Our Featured Member series is a way for us to show appreciation and highlight active contributors in our community. Communities thrive on interaction and our Featured Series gives you some insight on some of our most active folks.
You might remember him from being an F5er from back in the day, DevCentral MVP member Stephan Manthey is our Featured Member for October 2020!
Let's learn more about Stephan!
DevCentral: First, please explain to the DC community a little about yourself, what you do and why it is important.
Stephan: I´m married with two grown up sons and work self-employed with a 100% focus on F5 technology. It´s my business to help clients to operate, maintain and configure their F5 BIG-IPs, to provide training on the job and workshops, to support network automation, develop iRules and do proof-of-concepts. This way I participate in the F5 ecosystem and I like it a lot.
DevCentral: You’re a former F5er and you’ve continued to be an active contributor in the DevCentral community over the years. What keeps you involved?
Stephan: I worked as an F5 employee for 11 years. Starting in 2002 as a Systems Engineer, I was involved into the transition of load balancers from pure packet sprayers to sophisticated proxies. Due to the several proxy functionalities of these devices, an engineer faces lots of challenges to get them deployed in the most efficient way for his clients. Staying up to date with protocols like SSL/TLS, http, DNS and others is a must and this literally saves your job. The load balancer stands between the network and the servers and applications. Due to it´s capabilities it might easily help to provide workarounds for problems on server and application level and is able to optimize and secure them. Supporting clients with their F5 gear was the plan when starting to work self-employed in 2013 and I´m pretty sure it'll keep me busy for the next couple of years.
DevCentral: Tell us a little about the technical expertise you have.
Stephan: After studying information technology and electrical engineering at university I worked in several technical positions in data networking environments. With F5 I gained additional experience and knowledge in the upper layers of the OSI reference model. And this continues to this day; in my job I learn something new each day. It´s about the protocols handled but as well about automation tools, scripting and so on.
DevCentral: You are the Consultant / Owner at LB-Net GmbH. Can you describe your typical workday, how you manage work/life balance and the strong support of F5 solutions? How has the recent pandemic impacted your work?
Stephan: After leaving F5 7+ years ago I started my own business based on F5 technology. It´s consulting, knowledge transfer in customer workshops, operation support, troubleshooting, automation, and solution development. With 2020 a lot of things changed. Due to a grown base of clients there is actually a lot of work to do and fortunately a lot of projects allow remote work. This gives me way more room to spend spare time with running, long-distance hiking, cycling and other physical activities instead of travelling in Germany.
DevCentral: Describe one of your biggest Customer challenges and how the community helped in that situation.
Stephan: A long term client asked me about supporting an automation project. The quick rollout of new services required automated deployment of infrastructure components, servers and applications. F5 BIG-IP already was a key component in their infrastructure and using the iControl API was just a logical step. In this project I provided an Ansible-based solution by using native API calls for complete device onboarding, clustering and service rollout. Building everything from scratch was a big challenge. Without the API documentation on DevCentral, the Ansible docs, help from other users and from platforms like stackoverflow this project would never have been completed.
Now we have got AS3 and F5-provided Ansible modules covering most requirements and the results are kind of obsolete. Anyway, the knowledge and experience you build in a project like this helps a lot in the next one. So keep coding!
DevCentral: Lastly, if you weren’t doing what you’re doing – what would be your dream career? Or better, when you were a kid – what did you want to be when you grew up?
Stephan: The things I´m doing help turning the wheel faster. Way to go? As I like to analyze, fix and develop things the engineering career was probably the right choice for me. Doing things that last longer might be even more satisfying.
---Thanks Stephan! We really appreciate your willingness to share. Stay connected with Stephan on social media: