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Raj S. - Database Administrator

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Rajkumar Shanmugasundaram Dublin Headshot

Title: Database Administrator
Location: Dublin, Ireland
Joined: 2012
Preferred Pronouns: He/Him/His

Data is integral to Groupon’s success and Raj’s work ensures that everything is running smoothly in the system, which he likens to being a traffic cop.

What was your first role here? How did you get to where you are now?

I first started at Groupon as an EDW employee in Chennai, India as a Database Administrator. I worked on various tasks related to Teradata Administration while helping grow the Chennai EDW team by interviewing candidates. During this time, I learned new technologies such as Postgres Administration and Alation Administration. The EDW team planned to spread across others locations to  support the business more widely, which is when I got the opportunity to move to Dublin, Ireland. Even in Dublin, I am the first EDW employee.

Tell us about your job! What do you do exactly? What do you love about it?

I am Teradata Database Administrator. Teradata is a fully scalable relational database management system. It is widely used to manage large data warehousing operations and acts as a single data store. The data that stores in Teradata used to take many business-related decisions. It is our responsibility to make sure the system is available for the business 24/7, controlling the user sessions and production pipeline sessions without impacting each other.

It was quite challenging to balance the user load and ETL pipeline loads. It’s kind of like allowing food trucks and consumer cars on the road at the same time. So we are basically the traffic cops, allowing everyone to move freely without impacting others. Aside from managing the traffic, we need to review the object definitions, data securities, and access controls. Automating the process is my favorite part. I’ve worked on many automation scripts like resource controller, notifications, etc.

What’s the biggest challenge you’ve worked on?

The Teradata Refresh Program. This was one of the biggest challenges and the complicated project may be we are the first one who did this activity. Reducing the active Teradata server is quite challenging. It involves many teams such as the network team, Teradata vendors, and the entire EDW team. We started our groundwork a long time ago and determined which options would have the least business impact while still being cost-effective. It was one of the great milestones for the EDW team.

What was your first impression of Groupon?

I felt it is an open place where I am allowed to do my job without any boundaries. Groupon allows me to grow as I wish. Very few places have this kind of opportunity.

How does your work connect to Groupon’s mission of being the daily habit in local commerce?

We are dealing with a large amount of data, which many teams use to make important business decisions, such as Marketing, Email, Finance, and Accounting. Most of Groupon’s core business teams rely on data.

What’s unique about Groupon’s Engineering culture?

There are no boundaries to implement our ideas and there is a fantastic culture. Recently, during Teradata Refresh program (Teradata Downsize), we had a mammoth challenge: we had to do it in an efficient way with less downtime. We came up with a strategy of using the loaner system approach and it was a huge success and we are one of the Teradata customers who did this project. Aside from work, Groupon provides ample opportunities to get involved socially with programs such as the Volunteer-a-Thon, Parents@Groupon, Coder Dojo, and Tech Chit Chats. These activities help to build relationships with other teams while making the workplace very special.

We see that you are a member of Groupon Volunteers. Why did you join?

It is kind of like marketing, as it’s a way to tell the world about Groupon. And it is marketing with a good cause! I am also a member of both PRIDE@Groupon and Parents@Groupon.

Where can we find you outside work?

If I am in Chennai you can find me at the movie theatre during weekends, which is one of my favorite things to do. I am also interested in any sports activities like Staff Reply and Run in the Dark.

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