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USENIX Update

Mike Ciavrella's Scripting for Automation

Core Skills: Scripting for Automation was taught by Mike Ciavrella, a 12-year LISA veteran.

He created this class as a response to so many people he encountered who were automating because they knew it was a "best practice", and that they should "automate everything". Mike found that people didn't think about why they were automating, and he knew that was as important as actually doing the automation.

Thursday morning Keynote: Educations vs Training

Selena Deckelmann (@selenamarie) gave the Thursday keynote address at LISA this morning. Her topic: Educations vs Training. We’ve had a Workshop on this earlier, and a BoF session last night so we’ve been talking about it all week.
 
Unfortunately, we’ve been talking about it here at LISA since 1997 and the fundamentals of that talk haven’t changed. This is bad, and we need to stop that and actually change how we’re talking about it.

Ceph briefing

Wednesday at 2pm Sage Weil spent an hour+ talking about Ceph, the distributed storage system. This is the first time I’ve had a serious look at it, and this was one informative session. The Ceph project’s goals are to provide a pure open-source storage framework that can run on anything,

OpenStack briefing

Vish Ishaya gave a talk on OpenStack this morning at LISA. He opened up with a history of how OpenStack came to be, then moved into a summary of each of the components.

Recovering from Linux Hard Drive Failures

Uh oh! Your hard drive just failed. What do you do? Theodore Ts'o offered a training workshop on Tuesday afternoon to help admins answer just that question. Data loss happens for a variety of reasons, including human error, software failures, and hardware failures. The first thing to do regardless of the cause of loss is to remember the Hippocratic Oath: first, do no harm.

DNS and DNSSEC

It's a well-known system administration aphorism that everything is a DNS problem. It should come as no surprise that many people came to Tuesday morning's tutorial on DNS and DNSSEC presented by Shumon Huque. Shumon began with an introduction to the basic components and architecture of DNS, including the hierarchical structure of domain names and the differences between authoritative servers, resolvers, and clients.

Birds of a Feather: Women in Advanced Computing

Last night I went to the Advanced Women in Computing birds-of-a-feather session (Guys welcome). Carolyn Rowland (the LISA conference chair this year) and Nicole Forsgren Velasquez lead the discussion. They saw this as an extension of the discussion started at the Women in Advanced Computing federated conference earlier this year, and put the "guys welcome!" on the BoF announcement because they wanted to expand the audience.

The room was about half men, which is a marked difference from last year's Advancing Women in Computing panel which had maybe seven men in the audience. They need allies, and that's what Nichole and Carolyn were here to help create.

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...