Engineering Software, Linux, and Operations. The website of Jack Neely.    


  February 20, 2020

Jack Neely
jjneely at gmail dot com


Large scale systems architect with nearly twenty years experience in complex, heterogeneous environments. Including designing, coding, deploying, and operating highly available and scalable services. Focus on telemetry based monitoring and observability. Proven abilities to learn from, integrate with, and mentor others across a wide cultural span.


A Systems Engineer position utilizing a computer science background, high level mathematics, strong coding and operating skills, and knowledge of computer architecture to create highly efficient and robust solutions.

Professional Experience

Senior Operations Engineer

42 Lines, Inc., Raleigh, NC | December 2013 - Present

Consulting for Mutations Limited, Los Angeles, California

  • Integrated visibility services from DataDog into Amazon Elastic Kubernetes. Including management of all log sources and metrics from many different sources and protocols.
  • Deployed and maintained mission critical services in Kubernetes via Helm Charts including Confluent Kafka endpoints and streaming data manipulation with Confluent ksqlDB.
  • Maintained and upgraded several Kubernetes clusters.

Consulting for Fitbit, Inc., San Francisco, California

  • Implemented Thanos as a solution for Prometheus clustering and long term storage of data in GCS. Worked with upstream developers in Go to fix and merge TSDB block repair routines, bug fixes for pointer math, and several command line options to help build a migration path from a large Prometheus environment.
  • Worked with client’s teams all over the globe in an effort to sunset all StatsD and Graphite metric instrumentation in favor of Prometheus. Taught others the Prometheus client APIs for Python, Go, and Java.
  • Shifted client’s entire Prometheus monitoring stack from bare metal hardware in IBM SoftLayer into the Google Compute Platform. Containerized all components.
  • Designed, planned, and implemented a distributed Prometheus based monitoring and telemetry infrastructure for a service oriented architecture supporting more than a hundred teams and more than 8 million samples per second.
  • Patched Prometheus’s Histogram routines in Go to ensure buckets always increase monotonically when estimating quantiles to handle scrape consistency issues.
  • Designed, managed, and upgraded a client’s Graphite and Grafana cluster supporting more than 30 million incoming metrics per minute, 300 terabytes of storage, and over 130 million unique time series.
  • Contributor to the Open Source Graphite project with merge access. Multiple Python based patches written to increase the efficiency of Graphite and improve failure modes.
  • Coded tools in Go to manage large Graphite clusters including rebalancing metrics and merging duplicate metrics. Code was an order of magnitude faster than similar Python tools.
  • Architected a solution to ingest more than 2.5 million Statsd metrics per second and feed aggregate metrics to Graphite.
  • Coded StatsRelay as an Open Source StatsD load balancer using Google’s Jump consistent hashing algorithm in Go. A single instance could handle 700,000 UDP packets per second.
  • Replaced Etsy StatsD NodeJS daemon with Statsite written in C. Patched Statsite to add configuration options and to set socket options required for higher throughput. Additional patches to fix bugs in the event driven architecture.

Consulting for the Academy of Art University, San Francisco, California

  • Built Nagios/Merlin monitoring systems to achieve single pane of glass monitoring for infrastructures spanning the globe and multiple cloud providers. Multiple bug fixes in C submitted and accepted by the OP5 team developing Merlin.
  • Migrated an in-house Amazon EC2 provisioning system away from Chef to an Ansible based system.

Operations and Systems Specialist

NC State University Office of Information Technology, Raleigh, NC | April 2006 - November 2013

  • Lead architect of NC State University’s Linux deployment. Continued project lead of NCSU Realm Linux. Support of over 2,000 workstations and servers and more than 100,000 users.
  • Technical lead for the deployment of Red Hat Enterprise Linux throughout the University of North Carolina System’s 16 universities.
  • Designed automated tools to better support Realm Linux including hands-off installs using PXE and Red Hat Kickstart.
  • Designed and built a configuration management solution using Bcfg2 that was used by system administrators for a campus of 100,000 users. Also effective in situations where IT groups required being partitioned away from other IT groups. Planned and implemented a migration of this system to Puppet.
  • Coded and implemented a dynamic Kickstart system for all of campus using Python, Genshi Templates, and XMLRPC.
  • Created and maintained many RPM packages including OpenAFS packages.
  • Built an RPM package build system using Subversion and Mock.
  • Contributed to a number of Open Source projects such as MoinMoin, Yum, Anaconda, Bcfg2, Up2date, and others.
  • Wrote production quality PAM modules in C to implement LDAP based authorization.
  • Upgraded and took primary responsibility of the campus Kerberos authentication system. Moved the campus off of the Kerberos 4 protocol.
  • Upgraded and took primary responsibility for the NC State University’s public NTP service.
  • Implemented an inexpensive load balancing and high availability solution using LVS, Keepalived, and spanned network VLANs through the data centers. This system load balanced NC State’s main website, LDAP infrastructure, RHN Satellites, Webmail, Linux installs, and many other services.
  • Upgraded the Cyrus IMAP implementation that supported over 100,000 users to new hardware, latest Realm Linux version, and the most current Cyrus IMAP software.
  • Built Xen and KVM based virtual machines for optimal use of physical hardware.
  • Train users, help desk staff, and other system administrators on a regular basis including topics such as configuration management with Puppet, RPM packaging, RAID and LVM usage, and deploying Realm Linux.
  • Wrote and continue to update documentation and best practices guidelines for various topics in Linux administration.
  • Started and organized NC State University’s FOSS Fair, an annual unconference style event for topics in Free and Open Source Software. Beginning in 2009.

Systems Programmer I

NC State University College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences, Raleigh, NC | 2001 - 2006

  • Took on the responsibility as the project lead for NCSU Realm Linux.
  • Managed the campus wide install base of Realm Linux at over 1,000 machines.
  • Deployed and managed a Red Hat Network Satellite server and its supporting Oracle 9iR2 database.
  • Served as contact point for campus regarding Linux security issues, bugs, enhancements, and features for Red Hat style Linux distributions.
  • Designed, deployed, and administrated 100+ node Beowulf Cluster based on RHEL, Sun Grid Engine, and MPI.
  • Built supporting infrastructure for the Beowulf including fiber channel storage arrays, deployment of Brocade FC switches, and Cisco 3750 network switches.
  • Supported the Beowulf users as they created live hurricane prediction models submitted to the National Weather Service.
  • Participated in the server room design process for the room that housed several Beowulf Clusters and other servers.

Systems Administrator

NC State University Department of Physics, Raleigh, NC | 2000 - 2001

  • Performed junior systems administration on Linux machines.
  • Worked with faculty and graduate students to troubleshoot problems and identify solutions.
  • Tested and deployed Realm Linux and other Linuxes.
  • Gained experience with Solaris, AIX, IRIX, and ULTRIX.


NC State University Department of Chemistry, Raleigh, NC | 1999 - 2000

  • Created professional quality video with Linux.
  • Developed process to master a recording onto LaserDisc and produce VHS tapes of the master.
  • Wrote C code to generate models of a molecular ``bridge’’ using graph algorithms. This code was used to design molecules that identify and bond to cancer cells and leave normal cells untouched.


Sandhills Community College, Pinehurst, NC | Summer of 1999

  • Taught basic Windows 95 and Windows 98 class.


B.S. in Computer Science
North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC
May, 2002

Activities and Honors

Professional Awards and Associations

  • Gertrude Cox Award for Innovative Excellence in Teaching and Learning with Technology winner for the Realm Linux project.
  • Triangle Linux Users’ Group (TriLUG) member.
  • Former President of the NC State University Linux Users’ Group.


  • Tenor section leader for the North Carolina Master Chorale.
  • Vocalist for St. Michael’s Episcopal Church and the Raleigh Convocation Choir of the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina.
  • Board member of the Raleigh Convocation Choir.


Available on request.