ASML is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of chip-making equipment. Headquartered in Veldhoven, the Netherlands, ASML employs more than 21,000 people.
If you want to work in a hi-tech environment, you’ll find an outlet for all your ambitions at ASML. I believe IT professionals can learn a lot here. The standard is high, so you have to be able to keep up with the pace. In fact sometimes we do things here that border on the impossible! After all, the IT folk that work with us are among the best the market has produced – and then ASML stimulates them into bringing out the best in themselves.
A lot of people don’t realize the size of ASML’s IT department or the fact it offers the same challenges – if not more – than any IT services company. Virtualization is currently a really hot item within the IT community for example. At ASML we’re well advanced in the development of virtual servers, with 500 already up and running.
Nowadays, most IT people have a higher vocational or university education. I followed another path. Working for an ASML supplier I was asked to join ASML in 1995. During my thirteen years here in Veldhoven I have seen all parts of IT. I started as a UNIX system administrator in Development & Engineering and, after a few jobs in between, arrived at Enterprise System Architecture. This is where the high level designers develop the backbone of the whole IT infrastructure, or as we call it, the club of architects.
I’m currently at Development and Capacity planning and spend almost 100% of my time on capacity planning. I handle the procurement and system administration of IT equipment for ASML worldwide, based on infrastructural and mathematical models. The IT infrastructure has grown considerably in the past few years. When I started we had 25 servers worldwide, now there are 1200, making up one single network. You can imagine that this growth requires some adjustments to be made.
Our advanced operations mean we must implement high-end environments, so we can support departments like Development & Engineering adequately. Often I have to use techniques that have only just come into the market. That’s a good thing, but it must be feasible. Fortunately, I have built up a lot of knowledge and experience – nothing takes me by surprise anymore, it’s just making sure all the wires connect together.
If I do my job well, ASML can save a lot of money. We used to outsource our data backup storage but I said, “We can do it cheaper”. ASML is the kind of employer who says, “Alright, show us!” I calculated we could save millions in the coming years. That’s easy money and ever since, backup has been done internally. This illustrates how ASML gives you the space to think up new ideas, make plans and execute them. It’s this freedom that I appreciate most at ASML. Of course if you don’t do well, you’ll hear it too. In that respect the culture here is fairly open and honest. I like that. But then, I like it here at ASML.
I do have one unfulfilled ASML wish. In the thirteen years I’ve worked here, I’ve never seen a scanner! They’re in cleanrooms a stone’s throw away from my workstation. A visit to the ‘Holy of Holies’ is something I’d still like to do.