Yesterday was the last day of my first LISA conference. I’ve spent a
lot of time reflecting on the experience and feeling excited about
the new ideas generated and connections made as a result of
attending. Two months ago, I seriously considered going to LISA
after finding out that I could apply for a student grant. I asked my
friend Dybra if she was interested in attending LISA, and she wanted
to as much as I did. We made reservations, submitted our grant proposals, and nervously awaited a response from USENIX.
Our proposals were awarded.
Dybra drove through the rainy, foggy darkness (like a champion) to
get me and got us to the Sheraton San Diego Hotel and Marina safely.
We signed up for Theodore Tso’s “Linux Performance Tuning” training
session and I managed to get seated in the room during the first
break. Tso gave a clear and organized lecture on the different ways a
sysadmin can improve the performance of Linux systems based on the
area that needs to be optimized. I was unfamiliar with some of the
topics (filesystem tuning, network tuning) and had a basic
understanding of others (how to analyze memory usage, assesing which
storage is appropriate for your system). I took a lot of notes and
will be performing some experiments in the coming weeks.
After the training session, Dybra and I discussed whether or not we
should attend the reception. We were afraid of feeling out of place
and not being able to leave (one does not simply exit a ship
sailing in a bay). Soon before it was time to board the busses, I
knew the answer. We had to go. We’d come to the conference to meet
people in the community. People whose blogs we’ve read and whose
books sit on our desks at work. People who worked for the companies
that produce the software we use. The reception would be the best
time to do so because everyone was more likely to be involved in
We had an amazing time. George Marselis and his
co-workers invited us to eat with them, and we were escorted around
the boat to meet sysadmins, researchers, and educators who welcomed
us to the community and gave us advice on growing in the
profession. Some names: Carolyn Rowland (this year’s program chair),
Steve VanDevender, Mike Ciavarella, Patrick Cable, David Blank-Edleman, Tom Limoncelli, Selena Deckleman, and Nicole Forsgren Velasquez.
I told a lot of people about CSUSB’s System Administration degree
option for the Computer Systems major. Apparently the program is not
well-known. I’ll be writing a post about it this week.
After the reception, I sat in on the discussion happening during the
“.edu System Administration” Birds of a Feather session and did some
mingling in the Google BoF party-session.
Got dressed and rushed downstairs to get water to drink so my dull hangover-headache would fade away. Looked at the job postings on the board in the hallway. I noticed that Matt Simmons was manning the LOPSA table, so I went over to say hi (his blog was one of the first sysadmin blogs I started reading regularly), become a student member, and get information about starting a LOPSA chapter at CSUSB.
Watched Tom Limoncelli give a presentation on
Ganeti and Doug Hughes give a talk about some complicated problems he
and his team had to solve before they turned into disasters, and the
lessons he learned as a result.
Dybra and I drunk coffee. Lots of coffee.
A while later everyone gathered into the Grande Ballroom to watch
Geoff Halprin present the closing keynote “15 Years of DevOps.” He
gave a brief history of software development, system
administration, and DevOps, a movement that aims to improve
collaboration between development and operations teams to more
efficiently produce software. He stressed that DevOps is not a new
concept and showed slides from presentations he did over a decade
ago regarding the same issues discussed in the movement today. He
also noted that DevOps is not applicable to some environments but
encouraged people to examine its practices with an open mind.
We couldn’t stay for the ice cream social because we had a long
drive back home. I wanted to thank a bunch of people during the
social. Instead I will give my thanks here to everyone we met at the
conference, as well as the following people: