NZNOG 2007: Sysadmin Miniconf Programme

We held a Sysadmin Miniconf on Wednesday 31 January 2007, as part of the NZNOG 2007 conference, held at Massy University in Palmerston North.

The Miniconf was recorded. When the recordings are available we will add links here.

The programme was as follows (links to abstracts, and slides where available):

09:15-10:00Martin Kealey: From routers to Unix: shell tips for the network admin (45 minutes)
10:00-10:30BOF discussion on using Unix shell for automation
10:30-11:00Morning Tea
11:00-11:45Jonny Martin: Asterisk by Example... Doing useful VoIP things (45 minutes)
11:45-12:30Ewen McNeill: 42 hosts in 1U: Using virtual machines (45 minutes)
13:30-14:15Andrew McMillan: Using Debian packages for system administration (45 minutes)
14:15-15:00Matt Brown: Configuration Automation using CFengine (45 minutes)
15:00-15:30Server configuration management BOF
15:30-16:00Afternoon Tea
16:00-16:45Sam Sargeant: DNS registration services, and the 2LD (45 minutes)
16:45-17:45Mail Server Best Practices BOF


Links to abstracts (alphabetical order by speaker surname).

Configuration Automation using CFengine

45 minutes, presented by Matt Brown.

System administrators are often faced with the problem of how to keep the configuration of a large number of hosts synchronised and how to make changes in a consistent and timely manner. Automation offers a solution to these problems by allowing the administrator to specify the configuration only once before it is copied to all of the hosts.

CFengine approaches this problem in a novel manner by attempting to create an auto-immune system for each host that detects (and corrects) deviations from the desired configuration. This presentation will cover the principles behind CFengine and will demonstrate how to configure and maintain a set of hosts using CFengine in an ISP environment.

[Slides (PDF)]

From routers to Unix: shell tips for the network admin

45 minutes, presented by Martin Kealey.

Based on real-life scripts taken from an ISP environment this presentation will demonstrate how you can take advantage of the tools in the unix/linux environment to automate common system administration tasks. Possible scripts used for demonstration include:

[ (remote execution script) | Martin's shell profile examples ]

Asterisk by Example... Doing useful VoIP things

45 minutes, presented by Jonny Martin (Internet Janitor, JonnyNet Heavy Industries).

This talk will provide an in depth look at, and some useful real world configurations for you to take back to your organisations and actually use. Topics covered will be:

This talk will not be full of theory and titbits of Asterisk trivia, however it will be full off real world configurations and practical information you can use to go away and implement a useful Asterisk system.

[Slides (PDF)]

Using Debian packages for system administration

45 minutes, presented by Andrew McMillan.

Andrew will talk about how you can create your own custom Debian packages and how this can be useful when administering a large collection of servers, with an emphasis on how this has greatly simplified operations in a service provider environment.

[Slides (ODP) | Slides (PDF) ]

42 hosts in 1U: Using virtual machines

45 minutes, presented by Ewen McNeill

Moore's Law has provided us with many hosts which are often mostly idle, but need need to be separate for security or other reasons. Virtual machine technology offers the network operator/ISP server operational advantages such as the ability to consolidate multiple virtual hosts onto one physical server saving power, heat, and money.

This talk will discuss the differences between common virtual machine technology, and describe how you can use Xen to virtualise your Linux systems. It will also discuss when virtualisation is an appropriate solution and when it isn't.

[Slides (PDF) ]

DNS registration services, and the 2LD

45 minutes, presented by Sam Sargeant.

Everyone using the Internet needs the domain name system, yet many organisations lack experience with this critical piece of infrastructure.

Aimed at DNS administrators, this talk covers best practices for making DNS changes and factors can cause delays; DNSSEC and why it matters; A view of how registrars manage your domain name; How government agencies register and manage domains; The operational limitations of the moderated 2LD; Troubleshooting basic DNS problems.

[Slides (PDF) ]