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Overview | Sunday | Monday | Tuesday | By Instructor

  Sunday, June 14, 2009
  Sunday Full-Day Tutorials

S2 ZFS: A File System for Modern Hardware NEW! Elling
Richard Elling, Enterprise Systems Consultant

Open Source Who should attend: Systems engineers, integrators, and administrators who are interested in deploying ZFS on Solaris, Mac OS X, or FreeBSD. Participants should be familiar with storage devices, RAID systems, logical volume managers, backup, and file system features. Special emphasis will be placed on integration considerations for virtualization, NAS, and databases.

File systems developed in the mid 20th century were severely constrained by the storage hardware available at the time. ZFS was conceived with an eye toward the hardware of the future and how storage will evolve. This presented an opportunity to rethink how file systems use storage hardware. The result is a new way of managing data which can evolve as the hardware changes while remaining compatible with earlier notions of file system use. Along the way, new concepts such as the Hybrid Storage Pool provide new opportunities for optimization, efficiency, and data protection. In this tutorial, ZFS will be examined from the bottom up, to build a solid understanding of the data-hardware interface, and then from the top down, to provide insight into the best ways to use ZFS for applications.

Take back to work: A solid understanding of the concepts behind ZFS and how to make the best decisions when implementing storage at your site.

Topics include:

  • Evolution of hardware and file systems
  • Storage pools
    • RAID data protection
    • Import/export and shared storage
    • Pool parameters and features
    • On-disk format
  • Data sets
    • Volumes
    • POSIX-compliant file systems
    • Snapshots
    • Replication
  • Practical considerations and best practices
    • Deployment and migration
    • Virtualization
    • Sharing
    • Performance, observability, and tuning
    • Data protection
    • Hybrid storage pools
    • Backup, restore, and archiving

S3 Practical Problem Solving with Hadoop & Pig NEW! Milind
Milind Bhandarkar, Yahoo! Grid Solutions Team

Cloud Who should attend: Scientists, engineers, and developers interested in developing large-scale, data-intensive applications. No previous experience with Hadoop or Pig is required. Demonstrations will be presented, where appropriate.

Take back to work: The ability to:

  • Design and develop Hadoop and Pig applications and higher-level application frameworks to crunch several terabytes of data, using anywhere from four to 4,000 computers
  • Contribute to Hadoop and Pig projects, as well as the rest of the Hadoop ecosystem
  • Consult with engineering teams on the proper way to write and deploy programs on either dedicated or shared Hadoop clusters
  • Maximize performance of Hadoop and Pig applications

Topics include:

  • Introduction to the Hadoop Distributed File System and Map-Reduce programming framework
  • Several real applications and their implementation over Hadoop
  • The Pig higher-level language for programming Map-Reduce
  • Performance tuning for both Hadoop and Pig applications

S5 The Python Programming Language NEW! Beazley
David Beazley, Dabeaz LLC

Coding Who should attend: Programmers who want to know what the Python programming language is all about and how it can be applied to a variety of practical problems in data analysis, system admininistration, systems programming, and networking. Although no prior Python knowledge is required, attendees should be experienced in at least one other programming language, such as C, C++, Java, or Perl. If you already know some Python, this tutorial will improve your skills.

Python is a dynamic programming language that is often described as a scripting language, as are such languages such as Perl, Tcl, and Ruby. Although Python is often used for scripting, it is actually a full-featured general-purpose programming language which supports a wide variety of imperative, functional, and object-oriented programming idioms. It also includes a large standard library that provides support for operating system interfaces, networking, threads, regular expressions, XML, GUIs, and more.

This tutorial will take a comprehensive tour of the Python programming language and see how it can be used to solve a variety of practical problems. The tutorial will illustrate important concepts through examples that primarily focus on data analysis, systems programming, and system administration.

Take back to work: A better understanding of what makes Python tick and an increased awareness of how it can be applied to real-world problems.

Topics include:

  • The Python language
    • Basic syntax
    • Core datatypes
    • Control flow and exception handling
    • Functions
    • Generators
    • Co-routines
    • Modules
    • Classes and the Python Object Model
    • Decorators
    • Descriptors
    • Metaclasses
    • C extensions
  • Major library modules
    • Text processing
    • Operating system interfaces
    • Network programming
    • Internet programming
  • Practical programming examples
    • Text parsing
    • Data analysis and manipulation
    • Processing log files
    • Handling real-time data streams
    • Controlling and interacting with subprocesses
    • Interacting with Web services
    • Simple network programming
    • Internet data handling

S6 Implementing Security the Right Way NEW! Singer
Abe Singer, California Institute of Technology

Security Who should attend: System administrators, programmers, and geeks in general. The class will be laced with anecdotes, examples, and horror stories based on the author's experience.

"Best practices" for security are easy to find, but are they really best? Are they right for your environment? Are they more than just slapdash patches to security flaws?

Have you ever heard someone (maybe you) saying, "That would never happen," "No attacker would ever figure that out," "It's secure, it uses encryption," or "We're safe, we have a firewall"? One of the problems with "best practices" is that people follow them blindly, with no real understandingof why those practices were instituted, how they work, or what's effective in their own environment.

Maintaining the security of a system cannot be done by following a fixed set of rules or a checklist. Nor can it be done effectively by setting out draconian policies and expecting all users to behave well. The goal of this class is to get you to think about security and to be able to evaluate security tools and techniques with regard to your environment and goals.

Programmers develop software, and system administrators deploy and support that software. Often the system administrator has to struggle with software that doesn't fit well into his site's security architecture, because it makes assumptions about how systems are installed and maintained. A simple example: Some software assumes that the host it's running on is "behind a firewall" (whatever that really means), but not all sites can run in that manner. Moreover, programmers are often unaware of the different ways in which sites are designed, of interactions with other systems, or of the simple issues of scale that face a sysadmin who has to manage many services across multiple machines.

System administrators, take back to work: A better handle on how to look at how security affects your systems; what questions to ask when evaluating the security of software or a system; and how to think about the security impacts of your work.

Programmers, take back to work: An understanding of the security issues that affect software and the common mistakes programmers make when implementing (or not implementing) security measures. This is more than the old "avoid buffer overflows" mantra! We'll talk in depth about how to think about incorporating security technology and methods into application design.

Topics include:

  • Common concepts and misconceptions about security
  • A look at various security technologies and what they do
  • At a high level:
    • How to think about security and apply that thinking to everyday administrative activities and programming
    • How to approach making security assessments and risk analyses
    • How to go about responding to an intrusion
  • At a lower level:
    • Commonly used network services
    • Security aspects of their protocols and configurations
  Monday, June 15, 2009
  Monday Full-Day Tutorials

M1 System and Network Performance Tuning Staveley
Marc Staveley, Soma Networks

networkingSysadmin Who should attend: Novice and advanced UNIX system and network administrators, and UNIX developers concerned about network performance impacts. A basic understanding of UNIX system facilities and network environments is assumed.

We will explore procedures and techniques for tuning systems, networks, and application code. Starting from the single system view, we will examine how the virtual memory system, the I/O system, and the file system can be measured and optimized. We'll extend the single host view to include Network File System tuning and performance strategies. Detailed treatment of networking performance problems, including network design and media choices, will lead to examples of network capacity planning. Application issues, such as system call optimization, memory usage and monitoring, code profiling, real-time programming, and techniques for controlling response time will be addressed. Many examples will be given, along with guidelines for capacity planning and customized monitoring based on your workloads and traffic patterns. Question and analysis periods for particular situations will be provided.

Take back to work: Procedures and techniques for tuning your systems, networks, and application code, along with guidelines for capacity planning and customized monitoring.

Topics include:

  • Performance tuning strategies
    • Practical goals
    • Monitoring intervals
    • Useful statistics
    • Tools, tools, tools
  • Server tuning
    • Filesystem and disk tuning
    • Memory consumption and swap space
    • System resource monitoring
  • NFS performance tuning
    • NFS server constraints
    • NFS client improvements
    • NFS over WANs
    • Automounter and other tricks
  • Network performance, design, and capacity planning
    • Locating bottlenecks
    • Demand management
    • Media choices and protocols
    • Network topologies: bridges, switches, and routers
    • Throughput and latency considerations
    • Modeling resource usage
  • Application tuning
    • System resource usage
    • Memory allocation
    • Code profiling
    • Job scheduling and queuing
    • Real-time issues
    • Managing response time

M2 Introduction to the Open Source Xen Hypervisor Hu Shepherd
Zach Shepherd and Wenjin Hu, Clarkson University

Virtual Who should attend: System administrators and architects who are interested in running server services in virtual machines and deploying the open source Xen hypervisor in a production environment. No prior experience with Xen is required; however, a basic knowledge of Linux is helpful.

The Xen hypervisor is an innovative virtualization infrastructure to provide fast and secure execution to multiple virtual machines and has been used to virtualize a wide range of guest operating systems, including Windows, Linux, Solaris, and various versions of the BSD operating systems. It is widely regarded as a compelling alternative to proprietary virtualization platforms and hypervisors for x86-compatible platforms and it is commonly deployed in industrial and commercial environments as a promising approach to creating dynamic datacenters and virtual servers.

Take back to work: How to build and deploy the Xen hypervisor.

Topics include:

  • Overview of virtualization
  • Overview of Xen architecture
  • Virtual machine creation and operation
  • Installation and configuration
  • Networking and storage options
  • Performance: tools and methodology
  • Best practices using Xen

M3 Care and Feeding of Hadoop Clusters NEW! Nicosia
Marco Nicosia, Yahoo! Grid Operations Team

Cloud Who should attend: Engineers and system administrators interested in evaluating the operational aspects of Hadoop and those who are already charged with the installation and upkeep of medium to large Hadoop clusters. No previous experience with Hadoop is required.

This class will take an in-depth look at the operation of Hadoop clusters, focusing on practical procedures. Although not hands-on, the presentation material will focus on the specific command lines required. Demonstrations will be presented where appropriate.

Take back to work: Confidence in your ability to safely and efficiently operate a Hadoop cluster.

Topics include:

  • Planning and designing a Hadoop deployment using anywhere from four to 4,000 computers
  • The functional underpinnings of Hadoop and how user code is automatically executed across the computers in a Hadoop cluster
  • How to consult with engineering teams on the proper way to write and deploy programs on either dedicated or shared Hadoop clusters
  • Downloading, configuring, and distributing the Hadoop software
  • Starting, stopping, and monitoring the status of both the Hadoop Distributed File System and Map-Reduce components
  • How to perform periodic maintenance to ensure the overall health of the HDFS system, especially with respect to data integrity
  • Configuring and managing the Map-Reduce job scheduler and user queues
  • The correct series of steps to safely upgrade the Hadoop software to a newer release, as well as how to safely back out from such an upgrade (and understand the costs of such a backout)
  • Adding large amounts of data to the HDFS, as well as adding or removing machines from the cluster (and seamlessly migrating to an entirely different bank of computers!)
  • Moving large data between HDFS instances
  • Writing simple Hadoop programs in shell script and PIG for system administration data analysis

M4 Administering Linux in Production Environments Ts'o
Theodore Ts'o, IBM/Linux Foundation

Open SourceSysadmin Who should attend: Both current Linux system administrators and administrators from sites considering converting to Linux or adding Linux systems to their current computing resources.

This course discusses using Linux as a production- level operating system. Linux is used on the front line for mission-critical applications in major corporations and institutions, and mastery of this operating system is now becoming a major asset to system administrators.

Linux system administrators in production environments face many challenges: the inevitable skepticism about whether an open source operating system will perform as required; how well Linux systems will integrate with existing computing facilities; how to locate, install, and manage high-end features which the standard distributions may lack; and many more. Sometimes the hardest part of ensuring that the system meets production requirements is matching the best solution with the particular local need. This course is designed to give you a broad knowledge of production-worthy Linux capabilities, as well as where Linux currently falls short. The material in the course is all based on extensive experience with production systems.

This course will cover configuring and managing Linux computer systems in production environments. We will be focusing on the administrative issues that arise when Linux systems are deployed to address a variety of real-world tasks and problems arising from both commercial and research and development contexts. This course is designed for both current Linux system administrators and for administrators from sites considering converting to Linux or adding Linux systems to their current computing resources.

Take back to work: The knowledge necessary to add reliability and availability to your systems and to assess and implement tools needed for production-quality Linux systems.

Topics include:

  • Recent kernel developments
  • High-performance I/O
    • Advanced file systems and the LVM
    • Disk striping
    • Optimizing I/O performance
  • Advanced compute-server environments
    • HPC with Beowulf
    • Clustering and high availability
    • Parallelization environments/facilities
    • CPU performance optimization
  • Enterprise-wide security features, including centralized authentication
  • Automation techniques and facilities
  • Linux performance tuning

  Monday Morning Half-Day Tutorials

M5 Introduction to Python Concurrency NEW! Beazley
David Beazley, Dabeaz LLC

Coding Who should attend: Python programmers who would like to know more about concurrent programming idioms and library modules. Attendees should be familiar with core Python datatypes (lists, dictionaries, etc.), functions, classes, and commonly used modules in the standard library.

Even though Python is a high-level interpreted language, it is often used to write applications that involve a high degree of concurrency (for example, network servers managing thousands of clients). Programmers working on such applications are often attracted to Python because of its ease of programming as well as the large number of useful library modules related to systems programming, networking, and threads. However, a cruel irony is the fact that the Python interpreter itself is only single-threaded—protected by a global lock that makes it impossible for multi-threaded Python programs to scale beyond one CPU core. Needless to say, this limitation impacts the way developers address concurrent programming problems, especially in programs using threads.

In this tutorial, we'll take a tour of how Python supports concurrent programming. Topics will include traditional subjects such as threads and message passing, along with more advanced topics such as co-routines, cooperative multitasking, and asynchronous I/O.

Take back to work: A deeper understanding of how Python (and dynamic languages more generally) is tackling concurrent programming problems. Python programmers will get ideas on some of the techniques that might be used to have programs take advantage of multiple CPU cores or operate on a cluster.

Topics include:

  • The Python interpreter execution model
  • Understanding the global interpreter lock
  • Thread programming
  • Subprocesses and co-processes
  • The multiprocessing library
  • Data serialization
  • Message passing
  • Co-routines and cooperative multitasking
  • Asynchronous I/O and event-driven programming

M6 Security Without Firewalls Singer
Abe Singer, California Institute of Technology

Securitynetworking Who should attend: Administrators who want or need to explore strong, low-cost, scalable security without firewalls.

Good, possibly better, network security can be achieved without relying on firewalls. The San Diego Supercomputer Center does not use firewalls, yet managed to go almost 4 years without an intrusion. Our approach defies some common beliefs, but it seems to work, and it scales well.

"Use a firewall" is the common mantra of much security documentation, and are the primary security "solution" in most networks. However, firewalls don't protect against activity by insiders, nor do firewalls provide protection against any activity that is allowed through the firewall. And, as is true for many academic institutions, firewalls just don't make sense in our environment. Weighting internal threats equally with external threats, SDSC has built an effective, scalable, host-based security model. The keys parts to our model are: centralized configuration management; regular and frequent patching; and strong authentication (no plaintext passwords). This model extends well to many environments beyond the academic.

Of course, we're not perfect, and we had a compromise as part of a security incident that spanned numerous institutions. However, firewalls would have done little if anything to have mitigated that attack, and we believe our approach to security reduced the scope of compromise and helped us to recover faster than some of our peers.

The key parts to that model are centralized configuration management, regular and frequent patching, and strong authentication (no plaintext passwords). This model extends well to many environments besides the academic.

In addition, our system administration costs scale well. The incremental cost of adding a host to our network (beyond the cost of the hardware) is negligible, as is the cost of reinstalling a host.

Take back to work: How to build effective, scalable, host-based security without firewalls.

Topics include:

  • The threat perspective from a data-centric point of view
  • How to implement and maintain centralized configuration management using cfengine, and how to build reference systems for fast and consistent (re)installation of hosts
  • Secure configuration and management of core network services such as NFS, DNS, and SSH
  • Good system administration practices
  • Implementing strong authentication and eliminating use of plaintext passwords for services such as POP/IMAP
  • A sound patching strategy
  • An overview of the compromise, how we recovered, and what we learned
  Monday Afternoon Half-Day Tutorials

M7 Python Generator Hacking NEW! Beazley
David Beazley, Dabeaz LLC

Coding Who should attend: Intermediate to advanced Python programmers who would like to know more about practical uses of generator functions and generator expressions. Attendees should be familiar with core Python datatypes (lists, dictionaries, etc.), functions, classes, and commonly used modules in the standard library. No previous experience with generators is assumed.

Generators and generator expressions are among the most useful features of Python. Yet many Python programmers are unsure how to apply them to real-world problems, because examples tend to focus on utterly useless tasks such as generating Fibonacci numbers. This tutorial presents practical uses of generators, including processing large data files, handling real-time data sequences, parsing, threads, networking, and distributed computing.

This tutorial will completely change the way you look at Python in general and at generators in particular. Upon completion, you'll probably want to go home and rewrite all of your code.

Take back to work: A new understanding of how Python generators are an extremely powerful and elegant solution to a wide variety of problems you face every day but have probably been solving the hard way.

Topics include:

  • Basic concepts of Python iteration
  • Generator functions and generator expressions
  • Using generators to set up processing pipelines (just like UNIX pipes, but better)
  • Processing huge data files
  • Processing real-time data streams and logs
  • Generators and threads
  • Generators and distributed computing
  • Advanced generators and co-routines

M8 Building a Logging Infrastructure and Log Analysis for Security Singer
Abe Singer, California Institute of Technology

Securitynetworking Who should attend: System, network, and security administrators who want to be able to separate the wheat of warning information from the chaff of normal activity in their log files.

This tutorial will show the importance of log files for maintaining system security and general well-being, some strategies for building a centralized logging infrastructure, explain some of the types of information that can be obtained for both real-time monitoring and forensics, and techniques for analyzing log data to obtain useful information.

All the devices on medium sized network can generate millions of lines of log messages a day. Although much of the information is normal activity, hidden within that data can be the first signs of an intrusion, denial of service, worms/viruses, and system failures.

Take back to work: How to get a handle on your log files, which can help you run your systems and networks more effectively and can provide forensic information for post-incident investigation.

Topics include:

  • Problems, issues, and scale of handing log information
  • Generating useful log information: improving the quality of your logs
  • Collecting log information: syslog and friends, building a log host, integrating Microsoft Windows into a UNIX log architecture
  • Storing log information: centralized log architectures and log file archiving
  • Log analysis: Log file parsing tools, data analysis of log files (e.g., baselining), attack signatures, and other interesting things to look for in your logs
  • How to handle and preserve log files for human resources issues and legal matters
  Tuesday, June 16, 2009
  Tuesday Full-Day Tutorials

T2 Virtualization with VMware ESX 3i for UNIX Administrators:
The Fundamentals
Dan Anderson, VMware

Virtual Who should attend: System administrators and architects who are interested in deploying a VMware Virtual Infrastructure, including ESX Server and VirtualCenter, in a production environment. No prior experience with VMware products is required. Knowledge of Linux is helpful; basic knowledge of SANs is useful but not required.

VMware Infrastructure is the new computing platform from VMWare. It helps organizations solve a range of computing challenges. This workshop will provide an overview of VMware Infrastructure by focusing on ESXi 3.5 and VirtualCenter. ESXi 3.5 has only a 32MB footprint and runs independent of a general purpose operating system. We will discuss the Remote Command Line Interface (RCLI), which will be the primary command line tool to manage an ESXi 3.5 system. Additionally, we will provide an overview of VMI (Virtual Machine Interface), a guest OS communication interface with the hypervisor.

Take back to work: An understanding of ESXi 3.5 and VirtualCenter installation, configuration, and basic design architectures around networking and storage.

Topics include:

  • Virtualization overview
  • ESX 3i Installation and Configuration
  • Networking overview and configuring vSwitches
  • Storage overview and configuring datastores
  • RCLI for the UNIX administrator
  • VMI 101
  • Virtual machines, virtual appliances, and the OVF
  • Clusters, Resource Pools and VMware HA, VMware DRS

T3 Replacing Real Servers with Virtual Machines
Using Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2)
and Simple Storage Service (S3)
NEW! Malan
David J. Malan, Harvard

VirtualCloud Who should attend: Instructors who want more control over their course's infrastructure, who want to provide each of their students with their own virtual machine, or who want to assign projects with high computational or space needs; CTOs who want to scale their infrastructure within minutes to meet unusual loads or who want to load-test their own infrastructure by simulating unusual loads; and system administrators who want their own server or cluster without yet another box under their desk.

Take back to work: How to do it, and whether it's the right thing for you to do.

Topics include:

  • Spawning and managing Amazon EC2 instancesv
  • Evaluating EC2's costs (in dollars and man-hours)
  • Amazon's command-line utilities
  • Using others' images
  • Burning your own images for others to use
  • Backing up your data to S3
  • Spawning Fedora-, Ubuntu-, and Windows-based VMs
  • Time-saving management tools
    • Elasticfox
    • S3Fox
    • Ylastic
  • Commercial add-ons: RightScale, etc.
  • How to do it at no cost (for academic purposes)

Bring to class:

  • A laptop with wireless access is required.

T4 Inside the Linux 2.6 Kernel Ts'o
Theodore Ts'o, IBM/Linux Foundation

Open Source Who should attend: Application programmers, system administrators interested in performance tuning their Linux systems, and kernel developers. You should be somewhat familiar with C programming in the UNIX environment, but no prior experience with the UNIX or Linux kernel code is assumed.

The Linux kernel aims to achieve conformance with existing standards and compatibility with existing operating systems; however, it is not a reworking of existing UNIX kernel code. The Linux kernel was written from scratch to provide both standard and novel features, and it takes advantage of the best practice of existing UNIX kernel designs.

This class will primarily focus on the currently released version of the Linux 2.6 kernel, but it will also discuss how it has evolved from Linux 2.4 and earlier kernels. It will not delve into any detailed examination of the source code.

Take back to work: An overview and roadmap of the kernel's design and functionality: its structure, the basic features it provides, and the most important algorithms it employs.

Topics include:

  • How the kernel is organized (scheduler, virtual memory system, filesystem layers, device driver layers, networking stacks)
    • The interface between each module and the rest of the kernel
    • Kernel support functions and algorithms used by each module
    • How modules provide for multiple implementations of similar functionality
  • Ground rules of kernel programming (races, deadlock conditions)
  • Implementation and properties of the most important algorithms
    • Portability
    • Performance
    • Functionality
  • Comparison between Linux and UNIX kernels, with emphasis on differences in algorithms
  • Details of the Linux scheduler
  • The virtual memory subsystem
  • Linux's virtual file system layer
  • A quick tour through Linux's networking stack

T6 Performance Tools, Metrics, and Tuning for Solaris/Linux Cockcroft
Adrian Cockcroft, Netflix, Inc.

Open Source Who should attend: Capacity planning engineers and sysadmins with an interest in performance optimization and who work with Solaris or Linux.

Capacity planning and performance management tools have been commercially available for many years. A new generation of freely available tools provides data collectors and analysis packages. As the underlying computer platforms and network devices have evolved, they have added improved data sources and have bundled free data collectors. Several open source and freeware projects have sprung up to collect and display cross-platform data, and with the advent of highly functional free statistics and modeling packages comprehensive analysis, modeling and archival storage can now be assembled. Free and bundled tools are of special interest to sites with very diverse mixes of systems, very large sites where licensing costs become prohibitive, and sites replacing a few large single systems with many more low cost horizontally scaled systems.

The morning session provides a vendor- and operating system-independent introduction to capacity planning techniques and tools.

The afternoon session will focus on the measurement sources and tuning parameters available in Solaris and Linux. The meaning and behavior of metrics is covered in detail.

Take back to work: A vendor- and OS-independent understanding of capacity planning techniques and tools, an understanding of the meaning and behavior of metrics, and knowledge of the common fallacies, misleading indicators, sources of measurement error, and other traps for the unwary.

Topics include:

  • Computer system and network performance data collection, analysis, modeling, and capacity planning on any platform using bundled utilities and freely available tools such as Orca, Big Brother, OpenNMS, Nagios, Ganglia, SE Toolkit, R, Ethereal/Wireshark, Ntop, MySQL and PDQ
  • TCP/IP measurement and tuning
  • Complex storage subsystems
  • Virtualization
  • Advanced Solaris metrics
  Tuesday Morning Half-Day Tutorial

T7 Disk-to-Disk Backup and Eliminating Backup System Bottlenecks
Jacob Farmer, Cambridge Computer Services

Sysadminnetworking Who should attend: System administrators involved in the design and management of backup systems and policymakers responsible for protecting their organization's data. A general familiarity with server and storage hardware is assumed. The class focuses on architectures and core technologies and is relevant regardless of what backup hardware and software you currently use.

The data protection industry is going through a mini-renaissance. In the past few years, the cost of disk media has dropped to the point where it is practical to use disk arrays in backup systems, thus minimizing and sometimes eliminating the need for tape. In the first incarnations of disk-to-disk backup—disk staging and virtual tape libraries—disk has been used as a direct replacement for tape media. While this compensates for the mechanical shortcomings of tape drives, it fails to address other critical bottlenecks in the backup system, and thus many disk-to-disk backup projects fall short of expectations. Meanwhile, many early adopters of disk-to-disk backup are discovering that the longterm costs of disk staging and virtual tape libraries are prohibitive.

The good news is that the next generation of disk-enabled data protection solutions has reached a level of maturity where they can assist—and sometimes even replace—conventional enterprise backup systems. These new D2D solutions leverage the random access properties of disk devices to use capacity much more efficiently and to obviate many of the hidden backup-system bottlenecks that are not addressed by first-generation solutions. The challenge to the backup system architect is to cut through the industry hype, sort out all of these new technologies, and figure out how to integrate them into an existing backup system.

This tutorial identifies the major bottlenecks in conventional backup systems and explains how to address them. The emphasis is placed on the various roles for inexpensive disk in your data protection strategy; however, attention is given to SAN-enabled backup, the current state and future of tape drives, and iSCSI.

Take back to work: Ideas for immediate, effective, inexpensive improvements to your backup systems.

Topics include:

  • Identifying and eliminating backup system bottlenecks
  • Conventional disk staging
  • Virtual tape libraries
  • Removable disk media
  • Incremental forever and synthetic full backup strategies
  • Block- and object-level incremental backups
  • Information lifecycle management and nearline archiving
  • Data replication
  • CDP (Continuous Data Protection)
  • Snapshots
  • Current and future tape drives
  • Capacity Optimization (Single-Instance File Systems)
  • Minimizing and even eliminating tape drives
  • iSCSI
  Tuesday Afternoon Half-Day Tutorial

T8 Next-Generation Storage Networking UPDATED FOR 2009! Farmer
Jacob Farmer, Cambridge Computer Services

Sysadminnetworking Who should attend: Sysadmins running day-to-day operations and those who set or enforce budgets. This tutorial is technical in nature, but it does not address command-line syntax or the operation of specific products or technologies. Rather, the focus is on general architectures and various approaches to scaling in both performance and capacity. Since storage networking technologies tend to be costly, there is some discussion of the relative cost of different technologies and of strategies for managing cost and achieving results on a limited budget.

There has been tremendous innovation in the data storage industry over the past few years. Proprietary, monolithic SAN and NAS solutions are beginning to give way to open-system solutions and distributed architectures. Traditional storage interfaces such as parallel SCSI and Fibre Channel are being challenged by iSCSI (SCSI over TCP/IP), SATA (serial ATA), SAS (serial attached SCSI), and even Infiniband. New filesystem designs and alternatives to NFS and CIFS are enabling high-performance filesharing measured in gigabytes (yes, "bytes," not "bits") per second. New spindle management techniques are enabling higher-performance and lower-cost disk storage. Meanwhile, a whole new set of efficiency technologies are allowing storage protocols to flow over the WAN with unprecedented performance. This tutorial is a survey of the latest storage networking technologies, with commentary on where and when these technologies are most suitably deployed.

Take back to work: An understanding of general architectures, various approaches to scaling in both performance and capacity, relative costs of different technologies, and strategies for achieving results on a limited budget.

Topics include:

  • Fundamentals of storage virtualization: the storage I/O path
  • Shortcomings of conventional SAN and NAS architectures
  • In-band and out-of-band virtualization architectures
  • The latest storage interfaces: SATA (serial ATA), SAS (serial attached SCSI), 4Gb Fibre Channel, Infiniband, iSCSI
  • Content-Addressable Storage (CAS)
  • Information Life Cycle Management (ILM) and Hierarchical Storage Management (HSM)
  • The convergence of SAN and NAS
  • High-performance file sharing
  • Parallel file systems
  • SAN-enabled file systems
  • Wide-area file systems (WAFS)
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Last changed: 8 June 2009 ch