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LISA '09 is sponsored by
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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 full- and half-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 to find out what you need to do to join that workshop.
  • Each half-day workshop costs $85 and each full-day workshop costs $170, payable on-site only; this fee includes lunch on the day of the workshop. See the box below for details about how to register.
Workshop Registration Is On-Site Only
How It Works: If you are an accepted participant in a workshop, when you arrive at LISA '09 you should collect your registration materials, then proceed to the Workshop Registration Desk. If you are planning to attend only workshops, please proceed directly to the Workshop Registration Desk. Once at the Workshop Registration Desk, they will verify your acceptance into a workshop and register you. Acceptable forms of payment are Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover, cash, and check.

Note: If your company requires advance payment for the workshop, please email and we can assist you.

Registration hours:
Saturday, October 31, 4:00 p.m.–6:00 p.m.
Sunday, November 1, 7:30 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
Monday, November 2, 7:30 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
Tuesday, November 3, 7:30 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
Morning workshop registration lines may be long. Please try to register in the afternoon or evening before your workshop, to ensure that you get to your workshop on time.

Questions? Contact

Workshops Schedule

Real-World Configuration Management  |  
High Performance Computing (HPC) System Administration  |  
University Issues

Virtual Infrastructures  |   Government and Military System Administration  |
Puppet  |  Business-Driven IT Management

Advanced Topics  |  Security Today

Sunday, November 1

Cory Lueninghoener, Argonne National Laboratory; Kent Skaar, Zendesk, Inc.; Narayan Desai, Argonne National Laboratory
9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m., Kent B

This workshop will cover configuration management processes in real-world settings. The focus will be on practical tactics that attendees can directly apply. Attendees will discuss the issues they face in their deployments and will compare their experiences and tactics with other attendees'. This workshop is a tool-agnostic discussion of practical issues; the discussion will be widely applicable, regardless of the configuration tool used. The focus will be on practical tactics that attendees can directly apply.

The workshop will have two major components. The first will be a series of discussions on current topics of interest. These will be separated by two or three presentations by attendees of their configuration management environments, highlighting useful techniques and potential problem areas.

Attendees should be system administrators with a deployed configuration management system in place who want to talk with and learn from others on the subject. Tool developers interested in hearing the needs of their users and/or offering suggestions are also welcome, but they are not the primary intended participants.

Contact to participate.

Jonathan Billings, University of Michigan; Doug Hughes, D.E. Shaw Research, LLC
9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m., Kent C

HPC clusters have become a popular computing tool for academia, research organizations, and corporations. System administrators who manage these clusters require unique skills and often need to be familiar with cutting-edge hardware. This workshop is intended to provide a forum for system administrators to compare useful solutions to difficult problems, share stories about their experiences, discuss the benefits and limitations of current HPC designs, and explore the future of cluster computing.

Attendees will be system administrators and HPC programmers who have experience in using or running an HPC cluster and those who are interested in running an HPC cluster.

Topics will depend on the interests of the attendees.

To participate, contact

Workshop 3: UNIVERSITY ISSUES (Half Day A.M.)
John "Rowan" Littell, California College of the Arts
9:00 a.m.–12:30 p.m., Kent A

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.

Monday, November 2

Kyrre Begnum, Oslo University College; Paul Anderson, University of Edinburgh
9:00 a.m.–12:30 p.m., Kent B

There has recently been a strong trend toward virtualization. VLANs overlay the physical network infrastructure. Physical machines host multiple virtual machines, and storage arrays provide virtual disks. Changes in the architecture no longer require physical intervention. This brings huge benefits, but it creates a new dimension to the challenge of infrastructure management. Cloud computing is an application of virtual infrastructures that allows businesses to expand their own infrastructure on demand by adding resources from external infrastructure providers. This product can give system administrators great flexibility, but only if it is managed properly.

This area is evolving extremely quickly and it is difficult to keep abreast of new developments. This workshop will provide a forum to exchange the latest ideas and experiences.

Participation is welcome from practitioners responsible for deploying virtual infrastructures and researchers interested in the underlying problems. Priority will be given to those with experience of virtual machines and the associated problems. However, some places may be available for those seeking an intensive introduction to these problems. To attend the workshop, please send email to

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

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. All discussions will be strictly unclassified.

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 register for the workshop please send email to with a brief description of your professional background and at least one gov/mil topic you would like the workshop to address.

Workshop 7: PUPPET (Half Day A.M.)
Luke Kanies and Teyo Tyree, Reductive Labs
9:00 a.m.–12:30 p.m., Kent A

The focus of this workshop will be on open discussion about change management, code organization, and development best practice when utilizing Puppet in high-node-count environments. We will discuss topics such as module organization, code reuse, handling platform heterogeneity, working with developers to build a better-managed infrastructure, and integrating Puppet with existing services. We also want to hear what you would like added to Puppet and what we should learn from other tools.

To register for the workshop please send email to

Mark Burgess, Oslo University College
1:30 p.m.–5:00 p.m., Kent A

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?

Following on from last year's successful workshop, we attempt to continue with a frank discussion of service management and lessons learned in the field. How can we go beyond the SLA as the only tool we have for business alignment? How do we manage expectations in IT management? What do we think of research? Why should there be a difference between theory and practice? Sign up for a frank exchange of ideas, or come and present your particular dilemma or solution.

Contact to participate.

Tuesday, November 3

Workshop 9: ADVANCED TOPICS (Full Day)
Adam Moskowitz
9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m., Laurel A & B

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. A more complete description of the workshop and information about position papers is available at Position papers should be sent to Attendees are required to bring a laptop computer.

Workshop 10: SECURITY TODAY (Full Day)
Matt Disney, Oak Ridge National Laboratory
9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m., Kent B

Information security is a topic important to many system administrators, yet it is challenging to make security a high priority or to stay updated on this very wide and fluid topic. A LISA workshop is a good venue and format to bring together interested admins and experts for discussions on the state of practical security today, best practices, and roundtable explorations of security-related challenges in the daily lives of system administrators. Discussion topics will depend on the interests of the attendees. The set of potential topics is broad and includes technical, productivity, soft-skills, and sector-specific security issues.

Practitioners and subject-matter experts of systems, security, and/or network administration and analysis from all sectors are invited to attend. Security R&D will not be the focus of this workshop.

Send email to to participate.

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Last changed: 27 Oct. 2009 jp