Russell Maclean, Developer in Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
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Russell Maclean

Verified Expert  in Engineering

Infrastructure Developer

Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
Toptal Member Since
January 14, 2016

Russell is a senior site reliability engineer with experience writing Ruby, Python, Lua, and JavaScript production applications. He has a solid DevOps engineering background and expertise in AWS and Google Cloud. He has extensive experience working with SLOs and observe-ability tooling in a modern SRE culture. Russell is detail-oriented and communicates exceptionally well.


Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE), Kubernetes, Go, Temporal, Splunk, Nobl9
Toptal Client
AWS DevOps, Amazon Web Services (AWS), DevOps, Kubernetes
Toptal Client
Terraform, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Bash Script




Preferred Environment

Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud, Linux

The most amazing...

...thing I've done was instrument telemetry in a critical fintech customer onboarding flow with 100% test coverage in Go.

Work Experience

Senior Site Reliability Engineer

2022 - PRESENT
  • Spearheaded, as the lead engineer, the instrumentation of the customer onboarding flow with telemetry, achieving an impressive 100% test coverage to ensure robust and reliable performance across the entire process.
  • Innovatively designed and developed an on-call reporting bot, leveraging historical start dates and roster types to calculate rosters and replacements. This initiative streamlined on-call processes and contributed to more efficient resource management.
  • Demonstrated leadership in handling and resolving complex incident responses during on-call rotations and regular business hours, showcasing a proactive and solution-oriented approach to maintaining system integrity.
  • Led comprehensive post-incident review (PIR) analyses for incidents, facilitated collaborative sessions and developed and implemented insightful solutions to enhance service and platform reliability.
  • Played an important role in continuously maintaining the GKE/Kubernetes platform for our service teams, utilizing a diverse set of toolsets to uphold the platform's stability, security, and scalability.
  • Actively engaged in the ongoing review of performance metrics and SLO (Service Level Objective) data, using insights gained to drive improvements in service delivery. Ensuring that our systems consistently met reliability expectations.
  • Collaborated with cross-functional teams to implement best practices in incident response and resolution, fostering a culture of continuous improvement and shared responsibility.
  • Shared knowledge and expertise with team members, contributing to a collaborative and learning-oriented environment that empowered engineers to excel.
  • Trained and mentored peers in Terraform development best practices.
Technologies: Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE), Kubernetes, Go, Temporal, Splunk, Nobl9

AWS Expert | DevOps Engineer

2022 - 2022
Toptal Client
  • Led the entire IAC infrastructure and application migration from one cloud service to AWS.
  • Developed GitOps CI/CD for ECS and ASG deployments.
  • Discovered and Implemented federated AWS SSO improvements for multi-account operations.
  • Led and Implemented efficient DevSecOps, developing a robust, user-friendly process for secure management and deployment of critical secrets.
Technologies: AWS DevOps, Amazon Web Services (AWS), DevOps, Kubernetes

Senior DevOps Engineer

2022 - 2022
Toptal Client
  • Architected the whole Infrastructure as Code (IaC) using Terraform.
  • Migrated legacy app and provisioning tools to practice Terraformed ASG best.
  • Designed and wrote PostgreSQL cluster SaaS using Terraform and Puppet.
Technologies: Terraform, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Bash Script

Site Reliability Engineer

2021 - 2022
Toptal Client
  • Spearheaded, as the lead SRE, the re-architecture of AWS infrastructure using Terraform, seamlessly integrating Datadog observability across all services and infrastructure.
  • Architected bespoke Infrastructure CI/CD managed through a queueing orchestration bot, which guaranteed deployment success.
  • Onboarded new team members and provided regular video meeting training and walkthroughs for the wider business.
  • Drove DevSecOps efforts, architecting a robust, user-friendly process for secure management and deployment of critical secrets.
  • Implemented DevSecOps and wider company security practices through education, training, and documentation.
  • Revamped, reengineered, and elevated all GitHub Actions to seamlessly integrate with the new infrastructure.
  • Tasked with all future infrastructure and CI/CD for a team of 30+ developers. Worked as the tech lead, onboarded new staff, and managed the project backlogs, refinement, and all other agile requirements.
Technologies: GitHub Actions, GitHub API, Datadog, Terraform, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Python 3, CI/CD Pipelines, OpenVPN, Agile DevOps

Infrastructure Solutions Engineer

2020 - 2020
Latitude Financial Services
  • Led the enhancement of CI/CD tooling at Latitude Financial, architecting improvements for CI/CD consumed by over 600 services in a socio-technical role.
  • Conducted comprehensive feedback gathering, utilizing a collaborative approach to understand the diverse needs of the engineering teams.
  • Engaged in extensive discovery activities to identify pain points and bottlenecks in the existing CI/CD processes.
  • Drafted and proposed technical solutions, aligning them with the unique requirements and challenges of the organization. Ultimately architecting and offering a comprehensive and sustainable long-term solution.
Technologies: Amazon Web Services (AWS), CI/CD Pipelines, AWS CloudFormation, Python 3

DevOps Engineer

2019 - 2020
Toptal Client
  • Architected CDK deployment CI/CD pipeline and a cloud-based distributed application, utilizing Step Functions, Lambda, React, and Flask.
  • Developed tooling to seamlessly integrate an arbitrary number of Lambdas into an overarching Step Function, applied to live cloud environments for determinations and classifications.
  • Utilized Flask, WebSockets, and React for real-time presentation of media, determinations, and classifications in a dynamic user-facing web application.
Technologies: Amazon Web Services (AWS), Flask, WebSockets, React, Python 3, AWS Lambda, AWS Step Functions

DevOps Engineer

2019 - 2019
  • Engineered an infrastructure CI/CD toolset at Greenchef, enabling developers to deploy distinct ephemeral partitioned infrastructure.
  • Designed and developed a Terraform wrapper using AWS Lambda and Python 3, streamlining Terraform deployments for enhanced efficiency.
  • Architected CI/CD deployments into Terraformed ECS using AWS developer tools, integrating CodeBuild, CodePipeline, and CodeDeploy for a simplified and comprehensible solution.
Technologies: Amazon Web Services (AWS), Python 3, Terraform, AWS CodeDeploy, AWS CodePipeline, AWS CodeBuild, AWS Lambda

DevOps Engineer

2018 - 2019
Toptal Client
  • Developed an AWS cloud infrastructure management tool in Python 3.
  • Designed and developed an authentication and authorization gateway application integrated with SAML2 services using Python 3.
  • Collaborated on ongoing design and development with lead engineer.
  • Designed and integrated an audit trail analysis mechanism integrated with a management application.
Technologies: Amazon Web Services (AWS), AWS CloudTrail, AWS Lambda, SAML, Python 3

DevOps Engineer

2018 - 2018
  • Engineered fault-tolerant and high-performance infrastructure, demonstrating a focus on reliability and efficiency.
  • Designed and implemented a best-practice Terraform deployment for the entire AWS infrastructure, ensuring scalability and maintainability.
  • Authored a comprehensive suite of reusable Terraform modules, optimizing code reusability and consistency across projects.
  • Constructed a best-practice Jenkins CI/CD pipeline, streamlining development processes and ensuring efficient deployment workflows.
Technologies: Jenkins, Terraform, Docker, Amazon Elastic Container Service (Amazon ECS)

DevOps Engineer

2016 - 2017
  • Orchestrated a seamless migration of an entire Puppet codebase from version 3.7 (Jessie) to version 4.8 (Stretch), ensuring compatibility with both 3.7 master agent and 3.7 to 4.8 configurations.
  • Developed an API wrapper in Python 3, Lambda, and API Gateway for, facilitating the proxying of basic auth-protected dumb webhooks to auth. Implemented incident ID-to-webhook name mapping for enhanced incident management.
  • Conducted benchmark analysis of Elasticsearch 5 clusters in AWS using ES Rally and Kibana. Evaluated performance under varying conditions, including disk configurations (RAID/ZFS/instance store), cluster sizes, and instance types/sizes.
  • Engineered novel dynamic JavaScript Grafana scripted dashboard using InfluxDB for time series data comparison and overlaying against current periods. No such dashboard existed in the OSS ecosystem at the time.
  • Developed Puppet modules and Terraform deployments, converting CloudFormation configurations to Terraform for enhanced infrastructure management.
  • Designed and authored Google Compute Deployment Manager manifests/templates using Python 3, streamlining deployment processes.
  • Architected and implemented a distributed authentication and authorization system (ENC) using AWS, Puppet, and Confidant, incorporating Python 3, Ruby, and AWS SDK.
  • Engineered Python 3 Confidant bootstrapping script, automating user actions against an API to load and configure data from KMS-encrypted YAML.
  • Designed and implemented decoupled Lua/Nginx OAuth 2 layer based on RFC standards, serving as an authentication and authorization mechanism for Thumbtack services.
  • Engineered data application integrating InfluxDB and DynamoDB in Python 3/Flask/Boto 3/JavaScript/jQuery/Skeleton, tracking Kapacitor-muted alerts for enhanced data management and analysis.
Technologies: Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud, Kibana, Terraform, Puppet, Grafana, Elasticsearch

DevOps Engineer

2014 - 2015
  • Designed, implemented, and maintained Amazon Web Service (AWS) infrastructure for a diverse clientele, ensuring optimal performance and reliability.
  • Supported the complete application stack for various clients, conducting in-depth analyses and enhancements of open source services and AWS components.
  • Led end-to-end execution of whole infrastructure as code for a client, 100% automated, encompassing design, implementation, and ongoing support.
  • Responded to incidents promptly, conducted thorough analyses, facilitated post-incident reviews, and implemented actionable improvements to enhance overall system resilience.
  • Played a pivotal role in performance analysis and improvement initiatives for applications, systems, and infrastructures across a diverse client base.
Technologies: Apache Tomcat, NGINX, Apache, Capistrano, Elasticsearch, Solr, Chef, Puppet, Bamboo, Jenkins, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Linux

Site Reliability Engineer

2014 - 2014
REA Group
  • Managed and maintained both global AWS infrastructure and global data center infrastructure, ensuring their seamless operation.
  • Revamped and enhanced the globally distributed Nagios monitoring system, improving efficiency and responsiveness.
  • Participated in the AWS Summit 2014 in Sydney, staying inline with the latest industry trends and advancements.
  • Delivered on-call support and swift incident response, minimizing downtime and ensuring optimal system performance.
  • Provided valuable support to developers and engineers, fostering a collaborative and productive work environment.
Technologies: Citrix NetScaler, Nagios, NGINX, Apache, Solr, NetApp, VMware, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Linux

Linux Systems Administrator

2012 - 2014
  • Enhanced and maintained the hosting infrastructure for public-facing applications, including Django, Drupal, and custom PHP apps, ensuring optimal performance and reliability.
  • Successfully migrated the entire infrastructure to the latest version of Puppet (from 0.25 and 2.6 to 3.x), streamlining configuration management processes.
  • Designed and implemented a Platform as a Service (PaaS) utilizing Puppet, Hiera, and Git, contributing to improved deployment efficiency and scalability.
  • Provided valuable support and mentorship to developers, fostering a collaborative and productive work environment.
  • Provided on-call support and efficient incident response, ensuring minimal downtime and optimal system performance.
Technologies: HP BladeSystem, Redmine, Unicorn, NGINX, Apache, Django, Puppet, Linux

Operations Engineer

2011 - 2012
  • Oversaw ASX registry processing through proficient administration of OpenVMS systems.
  • Managed and maintained OpenVMS systems, ensuring seamless operation and efficient backups.
  • Orchestrated HP ESL backup operations, overseeing the process and the physical ESL appliance.
  • Conducted data recovery for various business streams upon request, addressing and investigating failures promptly.
  • Coordinated data warehousing operations to optimize efficiency and data management processes.
Technologies: HP BladeSystem, OpenVMS

AWS Technical Professional (2015)

I earned a certification in AWS fundamentals.

Certified Akamai Administrator (2014)

I earned a certification in Akamai Aqua Ion and Kona Web Security.

Red Hat Certified Engineer (Expired)

I earned a certification as a Red Hat Certified Engineer 5.x/6.x (2010)

It was attained in 2010, Valid for 5.x and 6.x, it is "expired" due to the release of RHEL7.

Certificate IV in Information Technology

I studied full time on campus at Spherion Melbourne 2001-2002

AWS EC2 Class
A Ruby class for controlling EC2 instances using AWS SDK.

Puppet Unicorn Module
A Puppet Unicorn module that quickly and easily creates daemonized Unicorn services with an init script. It's also Rails and Bundle compatible.

Puppet Master and Foreman Vagrant Box
A Vagrant box which builds a 3.x Puppet Master and Foreman dashboard with latest packages, running against itself as an agent. It uses Unicorn to serve the apps.

Python Robotic Rover
A Python robotic rover performing basic machine vision streaming using OpenCV. It navigated using a Magnetometer and an intelligent calibration module was written to utilise the BOSCH BNO055 6DOF chip.


Python 3, Python, Ruby, Regex, Bash, Bash Script, SAML, Lua, Unicorn, CSS, HTML, JavaScript, Go


Flask, Django, Sinatra


GitHub API, Slack API, OpenCV, React, Resque


AWS CloudTrail, Amazon CloudWatch, AWS Fargate, AWS Simple Notification Service (SNS), Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (VPC), AWS IAM, Grafana, Puppet, AWS CloudFormation, Nagios, Amazon EBS, Logstash, NGINX, Apache, Terraform, Amazon Elastic Container Service (Amazon ECS), AWS CodeBuild, AWS CodeDeploy, OpenVPN, Kibana, Bitbucket, Postfix, Amazon Simple Email Service (SES), Citrix Xencentre, Bamboo, Jenkins, Chef, Apache Solr, Solr, Capistrano, Redmine, AWS Step Functions, GNU Make, Citrix NetScaler, Apache Tomcat, VMware, Vagrant, Ansible, Packer, Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE), Splunk


DevOps, Continuous Delivery (CD), Continuous Integration (CI)


AWS Lambda, Buildkite, Ubuntu Linux, Amazon Linux, Amazon EC2, New Relic, Docker, Linux, Debian Linux, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Linux RHEL/CentOS, Icinga2, Icinga, Kubernetes


Amazon S3 (AWS S3), Relational Databases, Elasticsearch, Google Cloud, Amazon DynamoDB, PostgreSQL, MySQL, Database Performance, Datadog, HP BladeSystem, Xen OSS, Memcached, Redis, InfluxDB, NetApp, Dell Blades


Web Services, Gunicorn, Back-end Development, Performance Optimization, AWS CodePipeline, GitHub Actions, Agile DevOps, Slackbot, RDS Proxy, Amazon Kinesis, AWS Transfer for SFTP, Front-end, OpenVMS, WebSockets, Electronics, CI/CD Pipelines, AWS DevOps, Temporal, Nobl9

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