LISA16 Build - Feeling Like a Roadie

I feel like the newbie on a crew for a rock band on tour.

LISA Build is both a service to the LISA conference and a learning experience for the volunteers. I’m an old guy. I remember doing deployments like this (though we only had wired networks). I don’t think I remember the last time I worked on an operations project with this much intensity. It’s FUN, but I know I’m going to sleep well tonight.

We (the volunteers) started this morning at 9:00am. Branson, Brett, Steve, and Munroe (the “leaders”) have been preparing for this for a few months. They already had the gear dropped in the hotel conference room (Republic) that we’re using as a NOC. There are about twenty of us with varied backgrounds. The leads started off with a brief introduction, perhaps fifteen minutes, and we were off.

LISA16 Build Standup

What we started with was a patch to a wiring closet in the hotel and a few boxes of servers, cables, routers, and access point devices. We established a few basic requirements and then a set of stretch goals. The first task was getting the basics down solid. We broke into teams by interest to configure the APs, a firewall, the switch fabric, and the infrastructure service hosts. These last are going to be in an OpenStack cluster which arrived pre-built, but not completely configured for the uplink networks. I joined the team which was building the DHCP and DNS services.

I was surprised at how quickly we formed working groups with minimal outside leadership. Steve Anthony, the organizer, has done a great job of helping shape and prioritize the tasks, and then standing back to let the rest of us jump in and fill the roles we saw open.

LISA16 Build Netmap

We’re just over half-way through the day as I write this. The APs have been pre-configured, the firewall is up and ready, and the network is forming, with the first few VLANs lit up. The outbound network for OpenStack has been a challenge, as only three of us have any experience with OpenStack, and most of that is either as a user or in demo setups. Steve assures me that this is going as planned. Everyone is dedicated to getting the job done and if it means we have to learn something on the fly to succeed, well, that’s the point.

I’m going to head back now to stage the nameserver and DHCP configurations to be ready when the OpenStack network is ready (any moment now).

I’m hosting a group dinner tonight as well, so there will be pics and another report from the evening.

In the meantime, the band wants to do a sound check. Later!