logo Systems Administration Miniconf
Christchurch, January 2019

LCA2019 Sysadmin Miniconf Presentations

The abstracts for the presentations accepted for the Linux.Conf.Au 2019 Syadmin Miniconf are listed below.

See the presentation schedule for the speaking order and slides/video links.

Presentation Titles

(Links sorted by presentation title; Abstracts below are sorted by first name of the first presenter.)

Full Abstracts

  • Samba for the 100,000 user enterprise: are we there yet? - Andrew Bartlett

    For a number of years Andrew Bartlett has given presentations along the lines of 'the road to 100k users', and this so in part, this is another update on that long road.

    But it is also a milestone, because in the past year Samba has successfully added 124,000 users to the DB in a 4-hour benchmark, re-targeted to LMDB and successfully stood up a second replicated domain controller at the 100,000 user scale.

    Beyond scale, Andrew Bartlett will also update the audience on the many other new features coming up in Samba 4.10.

    About Andrew Bartlett:

    Andrew Bartlett is a Samba developer and has been at the forefront of Samba's Active Directory DC effort since the Samba4 effort started in 2003.

    Andrew now leads a Samba development team for Catalyst in Wellington, New Zealand


  • Survival guide for women in IT - Anna Fiofilova

    Working in the IT industry today is hard, but it is even harder if you are a woman. There is still lots of “old school thinking" that women face daily. This talk is a survival guide based on real-life stories and different challenges from women of different ages, cultural backgrounds and roles in the Australian IT industry.

    Like any survival guide, this one provides you with the essential information to help you identify and overcome the most frequently encountered hazards. Each chapter contains useful tips, instructions and practical advice on a particular issue so you can implement the skills and techniques even under the most stressful circumstances. From the hiring process to promotions and corporate events, you'll have the tools to survive.

    You will learn these skills and more:

    Preparation is the key. If you are starting your career in IT or navigating through it - this guide is for you.

    About Anna Fiofilova:

    I was born in the USSR, a country that doesn't exist any more. After it fell apart, I grew up in Ukraine, close to the Russian border.

    I was reasonably good at mathematics and had learned basic programming at school, so in 2002 I enrolled at my local University to study "Computer Systems and Networks".

    I started my career in IT after finishing my second year in Uni; I got my first real, paid job in 2005 while studying my bachelor's degree. I stayed in the University for two more years to get my masters degree while working full time. I was changing jobs roughly every two years, to accrue knowledge and to stay up to date with the latest shiny tech.

    I moved in Melbourne in 2012 (just before the Higgs boson was discovered) and was lucky enough to join ThoughWorks. At ThoughtWorks I found out about gender diversity, what 'agile' really means, and had the chance to meet many smart people. Working at ThoughtWorks was a big shift for me in terms of working environment and culture.

    After 6 month in ThoughtWorks I joined REA group as senior software engineer and still enjoying working there. Now I am an Australian citizen and proud to be part of its diverse culture.


  • The Free Software Mirror Group - Brad Cowie and James Forman

    A lot of the newer free software projects use either cloud providers or a small set of mirrors located in Europe or the USA to provide access to their software and packages. New Zealand has a unique situation where we have ubiquitous access to fast fibre in urban centres and high latency low bandwidth to International destinations. In order to improve access to popular and new free software projects a number of local sysadmins from different companies formed “The Free Software Mirror Group” (FSMG).

    We will take this opportunity to introduce the community to FSMG and propose the ways we want to help the community in future. This talk will cover what happened in FSMG’s first year of operation, from how we started the project to how we operate the project day to day.

    FSMG are currently official mirrors in New Zealand for Debian, Kali, Raspbian, CentOS, Arch Linux, OpenBSD and other projects.

    About Brad Cowie:

    Brad is a member of the WAND Network Research Group at the University of Waikato. He is also a core member of the FAUCET project which develops an open source OpenFlow controller for enterprise networks. Utilising his years of experience deploying servers and networks he deploys FAUCET around the world doing SDN deployments with FAUCET.

    About James Forman:

    James is a Linux Sysadmin at Catalyst IT in Wellington where he works on building things that can survive earthquakes. He has obsessions with monitoring, automation, backups and making sure people don’t get woken up.

    James is a maintainer of New Zealand’s Free Software Mirror Group.


  • Oracle Public Cloud DevOps: OpenStack CI/CD Infrastructure - Dong Ma

    Oracle Public Cloud DevOps development uses a Continuous Integration/Continuous Deployment (CI/CD) workflow for OpenStack development. This talk will provide an overview of the Oracle Public Cloud CI/CD workflow and tools used in our DevOps practice, and our experiences with these tools.

    About Dong Ma:

    Dong Ma is a Principal Cloud DevOps Engineer of Oracle Public Cloud Operations Team, provide automation solutions on all operational tasks. Debugging and profiling issues, interact with engineers and customers to solve the issues. Before joining Oracle, He is an Senior Software Engineer of HPE, specially in the field of Open Source projects. He worked on the Open Source FOSSology( project from 2009. He's been an active technical contributor to OpenStack since the Liberty release, with a focus on the Continuous Integration and Delivery system. He has previously been a speaker at OpenStack Summit, LCA2017, ApacheCon North American, LinuxCon Japan, FOSSCON and the other open source conference.


  • Using containers for HPC workloads (but avoiding Docker) - Eric Burgueño

    Containers are the old hot thing. But their adoption in all realms of IT is far from widespread. Most containers we see in the wild today are created to host daemon-type processes and scale them massively, but traditional HPC workloads are different and so HPC shops continue to have some aversion to them.

    In this short talk I will discuss some of the challenges that Docker introduces when it comes to using containers in a multi-tenant HPC cluster, and what are some of the possible solutions. We will also explore the relationship between containers and reproducibility in Computational Science.

    About Eric Burgueño:

    Hello there! I am an IT professional specialising in GNU/Linux and Open Source. I also have a Law degree, but computers are my true passion.

    I have approximate knowledge of many things. I am a science enthusiast and an aspiring polyglot (in both human and computer lingos). I use Oxford commas and indent my code with spaces :-).

    When I take a break from being a geek, I enjoy discovering the world and other cultures, particularly if there's food, wine, or beer involved.


  • Creating Ubuntu and Debian container base images, the old and simple way - Hamish Coleman

    Containers are everywhere, but do you know how to create the root filesystems that they use? There are simple tools available to create your own custom Ubuntu or Debian root filesystem. By using these tools to build environments matching your needs, you will end up with a better understanding of how containers are built - and how to debug them - as well as gain access to more options that can speed up your own builds and testing.

    In this presentation, I will show the debootstrap and multistrap tools and provide worked examples on how to avoid their gotchas and end up with a bootable root filesystem.

    About Hamish Coleman:

    Hamish has always liked to bend hardware to his will, which led to a career as a Sys Admin and means that he is always trying to understand what he can see inside the case.

    His quest to make computers do his bidding (and not theirs) has continued to drive his tinkering with software and hardware at home and at work. He believes in empowering others to also bend technology along with him!

    Hamish currently lives in Hong Kong - tiny living with his many tiny computers.


  • Python++ – Bringing your code to the next level - Jan Groth

    Python is a great language for DevOps tasks. It’s easy to use for automation and offers an end-to-end range of tooling for managing infrastructure on-premise and in the cloud. Scripts are quickly implemented and new features easily rolled out. But what if complexity grows and all of the sudden you find yourself in a complete mess? How do you add a new feature or fix a bug in a script that you struggle to understand because it was written months ago? And do you sometimes see someone else’s code that you like but can't always put your finger on the magic ingredient? This talk is aimed at you if you are reasonably confident reading Python code and want to discover and improve beyond the basics. I'll provide you with ideas and suggestions that will help you stay on top of your coding and will bring it to the next level: Clean code which is easier to understand, more functional, testable and beautiful.

    About Jan Groth:

    Jan is happy scripting and automating in Python as a Cloud Engineer at Versent/Sydney. Prior to moving into DevOps he has been a Java Developer for almost 15 years.


  • Toolmaking - Julien Goodwin

    From simple shell pipelines through more advanced query & workflow systems basic toolmaking is one of the most valuable ways to increase the efficiency of operations work.

    In this presentation we look at toolmaking in other fields, and how to best scale toolmaking work to keep the efficiency wins going.

    About Julien Goodwin:

    Julien is a Site Reliability Engineer working on some of the largest networks on the planet. He has spoken many times at the LCA SysAdmin miniconf, as well as at OSDC and other conferences in Australia, New Zealand & the United States. He was part of the organising team for 2008 in Melbourne.


  • Dirty Samba hacks to make your life easier - Kirin van der Veer

    Thanks to the proliferation of IoT devices Samba is everywhere.

    But what if you want to use it the "normal" way? You know, as a DC and file server for a large number of users?

    What happens when you need to parse the directory for a list of disabled users and take action? Or have regular helpdesk guys deal with locked files?

    For regularly running scripts what returns queries faster; pdbedit or ldapsearch?

    Perhaps you'd like to setup a linux based hotdesk that will automatically RDP into whatever workstation a user happens to be logged into elsewhere on campus. How to you remotely (and securely) request that information from Samba?

    How about a website that acts as a password reset portal? (don't forget your input validation!)

    During this talk I will outline and demo a number of scripts and hacks used to make Samba work for our organization (including links to source code).

    About Kirin van der Veer:

    Kirin van der Veer has built and Sysadmin'd networks for organizations as disparate as Greenpeace in Amsterdam and Military deployments in the middle east.

    He occasionally files bug reports for Samba and other open source projects.

    Currently he is the Senior (read only) Linux systems administrator for Planet Innovation in Melbourne.

    In his spare time he once commissioned a developer to create a fork of Gnome terminal, simulating an accurate recreation of 1995 era VGA text modes in order to play ADOM the exact way he remembered.


  • Keeping the Balance: loadbalancing demystified - Murali Suriar

    Can you explain the entire path that an IP packet takes from your users to your binary? What about a web request? Do you understand the tradeoffs that different kinds of load balancing techniques make? If not, this talk is for you.

    Load balancing is hard, and it is made up of many disparate technologies. It cuts across network, transport and application layers. We'll describe different flavours of load balancing (network, naming, application) and how they work.

    We will then discuss example use cases, and which load balancing approaches are most appropriate in each case. We'll also relate these to several design patterns for high-availability services that have developed over the years. Finally, we'll relate the techniques we've been discussing to well-known open source technologies and to the major cloud load balancing services.

    You will come away with:

    About Murali Suriar:

    Murali Suriar is a lapsed computer science graduate, turned network engineer, turned SRE. Currently working at Google running cluster filesystem and locking services. Left Google to get on a boat. Got bored and came back.


  • Adventures in highish availability - Peter Chubb

    I manage a small farm of servers and network for continuous integration and development, supporting around 50 users. We recently retired about a dozen servers, and have instead used containers and virtual machines on a pair of really big servers.

    Given some excess capacity in the new machines, I decided to try to set up replication and failover, so I can bring one machine down for maintenance, and people won't notice (much). Although there are off-the-shelf tools (like Pacemaker), they didn't seem applicable --- so we rolled out own.

    In hindsight this may have been a mistake.

    In this talk, I'll be talking about all the things that went wrong.

    About Peter Chubb:

    Peter has been a long-term contributer to open source (his first patch was to international iSpell in around 1990 to enable Australian spelling rules), to Unix (he worked on the Unix kernel for SGI, Fujitsu, and for AT&T Bell Labs while at Softway Pty Ltd), and to Linux systems software (kernel and low-level software like u-boot and qemu). He has spoken at many LCA events.

    Peter has never used a Windows operating system except when forced to, and then for only a short time.


  • Prometheus - For both big and little people - Simon Lyall

    Prometheus is a monitoring and alerting system that has gained wide popularity in the last few years. It is especially popular on cloud and kubernetes clusters.

    This talk will running the software in both small (a few machines) and larger sites covering both similarities and differences between them.

    About Simon Lyall:

    Simon lives in Auckland, New Zealand and has worked as a Linux Sysadmin for over 20 years. He currently works for for a large New Zealand company wrangling Kubernetes and CI/CD Pipelines.

    He has been attending since 2004 and has co-running 12 Sysadmin Miniconf's at LCA since 2006. He also maintains the "Unofficial Guide".


  • Petabytes Data Migration and Load Balancing with Football+MARS - Thomas Schoebel-Theuer

    MARS is used at 1&1 IONOS for hardware lifecycle and load balancing of a few thousands of stateful LXC containers, in addition to its traditional long-distance data replication capabilities through network bottlenecks.

    The talk explains some background, the Football toolset, and discusses experiences gained from a major migration project to newer hardware, increasing density, thus saving power costs of some millions of € per year, while improving customer performance.

    About Thomas Schoebel-Theuer:

    Dr. Thomas Schöbel-Theuer is the inventor of the Dentry Cache of the Linux Kernel. He has also implemented some research Operating System. Currently he is working on long-distance data replication of some petabytes.


  • Distributed storage is easier now: usability from Ceph Luminous to Nautilus - Tim Serong

    Distributed storage is *still* complicated, but the Ceph project has put significant effort into making life easier for administrators and users over the past year.

    Following on from Sage Weil's LCA 2018 presentation "Making distributed storage easy: usability in Ceph Luminous and beyond", this talk covers the changes we have made in the meantime, including major enhancements to the in-tree Ceph dashboard, centralised configuration management, placement group merging, and the beginnings of a new orchestrator module to tie in with Kubernetes, Salt and Ansible.

    The Ceph Mimic release in June 2018 includes much of the above work, but we still have plenty more to do for the upcoming Ceph Nautilus release and beyond.

    About Tim Serong:

    Tim spends most of his time working for SUSE, hacking on Ceph and related technologies. He has spoken about high availability and distributed storage at several previous LCAs. In his spare time he wrangles pigs, chickens, sheep and ducks, and was declared by one colleague "teammate most likely to survive the zombie apocalypse".


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