Evernote Tech Blog

The Care and Feeding of Elephants

Inside Evernote: Gerardo Lopez-Fernandez

Gerardo Lopez-Fernandez is an Operations Architect at Evernote. He is focused on helping scale the environment and provide tools and direction in support of the Operations team efforts.

What role do you play on the Operations team?

As the Operations Architect I primarily focus on making sure the production environment and the tooling we use to run it fit together in a cohesive fashion. This also includes evaluating new technologies and approaches to solving challenges we face. I also spend a fair amount of time writing and integrating tools, contributing some of them as open source to the community at large.

What are the big challenges?

The usual suspects: availability, scalability, performance, while always keeping data integrity and the user experience in mind. No decision is ever made without ensuring our users’ data is always safeguarded, even from us. And thus we invest heavily in automation, ensuring we have the right set of safeguards (aka belts and suspenders) around tools and processes.

What’s the most satisfying part of your job?

I have been a very active Evernote user for years (long before I started working at the company), which has been rare in my professional life. And so I directly benefit from the fruits of my labor, so to speak, making heavy use of the products in my personal life. From a company-oriented perspective, there is always a very palpable sense of accomplishment that involves the team and the company at large. This is an incredibly gratifying aspect of the culture at Evernote, which is imbued with openness, talent and humility across the board. It’s an incredible place to work.

What’s your background?

I’ve been deeply interested in Operations since my college days at the University of Florida. Tinkering with the innards of a computer was always interesting but not necessarily exciting. Orchestrating the work of said systems to provide a service is where I found the excitement, the embodiment of “this is what I do”.

Two companies have played defining roles in my professional life: Loudcloud & Ning. When I joined Loudcloud in late 1999 (which was among the first companies to do automated operations at scale) I found nirvana. I would later join Ning, which put me very close to the end-user, where I was able to really see the effects of automation, normally in the background, on a vibrant user community.

Evernote is, in some respects, the perfect combination of those two: our users’ data, its safekeeping and availability, is the driving force behind everything we do and how we do it, and automation is how we meet those goals, again, for a very active and engaged user community.

What’s your favorite Evernote feature?

My thoughts, ideas and everything else, anywhere I am, on any device I may have handy, fully searchable and organized, shareable at will. That was the primary reason I started using Evernote, it it continues to be. The slew of new features and additional products (i.e., Skitch, Penultimate, etc) are the icing on the cake.

How do you use Evernote?

I have been an Evernote user and fan since the very early days of the service, circa 2008, and I have used it for all sorts of things: meeting notes, random thoughts, book inventory, cooking recipes, school notes, blog drafts, where I park my car, etc. Over the past two years it has been the control center for the work we’ve been doing renovating a 100-plus year old historic house. It is truly an extension of my brain!

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