Wednesday, January 8, 2014
Wednesday, February 12, 2014
Wednesday, March 12, 2013
- Wednesday, November 13, 2013
Adam Moskowitz et al
- Wednesday, October 9, 2013
BackupPC it's not just for desktops
Six years ago I embarked on a search for a new backup system for work.
This talk will start by discussing the requirements and evaluation
process for the backup system. This will be followed by a tour of
BackupPC and a discussion of how BackupPC is used to: backup multi TB
live databases, handle off site backups, handle bandwidth limitation
requirements for backing up sites scattered across the internet, how
compression and file de-duplication works to improve backup capacity
(fitting 52T of source data into 3.7T of backup space). The talk will
close with methods used for testing the integrity of backups and
John Rouillard's first computer experience was on PDP 11/44 running
BSD unix in 1977. After a couple of years of programming, he graduated
to system administration. He has authored papers on configuration
management tools, software management and real time log analysis. His
current interest is improving system administration processes by
incorporating best practices and standard skills from other
disciplines to solve issues in system administration.
- Wednesday, September 11, 2013
Is the MooseFS distributed filesystem in your future?
Peter aNeutrino (LizardFS.org)
This talk will focus on features of MooseFS which make it very
interesting choice for storage alternatives. MooseFS is used all over
the world to store hundreds of petabytes of production data. Starting
with installation and configuration the talk will move on to
management of MooseFS. Then the reasons for creating the LizardFS fork
of MooseFS will be presented. Finally the challenges to be solved to
make the LizardFS an enterprise ready storage solution will be discussed.
Peter aNeutrino started working in Poland 20 years ago writing
assembler for Demoscene. He sharpened his Linux skills working for
Siemens, Google and Gemius in Poland. He has spent his last 3 years
working on MooseFS. He now is building a team of developers to improve
MooseFS using modern development methods. This new Open Source release
is LizardFS that he hopes will change everything in today's storage
- Wednesday, August 14, 2013
No meeting - summer vacation
- Wednesday, July 10, 2013
Cloud storage options and DFS
Jeff Darcy (Red Hat)
This talk will be compare some of the cloud-storage options that are
out there, with a particular focus on distributed filesystems. GlusterFS and
Ceph will be compared in detail. Other options including HDFS, object stores,
and NoSQL document stores will also be discussed.
Jeff Darcy has been working on distributed storage since DECnet and
NFS version 2 in the early 1990s. Later he was one of the original
developers for MPFS while at EMC, and is currently an architect for
GlusterFS at Red Hat.
- Wednesday, June 12, 2013
Continuous Integration of Infrastructure
Stability is the name of the game for systems and networks operators. It's
what we expect and what our end-users expect, but it can be incredibly
difficult to achieve - a constant stream of security patches, dead-end
releases, broken software, broken hardware, and demands from other
internal stakeholders force change. Constant, never ending change.
Complicating this is the fact that these changes are rarely isolated. A
change on one system (particularly a lower-layer system like a router) can
ripple through entire services. We have, in effect, an integration
problem with every software update or configuration change we apply. So
to solve this, we look to the software development world to see how they
deal with it, and the answer is continuous testing and continuous
At TERC, we're currently combining configuration management (puppet),
hierarchical configs (hiera), monitoring (nagios), test
software (rspec/cucumber), and a software development CI
stack (jenkins/rake/vagrant) in order to address this. This talk will
focus on my experiences in rolling all of this out, what the limitations
of current software are, and touch on what my plans are to improve it.
Wednesday, April 10, 2013
- Wednesday, May 8, 2013
Asterisk and VOIP
The near-universal provision of voice services and their terminals
(called "telephones") predates the Internet. While on some level,
voice traffic via TCP/IP is just another protocol, there are
challenges in making it "just work" like the traditional phones that
we are all used to. There are the technical issues of the nature of
the data, interfacing with the still robust telephone network, and of
course the UI expectations and experience.
That means that the protocols involved - SIP and the related suite -
were developed in the setting of a preexisting, mature, and complex
switched network. I found that from the perspective of a systems
administrator or network engineer there are complications,
terminology, and conventions that aren't necessarily obvious.
This talk will provide insight into the these technologies from that
perspective to allow you to grasp the protocols and the context in
which they interoperate, using an example implementation of Asterisk.
Matt Simmons et al.
- Wednesday, March 13, 2013
Mastering Human Communication Patterns for Techies
Missed human connections in the software industry account for most of
our project failures. Improving communication can dramatically improve
individual and team performance. Typical frustrations:
- They just don't get it
- They talked at you for an hour and made no sense
- That meeting was like a construction committee for the Tower of Babel
In the same way that programming languages have interfaces and design
patterns, so do human beings. Problems that appear technical in nature
can usually be traced back to failed interactions between
people. We'll explore:
- The human interface between system administrators, customers, and managers
- Key patterns of communication including negotiation and resolving miscommunication
- Examine techniques for how to listen to and understand others
- How to be heard and understood yourself.
Mr. Hermes, principal consultant of Lexicon Systems, has over twenty
five years experience as a software management consultant, .NET
architect and developer. From start-ups to blue chips, Mr. Hermes has
served dozens of software companies striving to develop successful,
lasting enterprise systems. He has taught software architecture and
development at Northeastern University, Microsoft User Groups, and
Microsoft Certification classes at corporate training facilities. Cited on
National Public Radio, Forbes, and Reuters, Mr. Hermes has had articles
published by Media-N and MIT Press. He has served on the board of the
Institute of Management Consultants New England Chapter and is currently
director of Art Technology New England(ATNE).
- Wednesday, February 13, 2013
Centrify From a Sysadmin Perspective
"Centrify" is a commercial product that facilitates Unix and Linux
machines joining Microsoft Active Directory and using that for
authentication and directory. "directory", in this context, means the
information that was traditionally culled from NIS, NIS+ or LDAP, such
as automount maps. This talk will take a quick look at the problem,
give an overview of what Centrify does and how it does it, and offer a
few cautionary tales about implementation, based on the presenter's
- Wednesday, January 9, 2013
Adam Moskowitz et al.
A review of the events of LISA as seen by LISA attendees. Come and
share your experiences at LISA 2012.
- Wednesday, December 12, 2012
- Wednesday, November 14, 2012
Internet buffer bloat
Bufferbloat: Problem, Migitation, and Solution
VOIP and teleconferencing often perform much more poorly on today's
Internet than the Internet of a decade ago, despite great gains in
bandwidth. Lots of fiber, cheap memory, smart hardware, variability of
wireless goodput, changes in web browser behaviour, changes in TCP
implementations, and a focus on benchmarking Internet performance
solely by bandwidth, and engineer's natural reluctance to drop packets
have conspired to encourage papering over problems by adding buffers;
each of which may introduce latency when filled.
The mistaken quest to never drop packets has destroyed interactivity
under load, and often results in actual higher packet loss, as TCP's
congestion avoidance algorithms have been defeated by these
buffers. The lessons of the "RED manifesto" of 1997 have been
forgotten or never learned by a new generation of engineers.
Bufferbloat mitigation by tuning queue length is beginning to be
deployed in cable broadband systems. But solving bufferbloat requires
careful queue management that must be present anywhere a queue may
form. With the publication of the new CoDel AQM algorithm by Nichols
and Jacobson (and inclusion in Linux 3.5) we now have the opportunity
to solve rather than mitigate bufferbloat. I will also touch on
fq_codel, which combines stochastic fair queuing and CoDel, and why we
like the combination so much, and the remaining challenges.
Jim Gettys is at Alcatel-Lucent Bell Labs, USA. Today he works on
bufferbloat in all of its forms, including helping establish
bufferbloat.net to serve as a rallying point in
He was the Vice President of Software at the One Laptop per Child
project, one of the original developers of the X Window System, and
the editor of the HTTP/1.1 specification in the IETF. In 1997 he won
Bob Metcalfe's Internet Plumber of the Year award on behalf of the
group who worked on HTTP/1.1.
- Wednesday, October10, 2012
The State of ZFS
Peter Baer Galvin
ZFS has taken the world by storm, and is still advancing. This talk
will summarize the state of ZFS, including its availability, feature
set, and recent changes.
Peter Baer Galvin is a seasoned tech writer, columnist, consultant,
teacher and author. He is the CTO for systems integrator and VAR,
Corporate Technologies (www.cptech.com). He's a Lecturer at Boston
University and co-author of the Operating Systems Concepts
textbooks. He's given talks and tutorials at USENIX conferences and
- Wednesday, September 12, 2012
Solid State Drives: Use, Performance, Caching, and More
Dan Noé, VeloBit
Solid State Drives can deliver high performance, but their prices
still break the budget. SSD caching is a lower-cost method to improve
application performance by taking advantage of fewer Solid State
Drives to improve I/O. Dan will discuss SSD performance
characteristics, best practices and risks of SSD deployment, as well
as how SSD caching works and whether it can improve your performance.
Dan Noé is a Senior Software Engineer at VeloBit; previously,
Dan was an engineer at IBM/Netezza,where he worked on database storage
layer technology for the massively parallel Netezza Database
Appliance. Dan holds a B.S. in Computer Science from University of New
Hampshire, is an avid pilot and maintains Linux servers in his spare
- Wednesday, August 8, 2012
- Wednesday, July 11, 2012
Solaris Dynamic Tracing - DTrace
DTrace is a revolutionary software framework that enables
unprecedented observability up and down the entire software
stack. DTrace was first introduced in Solaris 10, and continues to
ship with Solaris, with ports to Mac OS X and FreeBSD. Others are
underway. This talk will provide an overview of the DTrace framework
and key components, as well as a tour of using DTrace to measure and
observe system behavior.
Jim Mauro is a Principal Software Engineer for Oracle
Corporation. Jim's focus for the last several years has been systems
performance, doing both internal performance-related engineering
projects, as well as engaging in real customer production performance
issues. Jim's most recent work involved performance and benchmarking
of Oracle's ZFS Storage Appliance. Jim is the co-author of Solaris
Internals (1st and 2nd Ed), Solaris Performance and Tools, and
recently published DTrace.
- Wednesday, June 13, 2012
Keeping up with Systems Management across Windows, Linux and Mac platforms.
How do you keep all of your systems (Windows, Mac, Linux)? Do you find
yourself having to use multiple toolsets? Enterprises keep adding new
types of system s (a resurgence in the Mac community and new Linux
applications being developed every day) that only increase the demands
on the systems administration team. On top of that, there are growing
regulatory and compliance (software licensing) demands placed on the
team. How can you streamline the systems management processes
(software distribution, asset management, patching, O/S deployment,
compliance reporting, etc.)? The Dell Kace systems management
appliance was designed to make it easy for you to manage all of your
systems from one console. We'll discuss common challenges that systems
administrators face today and how best to address them.
Harold Moore has worked in the systems management field for over 15
years. Harold worked at Novell from 2000-2007. He worked on the System
Engineering team that was responsible for systems management and the
Suse Linux/Open Enterprise Server. Harold then joined Altiris/Symantec
working in systems management group supporting management of MAC,
Linux and Windows. Harold Joined Dell in March 2011 and works in the
Dell-Kace division. Harold has a BA from the University at Albany in
Communications and Computer Science. He also hold a MS in Computer
Science from Long Island University, CW Post.
- Wednesday, May 9, 2012
What does a CIO do anyway?
The average job life of a CIO is about 2 1/2 years, it even comes with
the pleasant acronym of '*C*areer *I*s *O*ver'. The Broad Institute
just hired their first CIO, and will try to justify his existence at
this presentation and discussion.
Martin Leach is chief information officer at the Broad Institute He
came to the Broad from Merck & Co., where he led IT for Discovery and
Pre-Clinical Sciences across all the North American research
sites. Over his career he has provided support and strategic vision
for IT, informatics, and data-mining activities at a range of life
sciences organizations. Martin received his B.Sc. in cell and
molecular sciences from Anglia Polytechnic University and his Ph.D. in
pharmacology from Boston University School of Medicine.
- Wednesday, April 11, 2012
A fresh look at SELinux and what it is complaining about.
The Four main causes of SELinux problems.
- Labeling Problems
- SELinux has to know how you configured your processes
- Bug in Policy or an Application.
- Your machine has been compromised.
Daniel Walsh has worked in the computer security field for almost 30
years. Dan joined Red Hat in August 2001. He has led the SELinux
project, concentrating on the application space and policy
development. Dan helped developed sVirt, Secure Vitrualization. He
also created the SELinux Sandbox, the Xguest user and the Secure
Kiosk. Previously, Dan worked Netect/Bindview's HackerShield and
BVControl for Unix, Vulnerability Assessment Products. Dan worked for
Digital Equipment Corporation on the Athena Project along with
designing and developing the AltaVista Firewall and AltaVista Tunnel
(VPN) Products. Dan has a BA in Mathematics from the College of the
Holy Cross and a MS in Computer Science from Worcester Polytechnic
- Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Bacula: An Introduction to an Open Source backup system
K. M. Peterson
What should be a simple problem to solve - having a copy of important
data in case of hardware error or human mistake - turns out to have
complex (and expens ive) solutions. Bacula is an open-source
application that runs in most popular environments, supports disk and
tape-based backups, and utilizes a database for managing its catalog
of file versions and backup media. This presentation will discuss
Bacula's functionality, including its features and some implementation
details, and provide a short example of a working configuration.
K. M. Peterson has worked as a manager, systems administrator, and
consultant in academic, commercial, and non-profit environments. He's
interested in topics in data management, networking, security and
automation. Currently, he is seeking the next challenging role, and
digging deeper into interesting technologies he has encountered over
the past several years.
- Wednesday, February 8, 2012
An informal overview of the oVirt project: status, goals and a brief demonstration.
Dave Allan worn a number of hats: sysadmin, operations manager, field support staff, QA engineer, software developer. I'm currently a software development manager at Red Hat where I am the PHB of the libvirt team and interact freqently with the oVirt team.
- Wednesday, January 11, 2012
- Wednesday, December 14, 2011
- Wednesday, November 9, 2011
Tracking issues - experiences from the field
Christopher Allison, Tom Bechard, John Rouillard, Tony Rudie, Clarence Smith
- Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Cloud Filesystem HekaFS
Modern open-source distributed filesystems make it possible to provide
file services at a scale and level of availability that's finally
competitive with proprietary options. What they don't do - yet - is
enable secure sharing of those resources between multiple user bases
or organizations who pay for them. This talk will focus on how
GlusterFS works to solve the first set of problems, and how HekaFS -
which is based on GlusterFS - is solving the second. If you're tired
of having to deal with umpteen departmental file servers, each
configured differently, this approach might provide some relief.
Jeff Darcy has been working with network, cluster, and distributed
filesystems for about twenty years - since DECnet was still relevant
and NFSv2 was new. Since then he has gained scars from EMC's MPFS (for
which he was one of the initial developers), Lustre, and GlusterFS. He
is currently at Red Hat, where he's the project lead for HekaFS and
all-around "cloud storage" expert.
- Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Converged Networks, Voice / Video / Storage / Data
How do you keep everything running smoothly while giving technologies
that require low or constant latency what they need and still be able
to watch that dog skateboarding on YouTube. Will discuss how Quality
of Service (QoS) works on both Layer 2 and Layer 3 devices and why you
probably need both. How should traffic be tagged and retagged with
policy decisions. If time permits we may even have some time to go
into why net neutrality isn't as cut and dry as you may think.
Technical details will be based off of Cisco devices but most concepts
will translate to any modern equipment.
Our speaker, Ryan Sutton, is a Systems Engineer at a local Gold
Certified Cisco Partner. Ryan specializes in large scale Routing and
Switching, Voice, and Data Center designs and implementations. His
solutions often include interworking between multiple networking
vendors and technologies. Current projects include sub-second core
convergence, and multi-city/multi-vendor VoIP installations.
- Wed, July 13, 2011
Ruby: More Batteries, Fewer Brackets
Aaron D. Ball
Ruby may be most familiar as the language behind the Rails web
framework, and Perl as the "Swiss Army chainsaw" that no sysadmin can
live without, but they have a lot more in common than you might
think. Ruby comes out of the box with a great set of sysadmin tools,
from text processing to Unix system interfaces to TCP servers, and has
a syntax about as terse as Perl but with object-oriented and
functional-programming idioms that make your code easier to write and
understand. Whether you're new to scripting or you've been typing line
noise since 1987, this talk will show you another way.
- Wed, June 8, 2011
Robert Thau from Smartleaf will present their Tuttle system configuration tool.
- Wed, May 11, 2011
Automating Inventory, Deployment and Configuration of Your Windows Infrastructure
Like most IT professionals, you are an administrator in a
heterogeneous environment. You have a myriad of tools to inventory,
deploy and configure your Unix/Linux machines but how do you do this
for the rest of your machines? Come to this session to learn about the
tools you must have in your toolbox to inventory, deploy, and remotely
configure your windows desktops and servers. We will discuss the free
tools as well as the top of the line fully automatable solutions
available by Microsoft.
Dan Stolts is a technology specialist with more than 24 years in the
industry. He is proficient with many Microsoft products especially
those in the server area and holds many certifications including MCT,
MCITP, MCSE, TS, etc. Dan is currently specializing in Systems
Management and Security and is also very passionate about
virtualization technologies. Dan is and has been a very active member
of the community. He is the current president of Boston User Groups.
- Wed, Apr 13, 2011
The Path to Senior Sysadmin
Being a senior system administrator is about more than knowing all the
options to mount(8) or that modprobe is what's used to replace that
buggy kernel module with the latest version. Rather, a good senior
sysadmin will have a wide knowledge of relevant technical topics,
in-depth knowledge of one or more technologies, good interpersonal
skills, and the ability to manage "problem users" and will be
comfortable making presentations to and negotiating with mid- and
upper-level management. This talk will cover the skills a senior
sysadmin needs and why they are necessary and will provide some
suggestions for how to acquire these skills.
For nearly one-third of his sysadmin career, Adam Moskowitz held
titles such as Senior System Administrator, System Architect, and IT
Manager. Despite having returned to his roots as a programmer, Adam
remains active in the sysadmin community, including running the LISA
Advanced Topics Workshop and serving on the LOPSA Leadership
Committee. He claims he does all of this only to support his hobby
Advanced Topics Workshop and serving on the LOPSA Leadership
Committee. He claims he does all of this only to support his hobby of
judging barbecue contests and to keep food in his puppy's bowl.
- Wed, March 9, 2011
How Splunk manages our Junk
Jim Donn and Tim Hartmann
As environments grow and systems become more complex, building and
managing a usable centralized logging infrastructure can be a daunting
task. In this talk, we will walk through our real-life experiences
implementing Splunk as our centrali zed logging infrastructure for our
Network, Systems, Security, and Application teams. Over the past three
years, we have had to change our strategies and architecture to
account for organic customer growth, changes in team requirements, and
evolutions in technology.
Jim Donn, Harvard University Network Services Group (UNSG)
Senior Network Management Engineer
Tim Hartmann, Harvard University Network Services Group (UNSG)
Senior Systems Administrator
- Wed, February 9, 2010
Project Caua: Private Sector, Environmentally Friendly Jobs with Free Software
Project Caua is an Open project to create millions of private sector,
environmentally friendly jobs utilizing FOSS in urban areas of Latin
America, and millions more around the world. In addition, Project Caua
will open an avenue for free (as in beer) wireless Internet to help
defeat the digital divide, and to provide low-cost training to move
people off unemployment and create taxpayers. The specifications for
Project Caua can be found
at http://www.projectcaua.org/. This
talk will outline Project Caua and open the discussion for actual
Jon Hall is the Executive Director of Linux International
(www.li.org), an association of
computer users who wish to support and promote the Linux Operating
System. During his career in commercial computing w hich started in
1969, Jon has been a programmer, systems designer, systems
administrator, product manager, technical marketing manager, author
and educator. He currently works as an independent consultant, and is
currently involved with bringing environmentally friendly computing to
- Wed, December 8, 2010
Usenix LISA 2010 conference recap.
- Wed, October 13, 2010
Using MySQLtuner 2.0 to monitor and improve mysql performance
Sheeri K. Cabral
With help from Major Hayden, mysqltuner's original author, Sheeri
K. Cabral of the Pythian Group has modified mysqltuner to be more
comprehensive, to output information and to have a "spreadsheet" mode
where the results of mysqltuner are outputted as a single column, so
that you can easily compare subsequent runs of the modified
mysqltuner -- for example, running it monthly or weekly to see how
performance is progressing (or degrading). There is also a truly
offline mode that requires no database connectivity where files
containing the output of SHOW GLOBAL STATUS and SHOW GLOBAL VARIABLES
are used. This talk will go through how the the modified mysqltuner
works including how easy it is to change what is checked and the
thresholds, so that you can easily do one-off sanity checks as well as
Sheeri K. Cabral (The Pythian Group) is a noted MySQL community activist who recently wrote The MySQL Administrator's Bible.
Keep up with her MySQL writings at http://www.pythian.com/news/author/sheeri/.
PDF Slides and Openoffice slides.
- Wed, September 8, 2010
Built on a modular, yet integrated architecture, WhatsUp Gold is an
affordable and easy-to-use solution that scales with the size and
complexity of any physical or virtual IT infrastructure. From a single
console, WhatsUp Gold supports standard IT management tasks including
automated discovery, mapping, real-time monitoring, alerting,
troubleshooting and reporting. Rich Makris will walk through the
benefits of using WhatsUp Gold and how it can make your life easier.
As a Sales Engineer for the Network Management division, Rich's focus
is on helping customers solve their IT Management needs with WhatsUp
Gold and Event Log Management products. He has held various systems
and network positions for more than 15 years in government,
manufacturing, financial services, and at service providers. Rich also
holds certifications from Cisco, Microsoft, and Novell.
- Wed, May 12, 2010
Daniel has been using IPv6 for fun (and to get things done) for quite some time. Come learn what has and has not worked for him. Details of his personal dual-stack IPv6 setup will be presented as well as other experiences.
- Wed, 14 Apr 2010
"Building 16 systems in 16 minutes with xCAT"
Ali Tayarani will discuss how we use xCAT to manage several hundred hosts in our general-purpose LSF-based compute cluster. Slides
"Redefining Compute Nodes and Provisioning"
John Hanks will discuss his grand vision for the future (stateless compute nodes managed with Perceus), exemplified by our new genome-sequencing GridEngine cluster.
- Wed, 10 Mar 2010
"How to Interview a System Administrator"
This will be a shortened version of Adam's LISA tutorial.
The full description can be on the LISA 2007 web site.
- Wed, 10 Feb 2010
- Wed, 13 Jan 2010
“I Got My Jet Pack and I'm Still Not Happy”
- Wed, 9 Dec 2009
Thirty Minute Tools
John Rouillard (and others)
- Wed, 11 Nov 2009
- Wed, 14 Oct 2009
(was there a meeting?)
- Wed, 09 Sep 2009
“Log Analysis with the Simple Event Correlator”
John P. Rouillard
- Wed, 12 Aug 2009
Everything I Know About Sysadmin I Learned
in the Back of an Ambulance
John P. Rouillard