The Many Faces of SUSE Global Services: An Interview with Raine Curtis | SUSE Communities

The Many Faces of SUSE Global Services: An Interview with Raine Curtis


Raine Curtis, Sr Consultant, SUSE Global ServicesThis installment of the Many Faces of Global Services brings us back to Provo, Utah, where many of our talented services professionals are based.  This month, we are going to get to know Raine Curtis, one of our senior consultants in SUSE Global Services.

Raine, tell me about yourself and your history leading up to SUSE and ultimately Global Services.

I’ve actually worked at SUSE a few times.  The first was when I worked for Novell.  After Novell acquired SUSE back in the early 2000s, I was immediately moved to the SUSE side of the house where I was on the advanced technical training team.  It was a great because I sat with the support team and really learned what the common key issues were and built training courses around those issues.

About 2004, I left SUSE to expand my career and ultimately ended up at SaltStack, where I lead training but wore a number of different hats, including consulting and delivery.  Realizing that SUSE used Salt technology in a number of products, I was anxious to return to SUSE.

So you’ve come full circle. Tell me a little about your current role on the SUSE Global Services team. 

I am officially the team lead for SUSE Core Services within SUSE Global Services.  Core Services includes our SUSE Enterprise Linux product and add-ons, such as HPC, and SUSE Manager. That means, I not only deliver services, but I also work with my team to optimize and standardize processes.  I also work on consulting playbooks.  The goal is that our customers get the same consulting experience whether their services are delivered by a SUSE consultant or a consultant from one of our Certified Delivery Partners.

The majority of our consulting work consists of provisioning and deploying SUSE Enterprise Linux, authenticating users (ie., maintaining security), and clustering.  We help with keeping systems secure and up-to-date, including providing assistance with patching lifecycle management.  We’ve also been working quite a bit with customers helping them to deploy SUSE Enterprise Linux in the public cloud.

And because SAP has mandated that all SAP Business Suite users must migrate to a Linux-based platform by 2025, we’ve been doing a lot of planning for migrations to SAP S/4HANA.  We’ve been helping customers determine their migration path, how they can migrate data and how to cluster properly.

In addition, we work heavily with our retail customers, particularly around minimizing downtime.  Retail is a little different than most industries as they have more requirements and limited bandwidth and resources.  Upgrades are particularly challenging as sometimes the upgrades take longer than the number of hours the store is closed.  We’ve learned that if we pre-pushdown packages a week prior to the “go-live,” we can get the work done in a reduced amount of time.

It sounds like your team is quite busy keeping our customers up and running and implemented properly!  Let’s move away from work for a moment.  Who inspires you, and why?

There are so many good and inspiring people out there today. However, I would have to first name my dad. I’ve been blessed with him as good father, role-model, and example of a dedicated and hardworking man.  He has always inspired me to do the same.

In technology, I would have to say that the founder of the open source “Salt” project, Thomas Hatch, is one of the most inspirational men I’ve ever met. He is a guy that has had many challenges in his life, including overcoming numerous health issues. Instead of withdrawing, he pursued his ambitions in developing one of the fastest growing open source projects in the world. He has done all this while still remaining humble, and grounded in his views about life.

Moving back to SUSE Global Services.  Tell me about the most difficult project you’ve worked on?

One of the most difficult projects I’ve worked on was for one of the largest healthcare providers in the United States. We had to migrate an infrastructure of over 1.6 million systems with less than 1 minute of downtime.  There were systems in pharmacies, operating rooms, and labs that were all part of the migration that were effected. The slogan of the project was “Imagine if you were receiving care? How would careful would you want others to be if it was you?”

What was the best concert you ever went to? Why?

Without a doubt, Garth Brooks! I saw him about 2 years ago on Halloween and he was nuts; running all over the stage and getting the crowd going!

That guy is an incredible entertainer even if you don’t like country music.

Hmmm.  Wonder how many calories he burns a show? Never mind.  Let’s move on.  What’s the book that made the most lasting impression on you?   

One of the most long-lasting influential books I’ve read is “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Steven R. Covey.  One of the most powerful habits for me is to be able to have a paradigm shift and be open to seeing things differently.

Being able to pivot without losing your “cool” is an important life skill.  Raine, Tell me what you are passionate about?

Working with open source software is one of my greatest passions. Whether it is contributing to an open source project or trying the latest and greatest software.  I love working with it and I enjoy working in consulting services and helping customers bring technology to business needs.

I like to think of our services consultants “SuperHeros,” for some of the amazing work they do at our customer sites.  Tell me your secret talent that no one knows about.  How do you integrate it into your daily work?

Developing training materials is a talent of mine.  I know that when I’ve received good training materials it has made my job much easier and I try to provide the same. One way is to use many markup languages to produce documentation and learning materials for projects and training.

Give us a day in the life of what your role at SUSE Global Services looks like.

In leading the Core Services team for the North America SUSE Consulting Services I see a broad range of customers and solutions.  Focusing on implementing provisioning and managing all SUSE Linux Enterprise editions, SUSE Manager, HA clustering, SAP on SUSE Linux, and retail infrastructure, the core services team provides comprehensive solutions for open source Linux system management.

Most days I am either working with my primary customer or working with another consultant on their customers issues.  I really enjoy seeing different requirements and figuring out how we can make our solutions get customers to where they want to go.

Other days I am focused on practice enablement and working on playbooks that document our processes.

We say SUSE is the “open, open source company.”  What does “open” mean to you?

To me, open means collaboration and transparency. It is a valuable tool in developing some of the best software in the world. I find it a great opportunity to work for a company such as SUSE that takes such a strong position in supporting open source software. It builds relationships that would otherwise not be made in closed source software.

Raine, how did you get started in this field?

While working on my undergraduate degree, I was working technical support jobs.  Though I was pursuing a career in the medical field, I found a greater interest in technology.  After about two years into my degree I changed my major, earned certifications, and began working in the IT industry.  I really love learning and if I could I would be a professional student.

I think that’s one thing that has made me such a good consultant is the fact that I love figuring out solutions to other people’s problems.

What are three things you love about working at SUSE?

The people are the best thing about SUSE. The second best thing is the culture. It’s no mystery that good people develop a good culture. The third is the positive vision and direction promoted by everyone from the top leadership, to my peers.  SUSE not only promotes professionalism, but a positive vision and direction. No matter the location in the world, and I’ve had the opportunity to visit many, SUSE always encourages everyone to take the high road.

And finally, what’s your favorite quote?  

One of my favorite quotes is:

Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.

– Albert Einstein

I like this quote because there is always more we can be doing, learning, and helping to make this world a better place.

I’d like to thank Raine for sharing a little bit about himself.

The white paper “Three Reasons Why You Need a Services Partner for IT Transformation” describes some of the obstacles companies face when undergoing IT transformation. You can download it here.

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Stacey MillerStacey is a Senior Product Marketing Manager at SUSE. With more than 20 years in the high-tech industry, Stacey has a wide breadth of technical marketing expertise.