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UKUUG Spring 2011 Conference

22-24 March 2011 in Leeds

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Provisional Tutorial and Conference Programme

Tuesday 22 March

Tutorial: Haskell – Edwin Brady (University of St Andrews).

Wednesday 23 March & Thursday 24 March

IXLeeds – Putting Leeds on the ‘Internet Map’ (Dr Adam Beaumont)

Abstract: IXLeeds is a new peering point operated as a not-for-profit entity. Peering is the mechanism by which ISP’s increase quality and decrease costs of interconnection with each other. Most peering points are owned by their members and their very existence is a result of dedicated collaboration between a number of telecommunications operators and ISP’s – no small task in itself.

Before IXLeeds, all Leeds internet services could only be dependant on peering and routing in other cities such as Manchester or London. The new opportunities for peering in Leeds, along with an explanation of the benefits from a customer experience and also regional perspective will be highlighted.

Bio: Both a scientist and an electrical engineer, Adam started his career with a PhD in Physical Chemistry and a 3 year stint as Leeds University’s youngest lecturer, before moving into Secure Mobile Communications for the DERA. In 1998 Adam formed aql, offering domain registration services prior to the domain “boom”. He is a consistent innovator, providing one of the first API accessible mobile messaging platforms and more recently, the first wifi mobile voip service and in 2007, the UK’s main landline messaging hub. During his journey, he’s built datacentres, national networks, acquired 3 companies and has a prolific involvement in technology startups – His current involvements are a WiFi innovation company, a GSM engineering company, a digital rights management platform, a cafe-bar and a whitelabel wholesale telecommunications operator. He continues to ensure that aql stays at the forefront of UK communications technology.

Perl and PHP, sitting in a tree (Matt S Trout)

England and America have previously been called “two countries divided by a common language”.

England and America have previously been called “two countries divided by a common language”.

However, I’m convinced that beneath the veneer of visceral hatred lie more similarities than differences – we’ve both struggled to come to maturity with a language and toolkit still being blamed for the mistakes of the past, we’ve both experienced the result of lots of new people writing lots of code quickly on a language’s reputation for quality, and we both have a culture of getting things done.

So, in the name of peace, harmony, and getting somebody else to write the HTML, I shall present a cornucopia of interoperability possibilities – perl calling PHP, PHP calling perl, from simple command line communication through to C-based VM bindings and layered web service based architectures.

By the end of this talk, I hope audience members from both languages will be convinced to appropriate code from the other side of the divide – and have a solid understanding of how they might go about it and why a particular choice will work best for their situation.

Automating Complex Services (Kris Buytaert)

Abstract:This talk will bring you the story of automating a SipFoundry based voip (sipx) infrastructure with puppet, a popular configuration management framework. After a gentle introduction into using the world of Puppet, this talk will also tell you how we used both existing and fresh puppet modules to configure as much as possible, before running into the dreaded “manual intervention needed” problem.

After having automated the deployment of numerous servers and applications there’s always that one app / device popping up which doesn’t want to part of the group, always that one application that needs "some manual intervention". Different approaches on how this problem can be solved will be discussed.

The benefit of BGP for every service provider (Thomas Mangin)

Abstract: Most system administrators should maximise what they get out of their network. This talk will present how administrators can use BGP (the Border Gateway Protocol), specifically with exabgp, to improve their services resilience to faults and protect their machines from DOS attacks.

Bio: Thomas Mangin is Technical Director and co-founder of Exa Networks, a Bradford based ISP. He currently serves as well as an non-executive director at LINX, the London Internet Exchange. When not working, he enjoys speaking about technology and/or Jiu Jitsu around a beer.

Petabyte scale storage with ceph (John Leach)

Abstract: Ceph is an LGPL licensed POSIX compliant fault tolerant distributed file system with no single point of failure that scales to petabytes of storage.

This talk will explain how Ceph is designed: the object-based storage system (RADOS), the use of the Paxos algorithm for integrity guarantees, “CRUSH” maps for independent client-side data placement decisions and more.

Bio: John Leach is co-founder of Brightbox, a Leeds-based Ruby on Rails hosting and IaaS platform provider. He’s been a professional systems engineer for about 10 years and has most recently been nerding out with lots of replicated storage systems. He’s tall, has a big nose and speaks too much.

High Availability with Pacemaker (Kris Buytaert)

Abstract: If you are lucky, One day your infrastructure will become so critical you can’t afford a server to be down. Lots of people use Linux as the backend for their core infrastructure. This session will introduce you to the different methods of making Linux High Available as well as the pitfalls in those methods.

We’ll dig a bit deeper into Pacemaker, its long history and its friends and show you how to set up a basic clusters based on some real life examples.

All this so you can go back home and surprise your boss with a some new features for your infrastructure.

Bio: Kris Buytaert is a long time Linux and Open Source Consultant doing Linux and Open Source projects in Belgium, Europe and the rest of the universe. He is currently working for Inuits.

Kris is the Co-Author of Virtualization with Xen, used to be the maintainer of the openMosix HOWTO and author of different technical publications. He is frequently speaking at, or organizing different international conferences.

He spends most of his time working on Linux Clustering (both High Availability, Scalability and HPC), Virtualisation and Large Infrastructure Management projects hence trying to build infrastructures that can survive the 10th floor test, better known today as the cloud while actively promoting the devops idea!

His blog titled “Everything is a Freaking DNS Problem” can be found at Occasionally he also writes for and O’Reilly GMT.

How to live with SELinux (Toshaan Bharvani)

Abstract: Security Enhanced Linux, is disabled in most cases due to fact that most people do not take the time to understand how to work with SELinux. However security increases, by keeping SELinux on, as all applications are segregated therefor even if a intruder were to enter it would only affect that application. In RHEL, CentOS or Fedora most applications are predefined in SELinux and can be adjusted, however other applications can be added easily with the integrated tools, allowing you to run any custom application. The presentation explains what SELinux is, how it works, how to implement the predefined policies and how to create custom policies.

Bio: Toshaan Bharvani is a IT consultant, currently self-employed at VanTosh, with a interest in Open Source Software and IT Hardware. He started his IT interest at the age of 5, when his father gave him his first own PC components. Ever since he has been interested in IT hardware and IT software. In business, he tends to combine higher level applications with lower level systems. Toshaan has been involved for some time now in some open source projects and communities.

IPv6 update from a broadband ISP (Adrian Kennard)

Abstract: "An update on progress providing IPv6 to the end user and SME from an ISP’s point of view – technical challenges and solutions"

Andrews & Arnold Ltd (AAISP) have been providing IPv6 for nearly 9 years, but only now are people actually starting to use it properly in their offices. How is this working? What is not working? What are equipment vendors doing and what do they need to do?

Bio: Adrian Kennard is director of Andrews & Arnold Ltd, and also of FireBrick Ltd who make IPv6 capable firewall/routers. Adrian has been involved in the low level coding of IPv6 stacks and BGP routers.

Eiffel and the Multi-core challenge (Howard Thomson)

Abstract: The Eiffel community appreciates the clarity of expression and available levels of correctness checking in conventional, single threaded programming. The challenge I will talk about is that of extending Eiffel’s concepts of assertions on correctness to parallel multi-threaded programs

Bio: From being the Post-Graduate System Manager of a Unix V6 system at Westfield College London in the 1970s, including much kernel hacking and tweaking, through Unix and C code development and maintenance in a small business environment, to my current Free Software efforts, I have always preferred a Unix based development process. I am currently developing my own Eiffel IDE, and contributing to the Bacula backup project.

FusionInventory and GLPI (Fabrice Flore-Thebault)

Abstract: FusionInventory is a set of tools to inventory assets on a network. Data is collected by an agent written in perl for the agent part, and then sentto a server written in PHP. With these tools you can get an inventory of hardware and software, either locally or remotely with SNMP. The same agent is running on all major OSes from Linux to commercial unices, through Windows.

GLPI is an asset management tool, written in PHP, and it’s goal is to have some persistance of the inventory data. With GLPI you can follow the full lifecycle of your assets.

Both projects have a french core of participants, and are now engaged in a process of internationalisation of the team. They are widely used in France, in administrations and small to big companies, and also wordwide.

Bio: Fabrice is a sysadmin in the free software community. He is part of both projects, where the most of my activities are in the documentation team. He lives also as an opensource consultant at, the walloon branch of, a belgian company specialized in opensource infrastructure.

Using pacemaker (Owen Le Blanc)

Abstract: Pacemaker is a product created as a cluster resource manager as part of the Linux High Availability project. The software replaces and extends the old heartbeat software, adding new features and the ability to manage larger and more complex clusters, including the ability to define your own failover criteria. For some time it has been connected with the DRBD project, but it is an independent utility with other functions.

We have been using heartbeat in Manchester for many years, long before version 1 was released, and we have been replacing it with pacemaker over the last year. The software is of high quality, but rather complicated to come to grips with, and the documentation is not always as helpful as it should be. In many cases, the ideal infrastructure for pacemaker just doesn’t exist.

Bio: Owen Le Blanc is a system administrator at the University of Manchester, who has been involved with Linux since late 1991. He has been using the AFS network file system, Xen virtualisation, and the Linux Virtual Server load balancer to create highly available systems for more than 12 years.

Large Scale file storage with MogileFS (Stuart Teasdale)

Abstract: We7 stores files, lots and lots of files that are typically up to 10MB in size. One approach would be to build a huge SAN and hope it never fails, but instead we use Mogilefs, a distributed ‘Filesystem’ that uses DAV to give you access to your files across large numbers of machines. In this talk I will cover setting up and using MogileFS, and how we actually use it to help deliver music to the masses.

Bio: Stuart is Lead Systems Administrator at, an Oxford-based music streaming website and has been looking after Linux and Unix systems for the last decade or so. He’s also a Debian Developer and general F/OSS tinkerer.

Introduction to Git (Simon Wilkinson)

Abstract: A 90 minute introduction to the Git version control system, including examples of how to integrate with external tools for managing the process across large distributed teams.

Bio: Simon has presented at a number of UKUUG conferences, in particular on Kerberos, OpenAFS, and identity management issues. He designed, and implemented OpenAFS’s new development infrastructure, including performing their conversion from CVS to git, and developed the integration tools that tie their environment together. Simon is a Systems Architecture Specialist for the School of Informatics at the University of Edinburgh, who kindly allow him to work on a variety of open source projects.

OpenStack: Towards a fully open cloud (Thierry Carrez)

Abstract: Openstack is an innovative open source project, backed by Rackspace Hosting and NASA, openly building a massively-scalable and reliable cloud computing platform.

The first part of this talk will quickly explain what cloud computing means and why a fully open cloud stack is necessary for a non-locked-in cloud experience. We’ll then focus on the Openstack project goals, its developer community, its open design and release processes, and the developer tools it chose.

The second part of the talk will go into more details into the different technical components of Openstack, Nova (compute) and Swift (storage). This will be followed by an extensive Q&A; session to give the audience a chance to clear any remaining dark area.

Bio: Thierry Carrez is the Release Manager for the Openstack project and is employed by Rackspace Hosting. An Ubuntu Core developer and Debian maintainer, he was previously the Technical lead for Ubuntu Server edition, and an operational manager for the Gentoo Security Team. In a parallel life, he used to be an IT Manager for small and large companies. He is working home-based from a small village in the center of France, where he lives with his wife and two daughters.

Managing distributed web services with OpenNMS (Dr. Craig Gallen)

Abstract: OpenNMS is an entirely open source enterprise grade management platform written in Java. Recently the project was were asked to provide a solution for simultaneously monitoring web based services from multiple remote locations. The solution we came up with has provided the basis for widely distributed monitoring of the availability of cloud hosted services. The remote poller is a light weight application which can be downloaded to a desktop browser or run in a remote osgi container – potentially in a mobile device. It allows measurements to be performed on service availability as experienced by the end users. In this talk we will consider the architecture and future directions for this solution.

Scale out Datacenter Architecture (Bernd Erk)

Abstract: When we speak of modern IT infrastructure changes, those made to capacity and usage present some of the greatest challenges. Often systems have to be adjusted to new load requirements at short intervals, and those responsible face many components, complex relationships and demands. This talk will deal with precisely these issues and concerns in detail. Taking all involved system levels into account, best practices and strategies will be suggested for the prevention and elimination of bottlenecks. An overview of the current solutions and strategies at the network, application framework and database level will be presented in detail. Pros and cons of each solution will be covered in evaluating their potential in the modern data center.

Bio: Bernd Erk, Head of Operations, has overseen the Managed Services, Consulting and Development business areas at NETWAYS since 2007. Ensuring the success and smooth operation of all customer projects and business processes, Bernd’s technical expertise stretches across Systems Management, Managed Services and Software Development. A contributor to Linux Magazine and Linux Technical Review in Germany, Bernd regularly publishes articles and presents on open source topics ranging across Nagios monitoring, XEN virtualization, MySQL database monitoring and performance tuning among others. Bernd was previously Operating Systems Specialist at Quelle Schickedanz AG & Co., where he worked heavily with Solaris, HPUX and Oracle databases. After which, Bernd spent 8 years as Business Unit Manager at Ise-Informatik where he dealt with Oracle databases and service oriented architectures.

A bird’s-eye view on DNSSEC (Jan-Piet Mens)

Abstract: It’s inconceivable you don’t know what DNS is, but do you know what DNSSEC is? As a UNIX/Linux admin you’d better. DNSSEC signs DNS replies and gives users a warm fuzzy feeling that all is well, but is it really? What is DNSSEC, and what problems does it solve? What is signing, which components are involved, what can go wrong? How do you detect that DNSSEC is working, and what can an experienced user do to prove it isn’t? Good questions, which we’ll attempt to answer in this talk.

Bio: Jan-Piet is the author of Alternative DNS Servers, a 700+ page book discussing choice and deployment, and optional SQL/LDAP Back-Ends in sundry Open Source DNS servers, and he has authored different technical publications.

DNSSEC zone-signing tool chest (Jan-Piet Mens)

Abstract: DNSSEC key-management and zone-signing can be, but must not be, a pain. In forty-five minutes we give you an overview of utilities you can use to create keys and sign zones. Whether you prefer seeing rather than believing or want everything to be as automatic as possible, one of these tools will satisfy your signing needs. We’ll discuss BIND’s utilities, BIND’s auto-signing, DNSSEC-tools, Zone Key Tool (ZKT), OpenDNSSEC, and PowerDNSSEC.

Bio: Jan-Piet is the author of Alternative DNS Servers, a 700+ page book discussing choice and deployment, and optional SQL/LDAP Back-Ends in sundry Open Source DNS servers, and he has authored different technical publications.

PostgreSQL: New features for Large Systems Administration (Simon Riggs)

Abstract: Talk about the new features in PostgreSQL 9.0 and 9.1 to improve the administration of large databases. Covers replication, administration, performance and usability features.

Bio: Simon is a Major Developer on the PostgreSQL Project and the CTO of 2ndQuadrant. Simon has 20+ years large systems database experience. Simon is the co-author of “PostgreSQL Administration Cookbook”, available from Packt Publishing.

Digital Forensics in Large Scale Environments (Si Biles)

Abstract: With ever greater storage capacities and the wide scale use of distributed storage and compute resources the digital detective has been left at a bit of a problem. The traditional methods of dealing with standalone machines just aren’t scaling, and, coupled with the often ephemeral nature of virtual machines, clouds and the like, are completely ineffectual. This talk will discuss these issues, the current approaches and some potential tactics that can be applied in order to maintain a forensically sound process in such complex environments.

Bio: Si Biles is the Director and Lead Consultant of Thinking Security, an Information Security and Governance Consultancy. He has authored or co- authored a number of books and articles on various information security and forensics topics, and is a regular columnist on Forensic Focus.

The Future of Configuration Management — Latest developments from Cfengine (Mark Burgess)

Abstract: In 2008, Cfengine author Mark Burgess performed a major rewrite of the pioneering configuration management software Cfengine, following 5 years of research, and formed a company to support it. Today, with a 17 year history, Cfengine is still the most capable configuration management software available, competing both with the major vendors and other open source derivatives. Mark Burgess answers: how successful have we been at configuration management, and what are the challenges that remain to be solved today?

Bio: Mark Burgess is professor of Network and System Administration at Oslo University College, and the principal author of the Cfengine software, as well as CTO and founder of the Cfengine company. His the author of numerous books and papers on topics from physics, Network and System Administration, to fiction.

Snakes, Gems, Butlers, Shoes, Vegetables and Hamsters – Moving from trying to managing change to practical Change Management (Matthew Macdonald-Wallace)

Abstract: This talk is about how an organisation can move from a scenario of “build checklists” and conversations which start “Have you changed anything on server (x)? Because I’m seeing…” to automated system builds, testing configurations thoroughly and implementing Change Management.

The talk is based upon a real-life scenario and the sucesses, failures and pitfalls that were encountered along the way whilst we went through this process and moved from bash-scripts, SSH and people’s memories to Puppet, Cobbler, Python, Anaconda and Hudson coupled with Cucumber for testing and Git for change management.

The talk will also cover The Edison Project and why we decided to create a new solution to try and link all these tools together.

Bio: Matthew Macdonald-Wallace (@proffalken) is a Product Engineer at Namesco Limited – a large hosting provider based in the West Midlands.

Matthew has a passion for finding silly names for projects and ensuring that as many people as possible can access the relevant tools to do their jobs. He keeps dabbling in different programming languages (including Ruby and Python) and has experience with most flavours of Linux.

Matthew has also provided advice and guidance to CEOP (the Child Exploitation and Online Protection unit) as well as playing an active role in many open-source communities.

Matthew has never delivered a speech like this before, so please be gentle with him…

Unbound as a caching validating DNSSEC resolver (Jan-Piet Mens)

Abstract: You’ve heard of DNSSEC and want to install a validating DNSSEC caching server on your workstation to experience DNSSEC? We suggest you use Unbound — a validating, recursive, and caching DNS resolver with some tricks up its sleeve.We’ll show you how to configure Unbound to use it as a caching server on yourworkstation (yes, Windows also), ensure DNSSEC-validation is being performed, add DLV and tweak it to serve you some local DNS data.

Bio: Jan-Piet is the author of Alternative DNS Servers, a 700+ page book discussing choice and deployment, and optional SQL/LDAP Back-Ends in sundry Open Source DNS servers, and he has authored different technical publications.

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