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Getting to know Alister Burrell

YellowDog Team Profile

We are creating highly specialised technology here at YellowDog, and that means we need highly specialised individuals. Here’s your chance to get to know Alister Burrell, our Systems Engineer.

What is your job title and what does that mean?
I’m a Systems Engineer on the infrastructure side at YellowDog which means I design, implement, and support the infrastructure our apps run on, along with some of the core services that our apps rely on.

When did you join YellowDog, and why?
I joined YellowDog in April 2018 to bring my industry knowledge of Linux, Infrastructure, Automation and DevOps practices to a very interesting concept of reusing spare CPU/GPU cycles for 3D rendering.

What does an ‘average’ day for you look like?
Like a lot of days in our industry, they usually start with a meeting! Our morning meets are mostly concerned with sharing current work of interest with the teams here, ensuring there are no blockers. Once we are all up to speed, I check out for any overnight or weekend issues, or co-worker support issues that need looking at. I then dig into my project work, creating systems to house and deploy our apps or adding stability and automation to existing systems.

What is it about YellowDog that you think is unique?
We are one of the few organisations with near instant access to a large selection of physical hardware in a number of data centres that don’t incur the cost of owning our own infrastructure.

What is the office atmosphere like, and how does it compare to previous places you have worked?
The culture is very mixed at YellowDog as almost everyone on the team is from a different background. Many have started out with YellowDog and grown with the team so it has a family feel too. It’s very social here and most interactions are face to face. Most other places I have worked are high tech with team members all having the same skill set, so it has not been as social, and most interactions around work are digital.

How do you split your time between the office / elsewhere?
I’m in the office most days but I work from home on Wednesdays as I have two young children who I have shared responsibility for. Due to the flexible working policy I also work from home on days I really need to get my head into something. Otherwise, if not visiting clients to assist with interoperability issues, I’m usually at my desk in Bristol or in a meeting room.

What do you love about working in Bristol?
When in the office for me it’s all about Harts Bakery or the Food Market on Thursdays, behind Temple Meads Station. When out, I’d say it’s all about our parks and the nightlife. My favourite area of the city is Easton; it’s so diverse and full of amazing shops, bars, clubs and restaurants. When I’m not in the office, that’s where I spend most of my time.

Did anything surprise you after joining YellowDog?
The size of the opportunity in the 3D rendering market for decent tools and pipelines. With the cost of some of the 3D rendering apps out there, you imagine them to come with these type of features in mind and use common standards. It’s exciting to be contributing to that gap in the market and helping to solve problems for artists and producers.

What would you say to someone who was considering YellowDog as a partner/employer?
Check out our videos to see how YellowDog works and research what plugins we support. Rendering is a deeply complex application and we welcome those who can get stuck into a challenge.