DNSSEC Interview on the USENIX Blog

I got lucky enough to be able to interview Alan Clegg, who’s teaching a class on DNSSEC at LISA’10 this year.

It’s one of those up-and-coming technologies that’s going to be here by the time most people realize they need to learn about it. Register for LISA now to get the early-bird special and take advantage of great classes like this (and many, many more!).

I registered, booked my hotel (at the conference HQ hotel, no less!) and got my flight. Sign up and join me!

Facebook and their response to an outage

Yeah yeah, I know, facebook is a waste of time, not worth your consideration, a blight upon the landscape…right. I’m not going to argue your feelings about that. What I will say is that it is an absolutely gigantic, huge, immense, gargantuan infrastructure that has been engineered to death to make sure that it never dies or becomes unavailable. Yesterday, it was down for over two hours.

Depending on your perspective, that’s not a lot of time. Or it’s huge. According to this postmortem report, that’s the biggest downtime issue they’ve had in over four years. That puts them at around 99.98% uptime for the year.

The actual cause of the outage (a complicated master / slave configuration verification system issue) isn’t of concern to me, because I don’t run anything like that, but of more interest is the magnitude of the response (shutting down the entire system), the prevention of future occurrences (disable the faulty system, and engineer a new solution), and the after effects (publicly releasing information as to the cause and response).

I doubt seriously whether the public cares what cause my outages, but I know that my managers and the people they’re responsible to do. Watching the “big boys” and seeing that they respond openly and with candor should be a reminder to us to document our issues, be forthcoming with the people who are impacted, and be open to improving the design of our systems when things don’t work.

LOPSA Mentorship Program Launched!

I deeply believe that by forming social bonds with others strengthens each of us, and empowers us to do more than we can alone. Because of that, I heavily support LOPSA’s new program of mentorship.

The idea behind this program is that to mature into a capable administrator means interacting with and being guided by experienced professionals. Every successful person has had mentors that they’ve relied upon when they were unsure of themselves. Without that support network, it’s difficult to advance and grow into a well-rounded administrator. We need advisors in our lives, and LOPSA is attempting to provide that to the administrators who are otherwise lacking someone to fill that role.

A successful program needs participants, so if you would like to take part and gain a mentor, then check out the page on becoming a protege. You do not need to be a member of LOPSA to be a protege.

If you are an experienced administrator, and you would like to take a more active role in someone’s career, you should consider becoming a mentor. You do need to be a member of LOPSA in order to be a mentor, but with the current discount, it’s only $35, so register now.

Ernest Hemingway and his friend of many years, Ezra Pound

Everyone does need a mentor, so just because you aren’t a rank amateur doesn’t mean you can’t sign up to be a protege. In the same vein, you don’t need to be a master system administrator to show someone the ropes, and everyone has something to share, so if you have the yearning to help people, you should consider becoming a mentor.

The text of the press release is available at http://www.verticalsysadmin.com/lopsa_mentor.txt.