Thomas D. Childers

Fairfax, CA
+1 415 448 6621

Retired Software Architect/Chief Technology Officer

Decades of experience building large systems, helping engineers work together, stay focused, and grow. I deliver products — from architecture, planning and prototyping…to building and leading the implementation teams. I’m hands-on, experienced with many technologies, and get features out the door on time and on budget. I work easily with international teams, and know how to communicate to enable their success.I am great at: lightweight Agile management, high-performance/high-availability microservices, API design, databases, planning and staffing, scalability modeling, clear documentation, amusing presentations.
High-Performance Cloud Architectures
Benchmarking & Capacity planning
Agile Engineering and Project management
Platforms & Facilities
React, GraphQL, Javascript, Java, C/C++
Linux, Unix, Windows, Macintosh, IBM zOS
MySQL, PostgreSQL, Oracle, Sybase, DB2

Professional Experience

  Stealth Startup, San Francisco, CA
2016 – 2022
Chief Technology Officer, building an iPhone app and back end using React Native and Redux, Node.js, PostgreSQL, Docker, Terraform, Kubernetes. The architecture is fully scalable for automated cloud deployment, and fully instrumented for monitoring and management.
  Adobe Inc., San Francisco, CA
2015 – 2016
Senior architect for Adobe Campaign, bringing new large customers onboard with widely-varying configuration and integration requirements.
  Lyris Inc., Emeryville, CA
2013 – 2015
Lead architect, developing a new Platform-as-a-Service for direct marketing. Managed both local and remote engineering teams and documented all new features, while writing/reviewing/debugging and mentoring. Company was purchased and dissolved in 2015.
Responsys Inc., San Bruno, CA
2010 – 2013
Senior manager responsible for scalability and performance of a state-of-the-art, very high-reliability SaaS platform. Established automated benchmarking and scalability modeling to mathematically describe system behavior under various workloads. Established and documented a deployment architecture. Stress-tested product components, and provided capacity planning models for new features in an agile environment.
Sun Microsystems, Santa Clara, CA
1999 – 2009
Member and chair of the Architecture Review Committee for Solaris middleware like Glassfish, Java CAPS and NetBeans. Lead engineer and program manager for the Forté product suite, providing architectural, configuration and tuning support for mission-critical systems at Lufthansa, Telefónica de España, Bank of America, the US Department of Defense, and dozens of other major customers.
Forté Software Inc., Oakland, CA
1997 – 1999
Ported 3.5M lines of C++ to IBM zOS, then enhanced the application integration and workflow products to improve multithreading performance. Benchmarked product performance on large IBM and Sun mainframe systems, and presented results at various technical conferences.
Sybase, Inc., Emeryville, CA
1993 – 1997
Led the team porting Open Client and Open Server 10 to IBM mainframes, and later worked on the generic middleware products, as architect and member of the implementation team for the company’s CORBA and Java Transaction Services support. Major contributor to the engineering organization’s ISO 9000 certification.
Oracle Corp., Redwood Shores, CA
1989 – 1993
Responsible for all database benchmarking and customer performance issues on IBM MVS. Designed, configured, optimized and ran tests to evaluate competitive performance and expose kernel issues. Presented technical papers at most IOUG conferences, and wrote articles for Oracle Magazine.
E-Net Corp., Greenbrae, CA
1988 – 1989
Co-architect of the IBM DB2 Remote Recovery Data Facility, and the underlying ENET1 product. Co-holder (with the company founders) of software patent 5,412,801.

IBM Santa Teresa Laboratory
Fireman’s Fund,
Viasoft, MIT

1978 – 1988
I began my career working my way through school at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, programming commercial applications on IBM mainframes. For four more years, I did similar work at Fireman’s Fund Insurance Companies, then co-founded a Silicon Valley startup in 1984 (Viasoft). At IBM, I led the team that designed and implemented one of the first worldwide distributed relational database systems, managing documentation processes across 72 international sites.


Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA
1976 – 1979
Undergraduate studies in Electrical Engineering and Geophysics.


Available upon request. See my profile on

Publications and Samples

NOTE: Material on this web page is generally out of date. All content has been released into the public domain, concerns products that are no longer marketed or sold by the company that owns them, or has been edited to remove confidential material.My most current material is generally confidential to my employer.

White Papers

Adobe Campaign Hardware Sizing Guide
2016 documentation of hardware and deployment requirements for various installations of a complex product.
Integration Server EAI Performance
White paper for product support and field staff, describing the performance of the Forté Conductor workflow engine under large-scale benchmark workloads.
Dynamic Logging
White paper for engineering management, proposing standardization of a product feature that dramatically reduces support cost and effort.


UDS Overview
2005 presentation for product support and field staff, giving a brief introduction to the Forté Application Development Environment product, aka ‘Sun ONE UDS’.
Forté for OS/390 – An Insider’s View
Presentation at Forté Forum customer conference in 1999, describing the architecture and performance testing results of the product on IBM mainframes.

Oracle Magazine Articles

Capacity Planning Basics for OLTP
A very basic introduction to the concepts of transaction rate and path length, with a little math to get DBAs and management to think quantitatively.
Improving Access to Different Types of Tables
A simplified introduction to RDBMS buffer pool requirements for several kinds of tables.
ORACLE and the IBM Mainframe I/O Architecture
A historical introduction to IBM mainframe channel and disk architecture, with the first published description of IBM’s Media Manager and how Oracle takes advantage of it to outperform DB2.
Performance Issues for Log Files
The basics of RDBMS logging, with tuning suggestions for log file placement and log buffer sizing.
Sizing Considerations for Large Buffer Caches
How can you tell when the buffer pool is big enough, or when it’s too big?
SQL*Net Version 2 on MVS
Marketing piece describing network access to Oracle on IBM mainframes.