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18th Large
Installation System Administration Conference, November 14-19, Atlanta,
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Technical Sessions: Wednesday, November 17 | Thursday, November 18 | Friday, November 19 | All in one file

Friday, November 19, 2004
9:00 a.m.–10:30 a.m. Friday
Marquis III

Session Chair: David Hoffman, Stanford University

Making a Game of Network Security
Marc Dougherty, Northeastern University

Securing the PlanetLab Distributed Testbed: How to Manage Security in an Environment with No Firewalls, with All Users Having Root, and No Direct Physical Control of Any System
Paul Brett, Mic Bowman, Jeff Sedayao, Robert Adams, Rob Knauerhause, and Aaron Klingaman, Intel Corporation

Secure Automation: Achieving Least Privilege with SSH, Sudo, and Suid
Robert A. Napier, Cisco Systems

Marquis II

Session Chair: Lee Damon, University of Washington

System Administration and Sex Therapy: The Gentle Art of Debugging
Speaker: David Blank-Edelman, Northeastern University

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View Presentation Slides (PDF)

Already debugged three things today and it's not even breakfast? You must be a sysadmin. Our life is chock full of debugging "opportunities." Not only do we have to fix problems in complex systems, we often find ourselves debugging the interactions between complex systems designed by other people.

To understand this process better and to get better at it, we're going to turn to an unlikely source of information: sex therapists, counselors, and educators. With their help, we'll explore why improving the interactions between complex systems when they go awry is so hard and what techniques and craft can be used to make the process easier. Come to this talk not for its mature subject matter, but for the chance to learn to be a better sysadmin through better debugging.

Marquis IV

RAID/HA/SAN (with a Heavy Dose of Veritas)
Doug Hughes, Global Crossing; Darren Dunham, TAOS

Doug Hughes and Darren Dunham have 13+ years of Veritas between them. They have years of experience working on Volume Manager, Veritas File System, Database Edition, Volume Replicator, Cluster Server, and NetBackup. Whether you have a SAN or direct-attach storage, a database or a fileystem, a single system or a cluster, or a perplexing backup or disaster recovery issue, this session will cover it all. Generic questions about technology components (RAID, SAN, HA, backup, disaster recovery) are welcome.

10:30 a.m.–11:00 a.m.   Break
11:00 a.m.–12:30 p.m. Friday
Marquis III

Session Chair: John Sechrest, Public Electronic Access to Knowledge

Experience in Implementing an HTTP Service Closure
Steven Schwartzberg, BBN Technologies; Alva Couch, Tufts University

Meta Change Queue: Tracking Changes to People, Places, and Things
Jon Finke, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Solaris Zones: Operating System Support for Consolidating Commercial Workloads
Daniel Price and Andrew Tucker, Sun Microsystems, Inc.

Marquis I

Session Chair: Adam Moskowitz, Menlo Computing

The Administrator, Then and Now
Speaker: Peter H. Salus, UNIX Historian

50 years ago, enormous, isolated machines were tended by priests in white coats called operators. 40 years ago, people carried large boxes of cards and presented them to operators, who (if one was lucky) returned work product 24 hours later.

By 30 years ago, many "terminals" were connected to more central "mainframes"; 20 years ago, "workstations" and "personal computers" had come into being.

As storage and connectivity waxed, the role of the operator transformed into that of the system administrator. This talk will trace that transformation.

Marquis II

Session Chair: Rudi Van Drunen, Leiden Pathology and Cytology Labs, Leiden, The Netherlands

Used Disk Drives
Speaker: Simson Garfinkel, MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory

View Presentation Slides (PDF)

Between 1998 and 2002, Simson Garfinkel purchased 200 used hard drives on eBay. Analyzing these hard drives with a simple UNIX-based system, he found a treasure trove of personal and business confidential information—information he never should have seen.

In this talk, Garfinkel will discuss the information he found and why it was findable. He'll give a brief survey of how filesystems lay information on the hard drive, how and when that information is overwritten, and what tools you can use to perform forensic analysis and properly sanitize media. Finally, he'll show how the results of this research are applicable to digital cameras, flash memory, MP3 players, Palm Pilots, and a wide variety of other systems.

Marquis IV

Professional Growth
David Parter, University of Wisconsin

David has been a system administrator at the University of Wisconsin Computer Science Department since 1991, serving as Associate Director of the Computer Systems Lab since 1995. David has been the senior system administrator, guiding a staff of 8 full-time sysadmins and supervising up to 12 student sysadmins at a time. His experiences in this capacity include working with other groups on campus; providing technical leadership to the group; managing the budget; dealing with vendors; dealing with faculty; and training students. As a consultant, he has dealt with a variety of technical and management challenges. He has sat on the SAGE executive committee since December 1999, serving as SAGE President in 2001–2002.

12:30 p.m.–2:00 p.m.   Lunch (on your own)
2:00 p.m.–3:30 p.m. Friday
Work-in-Progress Reports (WiPs)
Marquis I

Session Chair: Esther Filderman, Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center

Short, pithy, and fun, Work-in-Progress reports introduce interesting new or ongoing work. If you have work you would like to share or a cool idea that's not quite ready for publication, send a one- or two-paragraph summary to We are particularly interested in presenting students' work. A schedule of presentations will be posted at the conference, and the speakers will be notified in advance. Work-in-Progress reports are five-minute presentations; the time limit will be strictly enforced.

Click here for a current WiPs schedule

Marquis II

Session Chair: David Blank-Edelman, Northeastern University

Lessons Learned from Howard Dean's Digital Campaign
Speakers: Keri Carpenter, UC Irvine; Tom Limoncelli, Consultant

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View Keri Carpenter's Presentation Slides (PDF)

View Tom Limoncelli's Presentation Slides (PDF)

Howard Dean's campaign use of Web technology has had a lasting effect on politics. Their Internet-based tools had 2 goals: raise funds and raise the level of participation. They broke all fundraising records ($50 million during the campaign) and invigorated a volunteer base the like of which had not been seen before. The talk will describe tools including the Web site, the blog, fundraising tools, and online meet-up tools. The culture and the tools employed during the campaign offer important lessons on how the Internet can be used by any campaign and any political party to organize distributed masses of people to collaborate for active participation in the democratic process. Campaigns from local races to national campaigns have adopted the techniques developed by Dean for America.

Marquis III

Session Chair: David Hoffman, Stanford University

Storage Security: You're Fooling Yourself
Speaker: W. Curtis Preston, Glasshouse Technologies

Those of us who design and administer networked storage must now begin to apply security principles and techniques to our storage networks. This talk will start with brief explanations of security for storage administrators, and storage for security administrators. It will then cover the vulnerabilities and exploits of SAN and NAS networks. Once these issues are on the table, we will discuss techniques to overcome these vulnerabilities, from readily available configuration choices to future industry directions.

Marquis IV

Configuration Management
Gene Kim, Tripwire, Inc.

So you need to build a change management process: either you were nailed by an IT audit, an industry regulation, or Sarbanes-Oxley, or you just need a better way to integrate security into your IT operational processes. How are you identifying the gaps and bootstrapping the necessary controls, with each step having a beginning and a clearly defined goal? Join our guru session to discuss and explore how to build auditable change and configuration management processes, not only to achieve sustainable security and auditable processes, but also to build a high-performing IT ops team with the best service levels (MTTR, MTBF, low amounts of unplanned work) and efficiencies (improved server to system administrator ratios).

3:30 p.m.–4:00 p.m.   Break
4:00 p.m.–5:30 p.m. Friday
LISA Game Show
Marquis II

Closing this year's conference, the LISA Game Show will once again pit attendees against each other in a test of technical knowledge and cultural trivia. Host Rob Kolstad and sidekick Dan Klein will provide the questions and color commentary for this always memorable event.

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Last changed: 19 Oct. 2007 ac