Why I Joined ExtraHop: Dr. Ken Pickles, Chaos Engineer

Editor's note: Ken Pickles is not an actual person. Rather, he's an amalgamation of real users that IT has to deal with, day in and day out. He's the VDI user that loads gigs of photos on his desktop profile, slowing logins for everyone. He's the person who opens all the phishing emails. The user who keeps high-resolution screensaver pictures on the storage network.

ExtraHop helps IT teams find user issues like these. Want to see how? Try to find Ken Pickles causing trouble in our live demo.

I recently joined ExtraHop Networks with the unusual title of Chaos Engineer. What's that, you ask? Well, as it turns out, I'm especially good at messing things up. If you've got a snag in your process, you can count on me to get everything hung up on that snag.

Dr. Ken Pickles, Chaos Engineer Dr. Ken keeps ExtraHop on its toes! Don't get pickled. Get ExtraHop.

How does one get a job as a Chaos Engineer, you ask?

That's a great question. I wasn't always aware of my natural talent for chaos creation. I actually started out as just a normal computer user. At first, all I could do was mess up my own desktop. But as my previous company moved more processes from paper to digital, I started elevating my game without even trying.

What launched my career as a Chaos Engineer was when we moved to VDI. Suddenly, what I did on my desktop didn't just affect my own local machine, it had much wider implications. Great for an unintentionally aspiring Chaos Engineer, less great for my co-workers, as it turns out.

At first, everything was humming along nicely. The CIO was so happy to see the VDI deployment expanding to hundreds of users. Then one day, Citrix logins started getting slow around 9 a.m. Really slow. Inexplicably, the same thing would happen every morning at about the same time, which was a real nuisance, since I was usually trying to log in about then. Everyone was complaining. I was irked more than anyone. One day, I tried getting into work an hour early, but for no reason at all, that day things slowed down at 8 a.m. rather than 9 a.m.! On the days that I was travelling or didn't log in, my colleagues said that everything worked fine. Obviously, the IT guys had it in for me.

Months went by and we clamored for our old computers back. Then, after our organization deployed ExtraHop, the IT guys said it had something to do with the 1 GB of photos in my "roaming profile". Storage contention, massive network transfers, unnecessary overhead, yada yada yada …

Layer 8 expertise for hire

Anyway, ExtraHop offered me a job on their Technical Marketing Engineering team. During my interview, everyone was impressed by my ingenuity and natural talent when breaking things. Now, I spend all day causing problems in the ExtraHop online demo environment.

Yep, that's me, famous on the Internet! And Phil in IT said I'd never amount to anything. Joke's on him.

Dr. Ken's favorite food Mmm. Pickles.

In the ExtraHop demo, I star in the Patient Safety and Slow XenDesktop Login Times scenarios. These scenarios highlight ExtraHop's unique ability to decode HL7 and Citrix ICA communications. With other monitoring products, I'd be invisible. But I'm not stuck in just those scenarios, I'm all over the place! Anywhere things look broken, there's a good chance you're admiring my handy work. The ghost in the machine, can you find me?

Okay, back to work, I've got more headaches to create. Give me a shout if you need me to do some consulting at your company, or if you've got a Chaos Engineer or two where you work. We could exchange notes!

I'm on Twitter, too. Follow me at @doctorkenp to see if I'm causing flight delays, writing the next zero-day exploit, or leaving your customer DB on an unprotected, public FTP server.

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