As a veteran of the umwerk systems family, Markus not only impresses with his brawn, but also overcomes some of “The Internet’s“ biggest challenges. A tinkerer at heart, Markus has been exploring the depths of the internet since an early age. But he’s not alone! Read on to find out how an old friend, colleague and administrator, Tommy, becomes a part of the umwerk systems team as well – because if you can’t control the digital waters alone, bring in some backup!
But how did Markus end up at umwerk systems, and why? In short: Because using that passion, and putting it into practice was an exciting preposition. In long: Because passion starts at an early age. As a little boy, Markus is fascinated by everything electrical. In the garage where his mother works, Markus would immerse himself in vehicle diagrams, repair manuals and microfilm. Continuing his fascination for all things technical, Markus would take his first steps into the gaming metaverse, starting with a cult-classic – the Commodore64. It’s here that he explores online gaming, playing games like Frogger and Maniac Mansion.
Immersed in the weird and wonderful game worlds of the pixel-pushing Nineties – a place where gray game pads, game cartridges and miles of wires would bring even the most seasoned millennial gamer to confusion – Markus is in his element, going one level at a time.
With the launch of the PlayStation 1 came more power, the Geometry Transfer Engine and polygon-crunching hardware, ready to take the gaming world by storm. Almost tangible, game worlds had evolved into immersive experiences, further wetting Markus’ appetite for future things to come.
Markus ends up switching to computing soon after, making another cult-classic chip, the Intel 386, his workhorse and gateway to the endless possibilities of home computing. Using his first computer, he delves into programming; sparking his creativity between gaming and school life.
The Art of Computer Science
His curiosity in computing leads him to taking a computer science course at school. This was during a time when “The Internet” was the hot new buzzword making waves across the world – connectivity was on the verge of changing people’s lives. Fortunately, Markus’ school seems to have taken a step in the right direction, offering an ISDN Internet connection for the grand sum of 16 computers.
“The Internet” was a virtual treasure trove; media, software, gaming and communication all merged into one. At the time, HTML was the new abbreviation on the block, giving Markus the opportunity to try his hand at making homepages and little websites.
In his 6th year of school, his computer science teacher tasks him with coding websites.
This knowledge wasn’t put to waste, with his new-found interest earning him 20 D-Marks a pop making websites for family and friends.
Using this money to reinvest into buying a better, faster computer, Markus would hack his ideas together and experiment with configuring new hardware. Unbeknownst to him, modem prices were on an upward hike and the numbers didn’t lie – his family receiving a non-substantial phone bill for 20,000 D-Marks as a result. We’ll never know how he got out of that one!
A “Lehrling” in the Making
Moving onto the latter years, Markus ends up working as a roofer by trade. By day, he was clambering around roof-tops, but he hadn’t lost his interest in computing. Far from it. Instead, after work, Markus would jump onto his computer, diving into online gaming and surfing the web. Using the Go-To 90’s search engine, AltaVista, he would find communities, end up building mods and levels for his favorite games, and help to shape the online realm we know today.
Up to Speed Admin
By this time, the Internet was already on-a-roll. More websites, online material and cheaper prices meant ISDN flat-rates made it even more accessible. This was huge! The phone bills were cheaper, the game collection was bigger, and there was still money left over for snacks and a good time. Awesome! But playing games like Doom, Quake2 and Counter-Strike with his buddies isn’t enough.
To automate mundane tasks, Markus uses bots that are triggered through Internet Relay Chats, a creative solution ahead of its time, that would become integral to modern-day platforms like Discord and Slack.
IRC is after all, a chat protocol and because of this, Markus ends up befriending Tommy in the early 2000’s, an admin from another community, and also an avid gamer himself.
One Hand Washes the Other
Building upon a like-minded interest, Markus and Tommy use a little ingenuity and clever thinking to find ways of attaining servers cheaply. After all, they were incredibly expensive back then. When the servers were available, they would create so-called “Eggdrops”, scripted bots written in TCL that were designed to interact with IRC channels.
End of Tiles, Start of Wires
In 2006, due to a series of unfortunate events, Markus endures a serious career-changing setback. Two nasty slipped discs spell the end of his bread and butter roofing job and the unfortunate period of extended sick leave.
After a long and lengthy battle with his pension insurance, Markus decides to use his passion for computing and retrain himself as an IT specialist, thus opening new opportunities and, ultimately, the next chapter in his life.
Being ahead of his peers and outright bored with what was being taught meant that Markus ends up leaving his school in Munich, and instead puts his effort towards finding work. He ends up working at a server center in Munich, where, finally, he could exercise his knowledge …
It’s at this point that Markus starts using Linux, understanding administrative tasks, finding out that “rm -rf /*” is a very bad idea, and implementing his knowledge in live environments. His instructor, Jörg, at the time, would push Markus to troubleshoot issues in new ways, and still inspires him to this day. Sometimes, thinking outside the box can really save your bacon.
It’s now 2008; we’re all at home watching the all-new Breaking Bad, and Tommy, Markus’ old-time buddy, is on the hunt for an administrative position. Well, it so happens that Markus’ company is hiring. Perfect timing – Tommy is offered the vacancy and ever since then, they’ve been colleagues for life.
No Time to Settle …
But the IT world covers a huge range of topics, and administration can be specialized into many different areas – so Markus ends up tinkering and tweaking network related issues, finding himself configuring set-top boxes for internet streaming as a side activity. Through speaking with people, he realizes the difficulty in streaming Afghan television content, something that would ultimately make its way into his thesis, and a topic that would interest him for weeks to come.
In 2009, Markus nears the end of his internship and, without an ounce of school support or prior preparation, walks into the examination, pen at-the-ready, and passes on his first try.
Something tells me he could be a good administrator one day …
A Meeting with the Matchmaker Angel
At IP-Exchange, a large data center near Munich’s main station, Markus develops and refines his skills further, now solely concentrating on server networking until, on April 13th, 2013, he meets his wife-to-be.
In the latter months, the company merges with QSC AG in Munich. Markus decides to move on, and ends up reuniting with his old mentor, Jörg. Jörg had by then also changed jobs, and was looking for a new administrator to be a part of his team. Markus takes the opportunity and, in 2014, joins the Munich-based hosting provider, where he oversees TV streaming and the configuration of secure infrastructures.
Some time later, however, and in an effort to find the right job, Markus decides to look around and research other businesses nearby. This is when he stumbles upon umwerk systems, the pretzel and coffee-fueled cloud company that he would come to know as his new home away from home.
But wait, if things couldn’t get any more eventful – on the night of May the 2nd, and on the day the all-new YOU channel from RTL ZWEI is launched – the next generation of Markusses enters the world. On the following morning, Stefan receives the welcome news that Markus is the proud father of his new born son.
1100100 % umwerk systems
Ever since his introduction into umwerk systems, Markus speaks of staying with the company till his retirement, a testament to the open thinking and family nature that can be found here.
For everything that doesn’t work, the obligatory “Zefix” and Markus’ outstanding administrative know-how make short work of finding solutions to rapidly deploy on servers. Whether it’s backups, nameservers, routers, firewalls, servers, monitoring, VPN configurations or networking, Markus has it down to an art-form, thus he stands at the forefront of securing the umwerk systems infrastructure. For our customers, Markus works tirelessly to ensure everything that’s needed to operate highly complex digital infrastructures runs smoothly.
But what about colleagues for life? Well, we can warmly say that Tommy has been working for umwerk systems since 2018 as well. Stay tuned for more …