The First Hundred Days

Geoff Halprin's third tutorial session of LISA '12 was titled "The First Hundred Days." New this year, this tutorial provided guidance for senior system administrators and managers beginning a new role. Geoff ran this tutorial almost like a workshop, engaging the audience throughout. We started with a discussion of situational leadership. Four types of situational leadership are defined on two axes: task behavior and relationship behavior.

Sysadmins CAN write documentation!

Documentation is something that sysadmins are famous for hating to start. Mike Ciavarella is now in year 10 (or 11) of his effort to teach sysadmins that, well...

Workshop Review: The State of the Profession

I was scheduled to attend a tutorial today, but I pulled a last minute audible so that I could jump into a workshop on a topic that I spend a lot of time thinking about: The State of the Profession: What Are the Unresolved Issues in System Administration

Navigating the Business World for Sysadmins

Carolyn Rowland and Mark Burgess gave their tutorial on A Sysadmin’s Guide to Navigating the Business World this Tuesday morning. Sysadmins generally got into this gig because we like to improve the world through our mad technical skills, as you do, and that path doesn’t always include the completion certificate for “how to convince people that you know what you’re doing and you should be listened to.”

Mark and Carolyn gave a solid road-map for getting to that place.

Time Management for System Administrators

Ever since I interviewed Tom Limoncelli before LISA '10, I've wanted to take his time management training. Ironically, I never seemed to find the time, until this year. I was pleased to see that the local attendees already had sufficient time management skills to be in the room on time. We have no way of knowing if the remote attendees were similarly prepared, so I'll give them the benefit of the doubt.

Introduction to Provisioning

On Sunday afternoon, I had the pleasure of sitting in another of Geoff Halprin's training courses: the new "Introduction to Provisioning" tutorial. Provisioning seems like something we all already know how to do -- something Geoff will readily admit to. His stated goal is to get system administrators to think more deeply about the things they already know, and deep he went in this course. By his own admission, a fair amount of time was spent down rabbit holes. This, of course, doesn't imply that the content was unhelpful.

Agile Software Development: Getting It Out the Door Successfully

"Agile" is a very popular term in the software development industry and beyond. Dozens of systems administrators started LISA '12 by attending Geoff Halprin's tutorial on the Agile methodology. Agile has developed from improvements to the original "waterfall" methodology for the software design life cycle (SDLC). In the waterfall model, projects moved from one highly-prescribed phase to the next. Waterfall works well for projects where the requirements are well-known and static, a rare case for most IT projects.

Time Management: Team Efficiency

Tom Limoncelli taught the second half of his Time Management series this afternoon, Advanced Time Management: Team Efficiency. This session focused less on organizing yourself, and more on keeping teams efficient. There are ways of making sysadmin or other technical teams work more efficiently, and Tom let us in on those.

Tom opened the session with a question: what team problems do you want to see addressed? There were a lot of things called out, but many of them familiar:

Building massive IaaS clouds

David Nalley taught a class today on building massive IaaS clouds. Massive is a bit of a loose term, but the consensus is that’s “over 1000 physical nodes”. The session was fairly CloudStack centric, but the overall issues facing such deployments are common no matter what the actual framework is being used.

A key quote:

“Getting to thousands of physical hosts is complex -- getting to tens of thousands of physical hosts is a completely different magnitude of problem.”

Sunday at LISA12 - VMware vCloud

Ah, Sunday at LISA. Every year, I remember what it's like, and every year, I still get taken by surprise.


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