We're highlighting Jesus Palacio, CTO of Urbalink Networks, and an OpenNMS Horizon user for more than 20 years.

In the first part of our interview, we'll get to know Jesus, how he got started with OpenNMS, and why he's stayed with the network monitoring platform after all these years.

How did you first get started with OpenNMS?

"I first interacted with OpenNMS in 2003, when I was a network analyst at my first job after college. My boss, who was very involved in open-source initiatives, introduced me to the project. He had implemented OpenNMS as an alternative to HP OpenView. The company we worked for at the time was a value-added provider to cellular carriers, both domestic and international. We had very strict SLAs with our customers, so one of our main tasks was to ensure compliance with those SLAs. OpenNMS was a perfect fit for our needs because it enabled us to do early warning and comprehensive monitoring, which were key aspects of our roles.

Later on, my then-boss and I became business partners. We offered a wide range of technology solutions together and founded a company called Codexware (2007-2010). Unfortunately, the company is no longer in business as we moved on to different projects."

Jesus Palacio of Urbalink Networks standing

Jesus Palacio of Urbalink Networks

Can you give us a few examples of the type of companies you've collaborated with and instances where you assisted in deploying Horizon?

"I proudly remember two deployments of OpenNMS during my time as an open source solutions provider for Codexware from 2007 to 2010:

  • Eleval: In this project OpenNMS was used to monitor the performance and early warning of a wireless microwave network that was used to monitor a complex electrical power grid serving Valencia city in Carabobo state, Venezuela.
  • Genesis Telecom: This was one of the first Internet service providers (ISPs) oriented to business clients in Venezuela. At the time, their network was completely wireless and composed of a diverse range of technologies, each with its own monitoring solution. This made it difficult for their NOC (network operations center) personnel to troubleshoot and resolve problems.

We offered them OpenNMS because its agentless monitoring concept was a perfect fit for their needs. OpenNMS was able to unify the monitoring process into a single, comprehensive solution, which made it much easier for the NOC personnel to track and manage their network."

You mentioned that Codexware is no longer in business. What are you doing now?

"I’m the Chief Technology Officer of Urbalink Networks, but—beyond the title of the position—I am responsible of the technology strategy and execution of the organization.

As part of my job, I also:

  • Oversee the development and implementation of new technologies, as well as the maintenance and security of existing network infrastructure.
  • Ensure network performance and availability as our goal is to deliver reliable and high-quality services to our customers.
  • Manage the IT & Customer Support Team who are stationed in the network operations center (NOC), with the help of team leaders. This includes hiring and training new staff, as well as setting performance goals and managing the team's budget.
  • Oversee compliance with legal regulations and working with the marketing team to develop new products and services is a integral part of my position."

Jesus Palacio at his desk with OpenNMS Horizon

Can you tell us more about Urbalink Networks?

"Urbalink Networks is a Venezuelan company that provides internet access, network solutions, specialized on the business segment. Through the years we have built a strong track record of providing reliable and secure services to our customers. We have a team of experienced professionals who are dedicated to providing solutions that meet the specific needs of our clients. Urbalink Networks now operates a hybrid network of fiber optic and high capacity wireless links servicing over 400 locations.

In addition, we offer the following services to our clients:

  • Network solutions: We specialize in designing, deploying, and managing networks and Wi-Fi managed access.
  • Consultancy: We offer help designing and implementing telecommunications solutions. This is a great option for businesses that are not sure where to start.

Most of the companies we help are looking for ways to reduce the cost of their monitoring solution without having to give up the possibility of customizing according to their needs. In general, we are able to work anywhere in which solutions that are tailored to fit any customer’s unique requirements are needed."

What do you love about your job?

"One of the things I love about my position as CTO of Urbalink Networks is the bird's-eye view of the entire organization and the ability to help shape its future. I get to make decisions that will impact the company's success, I get to see the fruits of my labor as the company grows and evolves.

The technology industry is constantly changing, so I need to be a lifelong learner. I try my best to stay up-to-date on the latest trends and technologies, and I like to apply my knowledge to solve real-world problems. Urbalink Networks is the perfect place for this because I have the opportunity to make a real difference in the world. Our products and services are used by people every day, and we help businesses succeed.

Of course, there are also challenges. Some days can be demanding and stressful, and you need to be able to handle a lot of responsibility. However, I believe that the rewards of this role far outweigh the challenges."

What's kept you engaged with OpenNMS after all these years?

"First, I am a strong believer in the DIY (do it yourself) philosophy and open source software aligns well with that. Being able to modify and adapt a product to my needs, if I have the capacity to do so, is an amazing benefit. Additionally, OpenNMS has a large and active community of users and developers who are always willing to help, so I am never alone or helpless.

I have been able to implement and adapt OpenNMS to meet our own needs and those of our clients who've requested a network monitoring solution. No matter what type of network or devices need to be monitored, OpenNMS has always been a perfect fit. That's why I implemented OpenNMS for Urbalink when I got the position in 2009. To this day, OpenNMS is a foundational part of my daily work.

OpenNMS aligns with my values of open collaboration and sharing of knowledge. I believe that open source software will play an important role is the future of software development, and I am excited to be a part of the OpenNMS community and of course to give back. OpenNMS also has a clear mission and vision to "be the leading open source network management platform in the world." This aligns with my own goals of using the best technology available and evolving with it. I believe that OpenNMS is well-positioned to achieve this goal, and I am excited to be a part of the journey."

Part 2, coming October 24

In the next part of our interview, we'll learn more about how Jesus chose OpenNMS and the benefits he's seen from implementing the network monitoring solution for clients—as well as Urbalink Networks.

In the meantime, you can learn more about OpenNMS Horizon and Meridian.