computer Science studies at University of Massachusetts, at Amherst. Followed by important full-time positions at HP, Sun Microsystems, Incipient, VMware, RiverMeadow Software, and Virtual Instruments.
His best advice to young engineers is: "Don't give up easily. Keep digging to figure out the cause of the problem you're encountering. You will learn a lot along the way."
He remembers the challenge of resolving outages in VMware's R&D infrastructure while he worked in Cambridge, MA. "I had just three hours each morning before the engineering team at VMware's headquarters in California came online, to figure out what went wrong in our complex network of services and fix it."
He liked the pressure of the deadline and the challenge of the fix. A key interest of Dan's is feedback loops, and understanding the human psyche and its motivations. Which is an excellent way to describe the field of economics.
In 2011 he completed three-years of evening classes in economics courses at the Harvard Extension School and is currently enrolled at Stanford Continuing Studies. He runs his own blog, it was one of two goals he set for himself about two years ago, along with with public speaking.
He achieved both, with a presentation at Google headquarters in 2014 on, "Quantifying the Business Value of Release Engineering." Dan blogs on efficient development workflows, solutions to problems he's encountered, and reports from industry conferences. He says he's benefited greatly from what he's found on other people's blogs so he tries to provide a service in return.
His blog is also a handy archive for finding snippets of old code that he needs to reference again. And when he interviewed with Delphix engineering leader Eric Schrock, his blog helped greatly because it provided a detailed account of the projects he'd delivered upon and problems he'd solved.