Senior Linux Infrastructure Engineer

  • Plymouth Marine Laboratory
  • Plymouth, UK
  • Sep 28, 2020
Full time Linux Systems Administrator I.T. & Communications

Job Description

Senior Linux Infrastructure Engineer

IT Group


£40,000 dependent on qualifications and experience

Full-time; open-ended appointment (Part Time/Job Share Considered)

Operations Level 3


Renowned internationally for its research excellence supporting a sustainable ocean, Plymouth Marine Laboratory (PML) has an exciting opportunity for a Senior Linux Infrastructure Engineer. 

PML is known for delivering impactful and award-winning science, from the poles to the tropics, and from lakes to the open ocean.  On World Oceans Day we launched our new PML Strategy (2020-2025) setting out our mission to enhance our position as a world leader in the field of marine science, whilst focusing on our vision of a healthy and sustainable ocean. 

It is an important time for the ocean with key international drivers being the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the “double decade” of action – The Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development, and the Decade of Ecosystem Restoration. 

Our new Strategy reflects this international context, as well as national and regional initiatives, and focuses on the delivery of four strategic aims:

  • Science excellence and impact
  • Business excellence
  • Social responsibility
  • Environmental responsibility

This role will indirectly support key areas of our Linux community’s research, namely Earth Observation and Modelling.  Examples of the research projects which are being delivered by these areas include: a project to generate cholera outbreak risk maps and developing a capability for cost-effective monitoring of offshore carbon storage projects.

PML has c. 160 employees, as well as students and visiting researchers. Approximately 70% of our employees are scientists, with the remainder being spread across operational groups, including the Information Technology Group (ITG).


Job Purpose

The ITG provides services to the whole of the PML. We are in an exciting period of transition and modernisation with a focus on removing legacy systems whilst moving towards more modern Linux computing systems, be that in the cloud or on premise. We are looking for a knowledgeable, experienced agile person to join our team and lead the relevant parts of this innovation.

We currently have a sizeable on-site data centre and we are just finishing the expansion with a ~£1m investment to move into Artificial Intelligence and machine learning with a cutting-edge GPU cluster. The volume of data that we manage is growing on a daily basis as we draw in raw satellite data from the EU's Copernicus programme and NASA satellites to produce Earth Observation data products, giving insights into the health of the worlds’ oceans.

We have over 8PB of network storage presently and we download data using either our 2Gbps internet connection or direct satellite link. Analysis and interpretation of these data is continual, making use of the grid processing infrastructure – around 1,400 CPUs and 7TB RAM.


Key Deliverables

  • Play a key role in the delivery of the IT strategy by leading in the modernisation, service delivery and ongoing maintenance of the PML Linux estate.
  • Plan, install and support hardware, software and service upgrades
  • Support and maintain server and container automation, deployment and orchestration tools
  • Develop and manage the Linux Support and Network Development Officer. Deputise for Head of ITG during his absence.
  • Support and maintain, PML’s High Performance Compute Cluster, user database, distributed grid compute.
  • Liaise with third party suppliers.
  • Contribute to the ongoing Continual Service Improvement and capacity planning activities
  • Produce relevant, accurate and detailed documentation for existing and future systems and services
  • Diligently expand knowledge and experience and endeavour to share with others
  • Resolve technical issues associated with Virtualisation (Ovirt, ESXi) and Linux using diagnostic and administration tools.


Experience & Eligibility Requirements

  • Excellent inter personable and communication skills
  • Strong documentation and written skills
  • Working knowledge of Dell server and storage systems.
  • In-depth knowledge of Centos/Fedora
  • In-depth knowledge of storage block/file based and distributed file systems
  • Experience of Virtualisation platforms (e.g. VMware ESXi, Ovirt)
  • Working knowledge of monitoring software (e.g. Zabbix, Nagios, Observium)
  • Working knowledge of workload management software (Slurm)
  • Knowledge of Linux Security Best practices
  • Working knowledge of administration automation (e.g. Ansible/Saltstack/Puppet)
  • Working knowledge of system management software (e.g. Satellite/Foreman/Spacewalk)


If you can bring any of these skills too, this will strengthen your application:

  • Knowledge and experience of cloud compute in one of the following AWS/Google Cloud/Azure/Other
  • Management of staff
  • Knowledge of disaster recovery methodologies


The role is based in our office in Plymouth and offered with an open-ended contract. This post is offered at Operational Level 3, with a starting salary of £40,000 depending on experience with potential growth to £49,745. In addition, you will have a generous 30 days of annual leave plus 8 days of public holiday, a company pension with up to 10% company matched contributions, and a host of other benefits such as access to union membership, welfare and sports societies.

PML is committed to equality, diversity and inclusion, and our policy can be found We are proud to have achieved the Athena SWAN award as recognition of our achievements in gender equality. As part of this, we offer opportunities to discuss flexible working and whilst the selection process will be based on merit, we particularly welcome applications from female candidates, currently underrepresented.

The position advertised is a full-time role requiring 37 hours per week, however, applications for part time working are also welcome (please state this in your application). We also operate a flexible working policy.