Liquid Audio

Head of network operations – Liquid Audio – Dec 2000 – July 2001

I was bought in to Liquid Audio through my old manager at Transaction One. Suitably impressed with my ability to establish data center presences from scratch, my task was to build the office and commercial infrastructure for Liquid Audio Europe. Due to the type of content we were serving(online encrypted music – two years before it came into the mainstream) a substantial data center was required, with the ability to serve out the 3.6Tb catalogue. With the help of the American office based in San Francisco, I managed the rollout of the 32 Sun Netra servers, a 3.2Tb EMC Fiber based SAN, 4 E420 Database servers and a variety of Cisco/Foundry load balancing and network management devices. This system never went fully live due to reasons explained later – but was ready to serve with a few DNS/software configuration changes.
Back at the European office, I was tasked with building a small NT network – with a VPN back to the US office along with several Solaris development boxes to help the european development team build J2EE software in a low latency environment.
Believe it or not, all this work was completed within 2 months and consequently we were left with little work to do – thanks to the efficiency of the US based technical operations team. The intranet at Liquid Audio was lacking in many ways, and a lot of time was spent updating it so I fell back on my development experience and ,after discussions with the CTO, I was given the go-ahead to start re-building the intranet.
Around a week after I started building this new, database driven intranet head office tasked us with auditing the Japanese subsiduary. My manager and I flew off and proceeded with interviewing the non-English speaking staff through an interpreter as well as auditing the datacenter and the equipment within the office. I managed to diagnose and fix many problems with their data center/Sun E220 servers during our short stay – since they were crying out for help and didn’t have the expertise inhouse to realise the source of the issues they were facing.
We left Tokyo on Friday and proceeded to write up a 60 page report on the Japanese office over the weekend in Hawaii – to be presented on Monday morning to the board in San Francisco.
Our report was accepted with much praise from the board, and we were given the go-ahead to immediately implement all reccomendations made in the report.
Subsequent delays in securing finance for the proposed changes to the Japanese office meant that I could continue to develop the intranet – and a working Perl/MySql based system was demonstrated and approved by the Head of Operations.
Unfortunately, as with many dot-coms around Silicon Valley, serious cutbacks resulted in the entire European operation being closed down. The next two months were spent dismantling and shipping all computer equipment, as well as our kiosks which were in the HMV Oxford Street store.

Technology used


  • Configuration/Maintainance/Patching multiple Solaris 2.6/8 servers

EMC SAN cabinet

  • Recieved training in installing EMC SAN Fiber software – the only installation of this type that was known to work reliably.


  • For frontend development of the new database driven intranet – with access control and full CMS
  • SNMP tool to manage local network of machines(monitor unauthorised software installs and unusual network activity)
  • LDAP tool interfacing with exchange server to provide full address/phonebook from centralised source


  • Backend of intranet and development servers – providing Oracle emulation for basic queries