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LISA '02, 16th Systems Administration Conference, November 3-8, 2002, Philadelphia Marriott, Philadelphia, PA
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Join Your Peers for Three Days of Focused Discussion

  • Senior system administrators will want to participate in one or more of these all-day workshops. Attendance is limited to 30 participants for each workshop, which ensures a seminar-like atmosphere. To attend a workshop, you must be a registered conference attendee.

  • Please note that these workshops are full-day sessions. Attending a workshop precludes attending any tutorials on that day. See the individual descriptions for information on how to register for a workshop. Accepted registrations will be confirmed by the workshop coordinator.

Sunday, November 3
Workshop 1: MetaLISA Workshop
Conference Room 307
Coordinators: Cat Okita, Earthworks, and Tom Limoncelli, Lumeta Corp.

Finding yourself doing more "supervisor" stuff? Need help? The more experienced sysadmins become, the more likely it is that they will be asked to do "management" things. In this workshop, attendees will describe real management situations and will discuss ways of handling these situations, with particular attention to issues specific to managing system administrators. Both old-timers and new managers will find it useful to attend. The format will be facilitated discussion. In order to promote frank speech, we'd like to encourage a "one employee per company or division" policy. In past years this workshop has received rave reviews from the attendees.

To register for this workshop, please send a short description of your management background or lack thereof to

Workshop 2: Configuration Workshop
Conference Room 309
Coordinators: Paul Anderson, University of Edinburgh, and Alva Couch, Tufts University

Specifying the required configurations for large numbers of interconnected machines, and automatically installing those configurations to produce reliable clusters, has been been a important topic since the very early LISA conferences. Automatic tools are now essential to anyone who wants to manage more than a few machines efficiently, and to have confidence in their correctness and security.

A number of tools such as cfengine and LCFG have become well established and we now have a better understanding of the problems. There is also a growing demand to manage bigger and more complex clusters for applications such as Grid computing. This workshop is intended to look at some of the difficulties in using existing tools, and to examine requirements and ideas for the next generation of configuration systems. The workshop will build on experience of previous workshops such as the cfengine workshop at LISA 2001, and the Large Scale System Configuration Workshop.

The workshop will be a mixture of short presentations and informal discussions, and active participation will be encouraged. For an invitation, send a short email to Please include a brief description of your areas of interest/experience, and indicate whether you would be prepared to make a short presentation.

Monday, November 4
Workshop 3: Curriculum/Taxonomy Workshop
Conference Room 309
Coordinators: Rob Kolstad, SAGE, and John Sechrest, PEAK, Inc.

Many believe that a Sysadmin Taxonomy is an ideal underpinning to help move system administration to a profession, answering questions like:

  • What do they do?
  • How do they do it?
  • What are the best practices?
  • How can sysadmins learn their craft?
  • How can sysadmins be certified?

Rob Kolstad has collaborated with several dozen people to create a 1,900 item book of knowledge.

Over the years, John Sechrest has administrated several Sysadmin Education Workshops to create curricula for sysadmin training/education, including at the university level.

These two workshops are now combined to exploit their synergy. We will try to decide what parts of the BoK can be addressed in the University and what things are fundamental skills that are the foundation for the book of knowledge. For an invitation, send a short email (including, if you wish, a position statement) to

Workshop 4: AFS Workshop
Conference Room 307
Coordinators: Esther Filderman, Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center, Derrick Brashear, Carnegie Mellon University, and Garry Zacheiss, MIT

This workshop for experienced AFS administrators will be a mix of papers presented by willing participants and active discussion about work currently being done, issues in AFS administration, and issues relating to IBM-AFS, OpenAFS, and Arla.

Writing or presenting a paper is not required, but a willingness to participate actively in the workshop is essential. For information about the workshop and how to apply to participate, please see the AFS Workshop page at

Tuesday, November 5
Workshop 5: Advanced Topics Workshop
Conference Room 307
Coordinators: Adam Moskowitz, Consultant, and Rob Kolstad, SAGE

As in the past six years, the Advanced Topics Workshop provides an informal roundtable discussion of the pressing issues in system administration. This discussion is intended for very senior attendees, with moderator (Adam Moskowitz) and scribe/comic relief (Rob Kolstad). The basic premise is "a private hallway track for senior folks to talk with other senior folks, to concentrate on hard problems, or just to gripe." Admission is by acceptance of a position paper; please mail your position paper to Position papers must be in plain ASCII and no more than three paragraphs long.

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Last changed: 9 Oct. 2002 aw
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