November 2015 LOPSAGram

07 Nov 2015 7:00 AM | Anonymous

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In this memo: 

* President's Corner: Traits of a good System Admin?
* Job Openings
* LOPSA's 10th Anniversary at LISA 2015
* Coming to LISA - Please help at the LOPSA table
* Cascadia IT Conference
* LOPSA-East
* Chapter News
* LOPSA Board Candidates in 2016
* Thank you to our sponsors!
* Comments or suggestions?

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01. President's Corner: Traits of a good System Admin? 

I have been interested for years in what makes a good system admin - both from the viewpoint of trying to pick between candidates as a hiring manager and as an educator/mentor to people interested in entering the field. This is the list of traits that I have come up with. 

1. Adaptable 

The environment that system admins work in is continually changing and at a faster pace each year. Good system admins need to be flexible to adapt to and take advantage of technological changes such as virtualization of servers and networks, configuration management, and the move to the hosted services. System admins have adapted to these changes by creating fewer handcrafted systems and more creating systems programmatically - yes we are becoming programmers. System admins do not know what technology will be in 5 - 10 years, but they do know that it will be very different from today. 

2. Passionate Learner 

Good System admins are very curious about how and why something works - blackboxes are the bane of their existence. System admins get a device and open it up to understand it or they look at the code of the software they are supporting. Sometimes this means a system admin may break systems in order to understand them - preferably on a test bed. System admins do this because in order to fix problems they have to understand how the system works. System admins not afraid to admit and learn from their mistakes so to avoid repeating them. They are open to new ideas and consider all of them (even if just in passing).

3. Helpful 

Good system admins are generous with their time in helping people with their technology problems. System admins are very aware of the limitations of technology and do their best to make it work for people (although there are some problems that cannot be worked around). As change is hard for many people, a good system admin takes time to explain why changes are necessary and the benefits of the changes. 

4. Problem Solver 

Good system admins are compulsive, obsessive problem solvers who take ownership of a problem and work at it until a fix is in place. While system admins prefer to fix things right as they know that 'temporary fixes' tend to become permanent, they can Macgyver up solutions to work around fires in a time crunch. System admins dislike single points of failure as they cause sleepless nights. A good system admin has the belief that they can figure out a fix to any technology problem. 

5. Communicator 

A good system admin can communicate to customers and management the benefits and limitations of technology. It is their job to make recommendations on technology to the organizational decision makers so that good decisions are made. A good system admin shares what they have learned with others to help out the community via mentoring, blogs, presentations, and answering questions in person or online. 

6. Ethical 

System admins often maintain systems that have sensitive data. Their customers depend on the system admin to be discrete and ethical about allowing people to access sensitive data. They maintain confidentially of any data they can access and are careful about allowing others access to the data..

This is my list, what are the traits you feel a good system admin should have? 

02. Job Openings 

These are a few of the recent postings to our sajobs mail list... 

Linux Systems Administrator at the University of Michigan 

Network Analyst - Vancouver, BC 

Junior System Administrator Opening in Atlanta Area 

For details on these jobs please check out the jobs list archives.

03. LOPSA's 10th Anniversary at LISA 2015 

This is LOPSA's 10 Anniversary and we are having a LOPSA After Dark party at LISA 2015 to celebrate on Wednesday night at 8pm. The party is sponsored by Qumulo, and there will be a special business card raffle for an Apple TV.

Stop by or volunteer at our table in the registration area to see the great raffle gifts donated by our supporters.

Come to our annual meeting on Weds night to hear about LOPSA's plans for the next year and enter the raffle. After the meeting come to our party for cake and more. Check out our new website going live during LISA, renew your membership, and ask your friends to join up. It is a new LOPSA for the next 10 years. 

When you attend you will get a Raffle ticket for one of these great prizes:

* Books donated by No Start Press
* A Resilience Cellular Gateway donated by OpenGear
* (4) passes to SCALE 14x donated by SCALE
* A UDI drone donated by Minima
* A 960GB SSD drive donated by IXSystems
* A Lego Deathstar donated by CoverMyMeds and
* (5) Tshirts and (2) SSD drives donated by AC&NC/Jetstor

04. Coming to LISA - Please help at the LOPSA table 

LOPSA can use your help in staffing a table in the registration area again this year at the LISA conference on Tues, Wed, Thur, and Fri morning. If you are at the conference and can spare a bit of your time, this is a great opportunity to meet people, tell them about LOPSA, and talk to the board about LOPSA. The time slots match up with the conference schedule so they are not all the same length of time. We most need help during the 'before the sessions start' and 'break' times (time slots with comments), but can use help at any time. Sign up.

05. Cascadia IT Conference 

_MARCH 11-12, 2016, SEATTLE, WA_ 

We invite you to present a talk or Training at the 2016 LOPSA Cascadia IT Conference in Seattle. 

LOPSA Cascadia is a gathering of professionals from the diverse IT community in the Pacific Northwest and British Columbia. We gather to learn from each other, share ideas, and meet new friends. Whether you are paid to work with computers or just like to experiment with technology, your time is well spent at LOPSA Cascadia. 

The conference includes presentations, invited speakers and keynote talks, as well as Trainings by top-notch experts. We expect attendance of 100-125 people from the IT community, businesses, and academic institutions in and around Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and British Columbia.


Presentations must relate to using and managing computers, information infrastructure, and/or supporting people who use computer infrastructure. This can be anything from describing how to setup an enterprise quality web service infrastructure to how to manage your relationship with your Internet service provider. 

You may submit as many proposals as you like. The conference committee will select proposals which are submitted with full information and those that we think will most benefit the IT community as a whole.

* Description of a problem solved and how you worked through it.
* Demonstration of a specific technology stack and how it works for your
* Show how non-technical skills were to solve technical problems.
* How you developed your career and how others can benefit from your
* Expert tips on how to use an application or tool such as vim, tmux, or


* Sales Presentations
* Vendor Product Demonstrations
* Proposals or Vaporware (Although works in progress are appropriate for lightning talks)


* An author of an open-source package explains the project, the benefits and how it works.
* A system administrator presents about a new technique, software system, or device he or she created.
* Someone with recent experience in particular technology presents "10 things I wish I knew before I started with [name of product]".
* A Windows engineer describes how they manage their fleet of desktops/laptops.
* "How we manage [Linux/Mac OS X/BeOS] in an Active Directory domain."
* "How to Make Wireless Work in a Conference Setting."
* "Incident Command for IT: What We Can Learn from the Fire Department."
* "Deploying your Application to Cloud: Lessons Learned from Five Different Applications."
* "What System Administrators Can Learn From [other industry]."
* "A Few Thoughts on Uptime: Resisting Entropy."


We are actively seeking proposals for talks and Trainings at LOPSA Cascadia. 

* Talks: 45 minute presentation including Q&A.
* Trainings: half-day, 4-hour sessions. ("Full day" Trainings may be submitted as two half-day Trainings without the assumption that they will both be accepted.)
* Lightning Talk signups will be available during the conference.


Everyone is welcome to present! Public speaking experience is not required. Complete the Proposal form.


Talks are a relatively short 45 minute presentations that are designed to inform participants about a specific topic or subject. Presenters will have access to an overhead projector and may not require participants to bring any materials. 


Trainings are half-day deep technical presentations that are designed to teach participants somthing. Presenters will have access to an overhead projector and may require participants to bring laptops, notepads, or other equipment. 


Lightning talks are very short, 5 minute, presentations designed to spark interest or call to action. Lightning talks do not have access to overhead projectors or any other equipment.

Lightning talk registration will be available at the welcome desk during the reception. 


* 15 December - Proposals due
* 1 January - Schedule Published
* 11-12 March - Conference


Please see: more information on LOPSA Cascadia and presenting at this great event. 

If you have any questions, please feel free to email the organizers at: SUBMISSIONS@CASITCONF.ORG 

06. LOPSA-East '16 

The organizers of the LOPSA-East Professional IT Community Conference invite you to submit proposals for presentations at LOPSA-EAST '16. 

LOPSA-EAST '16 aims to bring together IT professionals from all walks of life in the Mid-Atlantic region and beyond to share war stories, learn for each other's experiences, and network with industry peers. The conference includes acclaimed speakers and keynotes, expert-lead training designed to build the skillsets and confidence of attendees, lightning talks, and a "Birds of a Feather" track where attendees propose and host their own topics during the event. 

Attendance for this year's conference is expected to be between 200 and 250 IT professionals from companies large and small, local government, and academia. Our attendees are primarily from the Mid-Atlantic region including New Jersey, New York, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Maryland, Virginia, and Washington DC. As IT professionals we go by many titles but everyone is invited: system administrators, network
administrators, network engineers, Windows, Linux, Unix, DBAs, security professionals, technical managers, and beyond. 


This year's conference is going to be focused on developing scalable infrastructures through industry best practices, the implementation of cutting edge technologies, a deeper level understanding of the core concepts that enable our work, and ensuring continued operational efficiencies. LOPSA-EAST is OS-agnostic and welcomes presentations on any operating systems whether it be Windows, Linux, Unix, etc. 

All presentations should be focused on issues important to our technical community and speakers should assume that members of the audience have at least some industry experience. 

Potential Presentation Topic Ideas 

* Cloud Management (public and private)
* Virtualization Strategies
* Backup Strategies and Solutions
* Security Principles and Best Practices
* Configuration Management
* Deep Dive into Technologies Core to our Industry
* Scripting Techniques
* Enterprise Monitoring and Management
* Email Architecture and Implementation
* Technical Leadership
* Network Design
* Log Aggregation
* Engineering Concepts - Thinking like an Engineer
* VoIP Solutions
* Collaboration Techniques
* Designing Highly Available Infrastructures
* Centralized Management Systems

The following will NOT be accepted: 

* Sales presentations
* Proposals or vaporware
* Vendor product demonstrations

Previously Accepted Presentations 

* 2014
* 2013
* 2012
* 2011
* 2010


We are actively seeking proposals for presentations at LOPSA-EAST '16. We have openings for: 

* Talks: A 20-minute presentation (with slides) followed by ten minutes of Q&A
* Tutorials: Instructor-led sessions, half a day in length, with slides and notes (both distributed electronically to all attendees)
* Panels: 45-minute panel discussion (2 - 5 panelists plus a moderator)
* Lightning Talks: A 5-minute talk (hard limit!) with no Q&A in a shared session


Submissions and questions should be sent to: 

Tutorial instructors will receive one free admission, travel expenses, and an honorarium; speakers (for talks), panelists, and panel moderators will receive a registration discount. Lightning Talk presenters receive no discount. 

Each presentation is only entitled to a single discount so if there are multiple presenters you will need to determine how you'd like to split this. 


* Deadline for all Submissions - January 13, 2016
* Decisions and Notifications to All Submitters - January 27, 2016
* Schedule Published - February 1, 2016
* Registration Opens - February 15, 2016
* LOPSA-East '16 Conference - May 6 -7, 2016


Please see our website at for more information on LOPSA-East '16. If you still have additional questions, we can be reached via 

07. Chapter News 


The November meeting of SASAG will be one week later than normal on Thursday November 19th as many of us will be at LISA. The topic will be "LISA Wrap up" - be sure and take good notes, notice highlights and trends to talk about. 


Come for #sysadmin RamenOps social dinner in Burbank on Tuesday night, Nov 17th.

08. LOPSA Board Candidates in 2016 

Our next election is coming up in Spring 2016. 

Meanwhile, the Leadership Committee is looking for volunteers and candidate nominations. The Leadership Committee is the guiding organization for the board. We nominate board candidates and provide coaching to the board as a neutral third party. 

Do you have an opinion on the direction of the organization and are ready to execute? Is another member demonstrating great leadership for the organization? Nominate yourself or your fellow member! If all else fails, step up and help the Leadership Committee. Reach out to use at

09. Thank you to our sponsors! 

We'd like to thank our sponsors. We're deeply grateful for their continuing support of LOPSA. More information on how to become a sponsor.

Thanks to our individual sponsors:
Platinum: Jennine Townsend, Dan Rich 
Gold: Ski Kacoroski
Silver: Matt Disney, Lee Damon, Scott Murphy, Ian Viemeister
Bronze: Gary Studwell

Bronze Sponsor Edgestream Partners is a small group of scientists and engineers with a
unique approach to trading in the financial markets. Our company designs, builds and runs a global trading software platform. We take pride in our software craftsmanship and use Python, Cython and C on Linux to run our global trading operations. We also use open-source tools as much as possible - Python, PostgreSQL, numpy, git, Cobbler, Puppet and Ansible are all crucial to our business. 

Bronze Sponsor O'Reilly Media spreads the knowledge of innovators through its books, online services, magazines, and conferences. Since 1978, O'Reilly Media has been a chronicler and catalyst of cutting-edge development, homing in on the technology trends that really matter and spurring their adoption by amplifying "faint signals" from the alpha geeks who are creating the future. An active participant in the technology community, the company has a long history of advocacy, meme-making, and evangelism. Check them out.

LOPSA's website is hosted by ServerBeach.

10. Comments or suggestions?
As we close out this month's LOPSAgram, we want to make sure we're giving you the information you want or need. If you have any comments or suggestions, please feel free to send them to 

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