I’m a fan of documentation. I have been, ever since I first inherited an infrastructure and had to try to figure out what the previous admin had done. I try to write decent documentation—documentation that I wish had been was there when I first tried to learn about a particular system. I also find myself doing so much that what I can keep in cache in my brain is limited, and stuff I’ve worked on tends to “page out,” so to speak. Writing good docs is an excellent way to do your future self a favor.
Working in IT operations these days can be challenging as it seems like there’s an ever-increasing curve in terms of the knowledge you need to have. Fortunately, there are tools that help simplify what we need to do. Rather than constantly observe workloads and manually respond by building the services we think we'll need, pretty much all production-ready cloud providers and services offer autoscaling and demand-driven resources. But what are the implications of handing off this decision-making?
The following post has been collaboratively written by the co-chairs for the SREcon17 Americas conference (Liz Fong-Jones and Kurt Andersen) and several of the program committee members (Murali Suriar and Betsy Beyer). It is intended to provide greater insight into the selection process which we used for this conference and may not entirely match the strategies which other conference committees employ.
USENIX, the Advanced Computing Systems Association, strongly objects to President Trump’s Executive Order “Protecting The Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry To The United States,” signed on January 27, 2017, which suspends the issuance of visas and other immigration benefits—including entry into the United States—to nationals of “countries of particular concern.”
“You’ve been hacked!” The cry echoes around the ballroom. A couple of dozen bemused and anxious faces turn to Branson on the podium as he grins and nods. The members of the four teams turn back to each other and their laptops and begin trying to find out what just happened.
OK, perhaps some of the people I went to dinner with last night would object to the label “geek.” I don’t. I embrace it fully. To me, it indicates a person who finds joy in the passion of learning and working and making things, and sharing that passion with others. Labelled or not, all the people in the group I led last night fit that description.
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.
It's the way of any power user: the network is never fast enough. Given the chance, I’m sure we could do better. So when we get to a conference with a thousand or so other people, and the wireless network stinks (or so we think), it's not the Way of the Sysadmin to just let it go.
LISA16 is in Boston this year, and that presents a different set of challenges for me. Most years, I plan to be away from home for the whole week. I have to arrange flights and a hotel and transportation. I spend some time researching the city to see what cultural sites or events are there. I usually find that there's a quiet morning or afternoon during the conference when I can sneak away and treat myself to something I could never see anywhere else.
For 24 years, the LISA Special Interest Group for Sysadmins (LISA SIG, formerly known as SAGE) has been a resource and virtual meeting ground for the sysadmin community at USENIX. Despite its sometimes tumultuous history, dedicated members have provided content for Short Topics books, shared insight with colleagues via mailing lists, and helped advance the state of the profession via the creation of the System Administrators' Code of Ethics, contributions to salary surveys, postings to colleagues via the Jobs Board, and nominations for the Outstanding Achievement Award.