What I learned at LISA '16

Congrats to the LISA organizing committee for another successful conference! The Usenix LISA conference was in Boston this year, and ran Sunday to Friday as usual. This was the 30th conference.

What I learned:

  • I learned that the coming generation of servers from Dell/HP/etc. will have terabytes of persistent RAM (RAM that retains info between reboots). Operations will have to radically change how they do operations (rebooting won't clear RAM). Software engineers will be re-thinking software designs. (John Roese, Dell EMC)
  • I learned that Homomorphic encryption lets you do math on encrypted data, and you get encrypted results. No need to decrypt the source material. I also learned the limits of blockchain/bitcoin hype. (Radia Perlman)
  • I learned that story telling is more powerful than facts, and it can be as simple as starting out a presentation with an anecdote that involves a conflict and a resolution. (Jessica Hilt)
  • I learned that Total Ownership Model solves a lot of operations ills by making everyone responsible for uptime, so devs and ops have an inventive to work together. (Courtney Eckhardt)
  • I learned that Facebook's slides had all IPv6 examples, and icons for "clients" were always phones. Welcome to the future! (Patrick Shuff)
  • I learned that a non-obvious benefit of using declarative languages for configuration management is that the "preview what changes will be made" feature is practically automatic. (Mitchell Hashimoto, HashiCorp)
  • I learned that ants invented TCP/IP's rate-limiting algorithm. (Jane Adams, Two Sigma)
  • I learned that Christine Hogan and I can co-present, finish on time, and people will laugh at our jokes. (Limoncelli/Hogan)
  • I learned that the LGBTQAA* BoF session had many attendees that were concerned that the title should use .* (a regex) instead of * (a glob). (link)
  • I learned that a slack.com channel for a conference is great, even when it is unofficial.
  • I learned that Google is in awe that StackOverflow still doesn't need to shard its database. (Niall Murphy and Todd Underwood, Google)
  • I learned that a story I told during one tutorial would make a good short-form poem at another. (link)
  • I learned that Jupyter is an amazing lab notebook. It is a shame I don't use Python any more.
  • I learned that Machine Learning can be done on a laptop with Python, and useful results can be done without having terabytes of data and thousands of machines. (Matt Harrison, MetaSnake)
  • The SESA '16 conference (co-located with LISA): I learned about some massive (16,000 students/year) sysadmin education programs, how DevOps can be integrated into university-level system administration curriculum, and more.

The conference gaVe me foresight into technology that will be coming to products in the next 6-18 months and how my job will be affected. It also gave me a lot of new ideas I can implement right away.

I'd also like to thank the people that attended my 2 tutorials, the book signing, and the 3 presentations that Christine and I did. We distributed more than 300 flyers and coupons for our books, and gave away 20 free copies of TPOSANA/TPOCSA. I met a lot of new people this year; definitely more than last year.

I'm looking forward to LISA '17, which will be in San Francisco, October 29-November 3, 2017. The call for participation will be announced soon. Next year's chairs are Connie-Lynne Villani and Caskey Dickson. I look forward to their amazing conference!

Posted by Tom Limoncelli in LISA

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Tom, I really enjoyed SESA this year and having an opportunity to meet you and Christine. I got my new copy of TPOSANA a couple of days ago, hoping to integrate it into my sysadmin class in the future. I hope to be able to attend the full LISA conference in the future. This year, though, it fell on Finals Week, and I had to juggle the schedule just to get a couple of days free.

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