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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 for each workshop, which ensures a seminar-like atmosphere.

  • To attend a workshop, you must be an accepted workshop participant. See each workshop's description for its participation details.

  • Each half-day workshop costs $75 and each full-day workshop costs $150. Please see the registration page for complete registration information, including any additional fees that might apply. Workshop registration includes lunch and refreshment breaks on the day of your workshop.

Workshops Schedule

Fighting Spam  |   MicroLISA  |  
Business-Driven IT Management  |   Practical Configuration Management

University Issues  |   ZFS  |   Government and Military System Administration

Advanced Topics  |  Virtual Infrastructures

Sunday, November 9
Chris St. Pierre, Nebraska Wesleyan University
9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m., Garden Salon 1

Fighting spam is unique for two reasons: First, since spam pits the system administrator against a human foe, the landscape changes very frequently; second, the approach most people take to fighting spam is one of layers, where, through the combination of a number of tools, they can filter the good from the bad.

Consequently, though, keeping up with the new techniques, counter-techniques, tools, intelligence, and approaches can itself be a full-time job. The goal of this workshop is for every participant to come away with an updated arsenal for fighting spam, whether it's a tool that makes their existing setup quicker or easier; a concept they can develop into another arrow in their quiver; or an entirely new layer to fight the latest spamming techniques.

Contact to participate.

Workshop 2: MICROLISA
Robert Au
9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m., Garden Salon 2

System administrators at very small sites, those with at most a few IT staff, face some unique technical and organizational challenges. Small teams generally assign broader responsibilities to each member; users and management have more exposure to front-line workers, and vice versa; and the organizational environment often limits budget and manpower stringently. This workshop will provide both full-time administrators and consultants with a forum to discuss and explore solutions to those challenges.

Some techniques and technologies, such as clustering, configuration management, and batch queueing systems, are more common in large sites, which have more complex needs and can leverage greater resources and specialization. These approaches may still be worthwhile in smaller sites, if their value outweighs the often proportionally higher learning, implementation, and maintenance costs. Other problems, like backup, restore, and disaster recovery, require significantly different solutions at small sites.

At small sites, sysadmins without the word "manager" in their titles often must take on managerial duties and decisions, such as choosing the appropriate people with which to build a staff, aligning IT goals with organizational goals, and ensuring their own career development. Lack of purchasing power may make vendor negotiations more difficult, and lack of manpower may make emergency coverage run the risk of burnout.

To participate, contact

Workshop 3: BUSINESS-DRIVEN IT MANAGEMENT (Half-Day Morning)
Mark Burgess, Oslo University College; Claudio Bartolini, HP Labs Palo Alto
9:00 a.m.–12:30 p.m., Crescent

How do we align IT systems with the needs of a business or other organization? This question was first asked as a research problem surprisingly recently. It is not as easy to answer as we might expect. Often system administration is completely decoupled from business objectives, once a list of requirements has been delivered. Can we do better than this? What about corporate requirements such as SOX and "best practices" such as ITIL?

In this half-day workshop we shall present a few of the ideas that have emerged from the successful BDIM conferences and open for a discussion by practitioners interested in sharing and contributing to the understanding of this interesting problem. Sign up for a frank exchange of ideas, or come and present your particular dilemma or solution.

Contact to participate.

Narayan Desai, Argonne National Laboratory
1:30 p.m.–5:00 p.m., Crescent

Discussion in this workshop will cover comparative analysis of current tools, including Puppet, BCFG2, Cfengine, LCFG, and others, including a practitioner's perspective on using these tools. The goal of the workshop is to provide tool developers and practitioners with a forum for discussing practice, comparing tools, and outlining functional desires. Attendees should be tool developers or advanced system administrators experienced in automation and configuration management. Prospective attendees should send a single paragraph describing why they would like to attend the workshop and what they hope to get out of it to to participate.

Monday, November 10
John "Rowan" Littell, California College of the Arts; Adele Shakal, University of Southern California
9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m., Garden Salon 1

The focus of this workshop is on issues peculiar to university and college computing shops. Schools vary greatly in their approach to running computing infrastructures. The differences can stem from the general culture of the school as well as upper management, or even from departmental versus institution-wide services.

Part of the goal of this workshop is to communicate what works and what does not work for your institution or your organization within the institution. Topics might include funding, student/faculty/staff needs, research, security, purchasing, staffing, training, working with students, working with research and instructional staff, and even the culture and campus integration of computing facilities and support.

To attend the workshop, please send email to with a short paragraph describing your institution, the biggest issue you face today, or something about your institution that works particularly well or that others might want to consider for their own school. You can also include topics you would like to see on the workshop agenda.

Workshop 6: ZFS
Richard Elling, Sun Microsystems
9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m., Garden Salon 2

This workshop aims to help system administrators become proficient at managing the ZFS file system. We will discuss how to plan for use of disk storage, data protection, redundancy, failure modes, fault detection and repair, performance, backup and restore, hierarchical data storage, integration with other storage services, clustering, and tips, tricks, and gotchas.

To register for the workshop, please send your reasons for wishing to attend the workshop and any specific subjects you'd like covered or questions to be answered to

Andrew Seely, Science Applications International Corporation
9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m., Crescent

This workshop will be an opportunity for system administrators responsible for government and military systems to discuss common challenges, problems, solutions, and information unique to the government sector. Participants will gain and share insight into the broad range of government system administration requirements and will benefit from making contacts in related fields. The workshop will also be an opportunity to assess interest in creating a special interest group dedicated to government-sector system administration.

Are you the system administrator responsible for computing systems owned by government or military agencies? The sysadmin who works in secure environments, deals with classified data, provides GOTS support, and deploys to the latest military hotspots? If so, then this workshop is for you. Discussion topics will include common technical problems and solutions unique to government computing, effectiveness of contract, civil service, and uniformed sysadmins, general employment issues, DoD regulation 8570.01-M, challenges of working across multiple security domains, deployed sysadmin, and more.

To attend, send email to with a brief description of your areas of interest/experience.

Tuesday, November 11
Adam Moskowitz, SiCortex, Inc.
9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m., Garden Salon 1

This workshop, intended for very senior administrators, provides an informal roundtable discussion of the problems facing system administrators today. Attendance is limited and based on acceptance of a position paper (plain ASCII, three paragraphs maximum); a typical paper covers what the author thinks is the most difficult or important issue facing system administrators today, why this is a problem, and why this problem is important. More information about the workshop and about position papers can be found here; position papers should be sent to Attendees are required to bring a laptop computer.

Kyrre Begnum, Oslo University College
9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m., Crescent

Virtual machines, networking, and storage are the technologies that underpin the new generation of data centers and support cloud computing. This LISA workshop is a new opportunity to spend a day discussing the configuration and management of virtual infrastructures with experts in both research and practice. While it is intended primarily for those with experience in the area, the workshop is also open to anyone with experience with more traditional infrastructures who is interested in learning more about this topic. The number of places is limited and attendance is by invitation only; see for more details.

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Last changed: 6 Nov. 2008 jp