Yesterday we got a heads up from Cat Allman that the Google Code-in Contest for Teens starts Monday, November 18. Many of you might remember Cat from her days as the USENIX Sales Director, and now she's over at Google working as the Program Manager - Outreach, Open Source Programs Office. Here's the scoop:
When I started working for my current employer, I had experience with CFEngine2 and a dabbling in Puppet. Unfortunately for me, my new job used Chef. I thought I'd give myself an opportunity to learn it better by using it to configure my server and laptop at home. But I was in a hurry to get things configured and ended up using something that I perceived as having a shorter start time. Would that I had taken Nathen Harvey's CHef training sooner.
Tom Limoncelli has taught many excellent courses at LISA over the years, so when I saw he was teaching a new course called "Evil Genius 101" I was intrigued. Fellow blogger Matt Simmons described the course as "how to win friends and coerce people", and that was fairly apt. Okay, "coerce" is probably a little strong.
On Tuesday morning, Joshua Jensen presented a introduction to continuous integration (CI) with Jenkins. Although CI is generally considered a part of the development process, it it has relevance to system administration. I can think of several occasions where a simple build that checked CFEngine syntax before deploying the change across clusters would have saved several hours of effort.
Monday afternoon, Adam Moskowitz taught his "Getting to Senior: Sysadmin Level IV and Beyond" course to a near-capacity crowd. As expected, the audience consisted mostly of mid-level admins looking to position themselves for career advancement. Moskowitz lead off with a disclaimer that attendees were "not going to like most of what I'm going to say today." His position is that much of what makes a good senior sysadmin is not the technical skills, but the "soft" skills. As such, only half an hour was spent discussing the technical skills a senior sysadmin should know.
John Looney put the "Large" in "Large Installation System Administration Conference" on Sunday. In an all-day training session, attendees learned about "non-abstract large system design." The non-abstract aspect came in to play over the course of the day as groups worked to architect the infrastructure for a hypothetical image-sharing service. Looney mixed lecture, discussion, and group sessions in order to allow attendees to learn the most in the time constraints.
This is the third year that USENIX has offered PowerShell training at LISA, and the first I've been able to get into the class to take it. I'm so glad I could finally do it, because even though I use PowerShell almost every day to administer my vSphere clusters (through the excellent PowerCLI extension by VMware), I don't feel like I have a really solid grasp of the language as a whole.
A conference the size of LISA is no small effort. USENIX relies
heavily on the contributions of the community, including the
conference chairs. This year's chairs are Narayan Desai and Kent
Skaar. Narayan focuses on building large-scale computational platforms
and software at Argonne National Laboratory. Skaar works for VMWare,
focused on distributed systems management and applications. I recently
asked them about their experience co-chairing LISA '13.
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