Simon's Musings

April 3, 2008

UKUUG spring conference

Filed under: Uncategorized — sxw @ 11:04 am
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I’ve just got back from the UKUUG Spring Conference, where a group of us from Informatics (myself, Stephen, Paul and Gihan from Flexiscale) were giving talks. I talked on two subjects – the LCFG based monitoring system framework I developed last year, and the new account management system I’m currently writing. Slides from both of these talks are available on the DICE publications page, which also has Stephen’s slides from his “An end to hacky scripts” talk about the LCFG system.

Despite gaining a scripting language track, and the addition of a parallel one-day PostgreSQL conference, the event seemed smaller this year, with many of the familiar faces missing. Some unfortunate scheduling meant that switching between tracks wasn’t as easy as it could have been, with 45 minute sessions in one room scheduled against 30 minute sessions in another one. However, the event was still productive, useful and stimulating, with a number of interesting talks – slides and audio from which should hopefully be up on the conference website shortly.

Some highlights were the talk from Mark Gledhill from the BBC on “Feeding the BBC Homepage“, which provided a fascinating insight into perl and Catalyst usage at a large organisation, as well as giving a useful background on their project management techniques, and test and deployment issues. Gavin Henry’s talk on OpenLDAP 2.4 provided a valuable summary of the changes in the latest version of OpenLDAP, as well as giving some examples of practical uses for these new features. Randy Appleton’s “Today’s Software … Is It Really Bloated?” talk took a very humorous tour through a number of code size and performance statistics he and his students have been collecting over the years – a perfect start to the day after the conference dinner!

The Transitive (which I ended up seeing because it was swapped with the talk I wanted to hear – one peril of last minute schedule changes!), and ZFS talks pretty much repeated material I’d heard at other conferences, but the ZFS one, in particular, was a helpful reminder of a system I’d really like to have time to look at in more detail. Whilst I wasn’t specifically interested in the scripting language talks, I did manage to catch “USENET Gems” which provided details of a number of interesting perl quirks, which are now firmly filed as things to watch out for.

Paul and Stephen arranged a well attended LCFG BOF on the Tuesday afternoon, and Paul, Stephen and I took some time to chat on Wednesday about possible designs for the new LCFG compiler. As with all UKUUG conferences, it tends to be these unscheduled events, and impromptu corridor conversations where the real value lies. There was a large amount of interest in prometheus, both from people in the commercial sector who have deployed similar systems, and had insights to share, and those who are interested in similar systems for their own sites. Hopefully we’ll be able to build some kind of a community around this technology.

There was continued interest in OpenAFS and Kerberos, with a number of people asking questions both about the technology, and our deployment experiences. Access to the source code for the monitoring system was also in demand – I really should arrange to publish this somewhere less adhoc.

Theme: Rubric.