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The mini-tutorial experiment

I wasn't able to attend last year's LISA Conference, so when I started planning out my sessions for this year, I was surprised to see that the tutorials ended on Tuesday instead of going all week. That wasn't entirely true, though. The half- and full-day tutorials stop once the technical program starts, but the technical program is interspersed with mini-tutorials.

Jamie Riedesel wins Chuck Yerkes Award

Who would have expected having plenty of idle time due to the Great Recession would lead to an award? Not Jamie Riedesel, this year's Chuck Yerkes Award winner. The League of Professional System Administrators (LOPSA) established the award to recognize oustanding community contributions via online fora. Riedesel was selected in part due to her active contributions on ServerFault.

Kyle Neumann's LISA story

Kyle Neumann had never attended LISA before, but when his employer encouraged him to go to a conference, he started looking around. A Reddit comment and his own research lead him to LISA. Although his primarily role is a Windows administrator, he didn't necessarily want to go to a Microsoft-specific conference. He told me he likes that LISA content focuses on the domain, not a specific technology. "Even the technology-specific stuff," he said, "is technologies instead of technology."

Vendor exhibitor: JumpCloud

The benefits of moving computing infrastructure to the cloud are widely, if not universally, accepted. That doesn't mean it's always easy. In particular, user management can be tough. You don't want to open your Active Directory server to the whole world, but you want to be able to seamlessly manage users. And small startups might not have the resources to stand up and securely maintain their own directory service.

Vendor exhibitor: Xirrus

Conferences have a tough time keeping the wireless network up, sysadmin conferences even more so. With the LISA Build team planning to expand the network from just the keynote area to the entire conference, serious network gear was needed. Fortunately, Xirrus stepped in to donate 10 high-density access points. For the past 10 years, Xirrus equipment has focused on density, allowing for greater coverage and capacity with fewer units. In fact, they told me that for conferences like LISA, they can use four times fewer APs than competitors.

Keynote comparison: two views of the government

The Wednesday and Thursday morning keynotes provided an excellent contrast. One could call them "government: for better or for worse." On Wednesday, Mikey Dickerson gave attendees an update on what has changed in government IT in the year since the United Stats Digital Service (USDS) was established. ACLU Principal Technologist Christopher Soghoian spoke on Thursday about the role of sysadmins in the age of cyberwar and digital spying.

Vendor exhibitor: Midfin

IT infrastructure often moves to the cloud for increased flexibility and decreased provisioning time. Midfin wants to provide the same thing to internal resources. By provisioning networking, storage, and compute together, machines can go from zero-to-ready for configuration in a matter of seconds. Midfin recently exited stealth and LISA is their first conference appearance. Co-founder Ajith Jayamohan told me they chose LISA because they "believe in being open. LISA is the perfect venue. There are a lot of like-minded people here."

Alice Goldfuss's LISA story

Alice Goldfuss currently works as a Site Reliability Engineer at New Relic, but she didn't start out there. She had her own desktop computer at the age of nine and taught herself HTML, but when it came time to go to college, Alice chose a film and animation program. The years of constant constructive criticism taught her how to separate professional critique from personal and honed her ability to tell a story.

Monday at LISA

When Matt Simmons recruited me to join the Blog Team for LISA10, I a young sysadmin who had recently outgrown the small department where I worked. I had scattershot experience and no real sense of connection to the community. That week in San Jose was a firehose of knowledge and networking. There was more content than I could possibly attend in a six-day span.

LISA15 Speaker Interview Series

Many thanks to media sponsor for publishing the LISA15 speaker interview series! Over the past week, their team has published the following posts: