Martin A. Brown

Below is a brief professionally-tinged history of me; I am the author of the Guide to IP Layer Network Administration and have also contributed a Linux-specific Traffic Control HOWTO to help plug a gap in the documentation of this rich set of features of the Linux kernel.

With an educational background in the humanities (English and German literature) but a natural engineering proclivity, I gravitated professionally into software and networked systems.

I love working with networks, software, data and, most importantly, people.

Seeking work

In early 2016, I am seeking full time or contract work.

Core personal characteristics:

  • communicator, organizer and systems thinker (Myers–Briggs: ISTJ)
  • manager and mentor in the technical arena
  • incremental planner for long-term maintainable execution
  • technical competence in software development and infrastructure operations
  • deep interest in networking (at a local and global scale)

I would love to find a firm in the networking and/or security arena which is looking for a development director or manager who thrives on execution and delivery of software and infrastructure.

With just shy of two decades in networking and security infrastructures I can adapt easily to different levels of organizational maturity—for example, Agile-driven process, contract-driven or even wild west startup.

Volunteer work

After some early smaller contributions to The Linux Documentation Project in the mid-aughts, in 2016, I made a large contribution by automating publication of all TLDP documentation and increasing the supported array of source document formats.

Interests and hobbies

Here's a mix of my professional and personal interests.

  • Systems reliability and transparency improvements
  • Networking and network data analytics; control and data planes
  • Traffic control and quality of service
  • Programming languages: Python, bash, Perl, C
  • Data handling engines: PostgreSQL, Pandas, Hadoop
  • Documentation systems: DocBook XML and SGML, Asciidoc, Linuxdoc
  • Linux aficionado since 1997, professional since 1998
  • Furniture fabrication (example)
  • German language

Professional summary (chronological)

In the last (nearly 20) years, I have guided and assisted in the construction and management of software infrastructures supporting network security services, network data analysis and collection, and development tooling. In each of these firms, I have performed both management and technical duties.

In my first role in the open source arena, I grew the infrastructure and operational staff at a managed network security firm as it expanded from 4 to 50 people over 7 years. At another, I helped nurture the infrastructure and good build practices at a web application firm. In another, I guided a network data analytics firm as it dramatically improved its development and infrastructure reliability. I guided and supported the company's technical expansion from passive network data collection (Border Gateway Protocol) to active monitoring (traceroute) sensors.

I have omitted in my professional summary below several shorter-term support or consulting engagements with a variety of small firms in- or outside of the technology space.

Renesys Corporation

In 2007, a friend connected me to this small New Hampshire company specializing in Internet structural analysis. By applying realtime and longitudinal data analytics to Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) data and registration and geolocation data, Renesys was able to offer unparalleled operational and strategic insights into transit, connectivity disruptions and NSP business relationships.

My responsibilities revolved around technical execution in the medium- and long-term. For example, advocating and advancing the adoption of tooling to reduce delay from development to production, improving reproducibility of software build, and enhancing the monitoring and error-recovery of the globally-distributed data collection and analysis systems.

Key accomplishments:

  • Encouraged adoption of a build system and packaging, resulting in about 200 internal software packages and 350 external packages acting together as a proper software distribution.
  • Guided the design and build-out of a globally-distributed traceroute data collection infrastructure: 100+ nodes on virtualized systems returning data to core data centers within 5 minutes (~100GB data collection per day).
  • Hired and managed highly-competent set of developers allowing the company to double its data development team size.
  • Organized and ran thrice-annual, week-long, intense and technical development meetings to further long-term goals.

During the entire time I worked at Renesys, I managed, hired and worked remotely, along with about half of the geographically-distributed Renesys development team (i.e. approximately half of the team was in New Hampshire, and the rest of us were spread all over the place).

In mid-2014, Renesys was purchased by Dynamic Network Services, a firm founded in 2001 which operates many low-latency anycasted authoritative and resolving (iterative) DNS service locations and was diversifying.

SitePen, Inc.

In early 2006, I took a consulting role with SitePen, Inc., to help them plan and execute the build-out of an infrastructure to support a growing clientele and a specific project that was larger than they had undertaken before.

Key accomplishments:

  • Moved SitePen's operations to a process-oriented package build and deploy model with configuration managament.
  • Built and deployed a high availability MySQL service and coordinated all hosted data center operations.
  • Hired two operations team members to run the infrastructure.

SitePen builds custom DojoToolkit (Javascript) applications to address client-specific needs.

The work and people were so enjoyable, I took a part-time role (they didn't need me full-time) and helped them grow, hiring several full-time systems administrators as well as offering tools and techniques for supporting rebuildable infrastructure.

SecurePipe, Inc.

My first role using Linux was to help build and grow SecurePipe, Inc., a Managed Network Security Provider (MSSP) which provided firewall, VPN, IDS and IPS management services. Here, I trained network security engineers and built, managed and supported all of the customer and internal infrastructure. SecurePipe built its own software distribution in 2002 using cryptographically signed RPM software packages, (GPG-secured) secure Internet transport for logging, and devices with a modem-accessible rescue mode partition on every appliance.

Key accomplishments:

  • Organized and executed the transition from a shared, rotating on-call support model to a 24x7x365 staffed NOC.
  • Hired, trained and mentored dozens of network security staff.
  • Grew the systems from a T1 in a garage closet to (multiple) racks in 3 distinct data centers (a dozen to several hundred nodes, not including hundreds of customer premise equipment).
  • Planned and executed several near-zero downtime core database migrations (logging and security-relevant data).

SecurePipe was acquired in 2007 by TrustWave (which itself was acquired by Singapore Telecom in 2015).


I have an M.A. in German Literature from the University of Wisconsin–Madison (USA) and a A.B. in English from Earlham College.

Further detail and contact

If you would like more technical detail on my background, I have an alphabet soup and kitchen sink parts available with quite a bit of possibly (ir)relevant description of many of the tools with which I'm familiar and conversant. I would welcome any communication at Martin A. Brown and, of course, the industry-expected (machine-consumable) resume is available on request.