Raj Shanmugasundaram – Database Administrator EDW in Dublin

Raj Shanmugasundaram – Database Administrator EDW in Dublin


Database Administrator – EDW
Dublin, Ireland
Joined: 2012

Data is integral to Groupon’s success and Raj’s work ensures that everything is running smoothly in the system, which he likens to being a traffic cop.

What was your first role here? How did you get to where you are now?

I first started at Groupon as an EDW employee in Chennai, India as a Database Administrator. I worked on various tasks related to Teradata Administration while helping grow the Chennai EDW team by interviewing candidates. During this time, I learned new technologies such as Postgres Administration and Alation Administration. The EDW team planned to spread across others locations to  support the business more widely, which is when I got the opportunity to move to Dublin, Ireland. Even in Dublin, I am the first EDW employee.

Tell us about your job! What do you do exactly? What do you love about it?

I am Teradata Database Administrator. Teradata is a fully scalable relational database management system. It is widely used to manage large data warehousing operations and acts as a single data store. The data that stores in Teradata used to take many business-related decisions. It is our responsibility to make sure the system is available for the business 24/7, controlling the user sessions and production pipeline sessions without impacting each other.

It was quite challenging to balance the user load and ETL pipeline loads. It’s kind of like allowing food trucks and consumer cars on the road at the same time. So we are basically the traffic cops, allowing everyone to move freely without impacting others. Aside from managing the traffic, we need to review the object definitions, data securities, and access controls. Automating the process is my favorite part. I’ve worked on many automation scripts like resource controller, notifications, etc.

What’s the biggest challenge you’ve worked on?

The Teradata Refresh Program. This was one of the biggest challenges and the complicated project may be we are the first one who did this activity. Reducing the active Teradata server is quite challenging. It involves many teams such as the network team, Teradata vendors, and the entire EDW team. We started our groundwork a long time ago and determined which options would have the least business impact while still being cost-effective. It was one of the great milestones for the EDW team.

What was your first impression of Groupon?

I felt it is an open place where I am allowed to do my job without any boundaries. Groupon allows me to grow as I wish. Very few places have this kind of opportunity.

How does your work connect to Groupon’s mission of being the daily habit in local commerce?

We are dealing with a large amount of data, which many teams use to make important business decisions, such as Marketing, Email, Finance, and Accounting. Most of Groupon’s core business teams rely on data.

Smart people, interesting work.

What’s unique about Groupon’s Engineering culture?

There are no boundaries to implement our ideas and there is a fantastic culture. Recently, during Teradata Refresh program (Teradata Downsize), we had a mammoth challenge: we had to do it in an efficient way with less downtime. We came up with a strategy of using the loaner system approach and it was a huge success and we are one of the Teradata customers who did this project. Aside from work, Groupon provides ample opportunities to get involved socially with programs such as the Volunteer-a-Thon, Parents@Groupon, Coder Dojo, and Tech Chit Chats. These activities help to build relationships with other teams while making the workplace very special.

We see that you are a member of Groupon Volunteers. Why did you join?

It is kind of like marketing, as it’s a way to tell the world about Groupon. And it is marketing with a good cause! I am also a member of both PRIDE@Groupon and Parents@Groupon.

Where can we find you outside work?

If I am in Chennai you can find me at the movie theatre during weekends, which is one of my favorite things to do. I am also interested in any sports activities like Staff Reply and Run in the Dark.

What do your parents think you do?

“The sun needs to learn from me how to work without taking rest.” My parents think that even I am working during my holidays. But it is my habit to check what is happening in Groupon.  

Ravi Chellam Ponnusamy – IT Team Lead and Systems Administrator – Chennai

Ravi Chellam Ponnusamy – IT Team Lead and Systems Administrator – Chennai


IT Team Lead and Systems Administrator
Chennai, India
Joined: 2013

As a global coordinator of all things IT, Ravi continuously strives to achieve a high level of performance while also enjoying the people that he works with.  He’s the consummate Grouponer.

What’s your favorite Groupon memory? 

There are so many of them! Meeting my managers—Karin and Kelly—when they visited the Chennai office in 2013 is one of them. I also really loved my first visit to the Chicago office. Finally, I loved meeting my current manager Brian Burden and our Global IT Head Iain Phillips when they visited both Chennai and Bangalore offices in 2018.

Tell us about your job! What do you do? 

I am the India Team Lead and Systems Administrator for IT Support Services. I’m responsible for the day-to-day IT operations of both Bangalore and Chennai locations and serve as lead providing global coverage to our employees. As a Systems Administrator, I partner with the Global Help Desk and key business stakeholders to identify opportunities to automate processes, thus streamlining the way we work and simplifying daily life.

What’s been the most challenging thing you’ve worked on?

I have worked on a lot of projects, all of which have posed different challenges. My most recent challenge has been helping to lead the Windows 10 1709 upgrade. The project involved a lot of reporting, cross-departmental collaboration, and coordination amongst local team members.  After a lot of hard work and energy, I’m happy to report that we successfully upgraded over 2k computers globally!

Who inspires you?

Both of my managers. Karin Swanson for when I was a helpdesk analyst and Brian Burden, my current manager.

What was your first impression of Groupon as an employer?

That it was very open and friendly.

How does your work impact Groupon’s mission of building the daily habit in local commerce?

Groupon IT provides the systems, servers, and networking which are the backbone of any IT organization. Our work enables all teams to do their daily jobs effectively and connect with local businesses.

Where were you before you joined Groupon? How did you get here?

I was a Systems Administrator at Syrma Pvt Ltd. where I worked on the night shift. While I was watching TV, I saw an ad for Groupon. When I searched Groupon, I saw there was an opportunity in IT available, so I applied for it.  I was interviewed by the US recruiting team and after interviewing with some IT managers over video, I was selected, and boom I am in Groupon.   🙂

You probably have a life outside Groupon; what are you up to when you’re not at work?

I like to play XBox, watch ghost and crime stories, and I also have a stamp collection.

If you could do another job for just one day, what would it be and why?

I have three answers for this because it has changed three times during my life. When I was a kid I wanted to become a military officer. Then, when I was a teenager I wanted to become a cricketer. But now  I am happy with my current role and would like to move higher up in the IT ladder.

What’s your favorite local business?

Ice cream shops 🙂

IT obviously exists at other companies…so what makes your role at Groupon unique? 

You don’t get a team which is so friendly just anywhere. Our managers support us in every way so we can move to the next level. That is the difference.

Can you write a Groupon haiku?

Groupon is the place —

Managers are Fun —

I would love to work for them

Tell us something that might surprise us about you.

I am not always satisfied even when others are very happy with the final result of a project I do. I have a certain level that I want to achieve. That is me.

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