IT system maintenance is one of the most critical aspects of a successful business. In this week’s CSOFT Story, we’re joined by CSOFT’s Senior IS Engineer, Howard Zhang, briefing us on his role in keeping the company’s communication channels flowing smoothly.
How did you get started with CSOFT?
I came on board in 2005, primarily as an Information System (IS) administrator, responsible for the maintenance, service, and safety of the company network. My current role encompasses what we would call “electronic service maintenance,” which entails managing the server functionality, email traffic flow, internal Web upkeep, phone system support, working the Help Desk, and so on and so forth. I am here to essentially advise on or troubleshoot any technical issues within the company.
What big changes have you seen since you joined the company?
The staff has grown and developed tremendously, from not so many people to hundreds of employees. The company has also expanded its domestic and overseas operations, with high quality offices located in Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Hong Kong, the United States, Germany, and Japan, as well as other locations. From a technical perspective, the company facilities and equipment have moved from simple single-usage Internet service tools to modern, state-of-the-art Internet service equipment, even expanding to memory storage equipment, virtual backup equipment – the list goes on. From where I’m sitting, it’s very easy to see the speed at which CSOFT has taken off in development.
What are some of the biggest challenges in ensuring the daily function of CSOFT’s servers and other IT operations?
International inter-connectivity is often an issue given the number of clients we have overseas. Although our company is headquartered in China, our servers are based in the US. This allows us to bypass certain limitations we would otherwise face with regard to accessible websites as well as connection speeds. Along with development and testing, we are continuously working on varied Internet systems to incorporate within the electronic services environment which will serve to help minimize such inconveniences and allow for even greater efficiency.
What issue(s) are you most often asked to fix in the office?
Typical issues in the office include things like difficulties logging onto the Internet, slow FTP speed, or the inability to send/receive emails, as well as mundane things like forgotten passwords. I also look into any issues with the server, for example if there isn’t enough space for a document to be uploaded or mailed. As an administrator, it’s my responsibility to not simply solve people’s workaday issues, but look for ways to proactively anticipate and head off such potential issues before they’ve even arisen. Implementing automated procedures is one such way in which I make both my life and those of CSOFT’s employees much easier. Funnily enough, advancements in technology haven’t decreased my involvement in the office. They’ve actually made my presence and expertise that much more necessary.
What specific technologies do you work with at CSOFT?
I work primarily with Linux, as most of our server maintenance is done via Linux software. As it uses the newest technology application available, our database security requires approximately 80GB of space, which I maintain. In addition to network security, it offers server surveillance, data and information backup, network storage, web page buffering, and proxy-related technology. I also maintain the ÜbrTà and TermWiki servers, which are independently run. Being both a Certified Internet Webmaster (CIW) and Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA), I am able to really utilize the company’s technology to its fullest extent to enrich the company’s network and Internet experience.
If you had to choose a song to represent CSOFT’s 10th Year Anniversary, what would it be?
“I Believe” by Yang Pei’an, who is a famous Chinese singer. I choose this song because it expresses a sense of confidence and gives people the energy to keep chasing their dreams. I think it fits the attitude of our CSOFT employees and all that we are trying to achieve.