Archive for category Community

LOPSA San Diego – Tonight

LOPSA San Diego Meeting

Thursday Feb 28 2013

6pm until whenever

Callahan’s Pub in Mira Mesa

This will be a social, meet and greet meeting.  Come and meet some of the fine sysadmins in the San Diego area. Come out and meet your peers, network, talk shop, grab a bite and/or a beer and celebrate all things syasdmin.

LOPSA is an international professional society for IT people of all job descriptions.

If you’re planning to attend, please RSVP at Meetup.com so we can get a headcount ahead of time. Of course, if you can only make it at the last minute, you’re very welcome too! (We understand the life of a sysadmin!)

Our members manage everything from desktops to servers, storage to networks, laptops to supercomputers. Come out and get connected to the rich sysadmin community in San Diego!

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LOPSA San Diego – Tomorrow

LOPSA San Diego Meeting

Thursday Feb 28 2013

6pm until whenever

Callahan’s Pub in Mira Mesa

This will be a social, meet and greet meeting.  Come and meet some of the fine sysadmins in the San Diego area. Come out and meet your peers, network, talk shop, grab a bite and/or a beer and celebrate all things syasdmin.

LOPSA is an international professional society for IT people of all job descriptions.

If you’re planning to attend, please RSVP at Meetup.com so we can get a headcount ahead of time. Of course, if you can only make it at the last minute, you’re very welcome too! (We understand the life of a sysadmin!)

Our members manage everything from desktops to servers, storage to networks, laptops to supercomputers. Come out and get connected to the rich sysadmin community in San Diego!

Leave a comment

LOPSA San Diego Meeting – Feb 28

LOPSA San Diego Meeting

Thursday Feb 28 2013

6pm until whenever

Callahan’s Pub in Mira Mesa

This will be a social, meet and greet meeting.  Come and meet some of the fine sysadmins in the San Diego area. Come out and meet your peers, network, talk shop, grab a bite and/or a beer and celebrate all things syasdmin.

LOPSA is an international professional society for IT people of all job descriptions.

If you’re planning to attend, please RSVP at Meetup.com so we can get a headcount ahead of time. Of course, if you can only make it at the last minute, you’re very welcome too! (We understand the life of a sysadmin!)

Our members manage everything from desktops to servers, storage to networks, laptops to supercomputers. Come out and get connected to the rich sysadmin community in San Diego!

Leave a comment

LOPSA San Diego – first meeting

LOPSA San Diego is getting underway with a Meetup next week:

Thursday Jan 24 2013

6pm until whenever

Callahan’s Pub in Mira Mesa

This will be a social, meet and greet meeting.  No presentations at this one, but come out and meet some of the fine sysadmins in the San Diego area. Come out and meet your peers, network, talk shop, commiserate and celebrate all things syasdmin.

LOPSA is an international professional society for IT people of all job descriptions.

If you’re planning to attend, please RSVP at Meetup.com so we can get a headcount ahead of time. Of course, if you can only make it at the last minute, you’re very welcome too! (We understand the life of a sysadmin!)

Our members manage everything from desktops to servers, storage to networks, laptops to supercomputers. Come out and get connected to the rich sysadmin community in San Diego!

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It was 30 years ago today….

… that I logged into a UNIX system for the first time. It was also three days after the ARPANET transitioned to TCP/IP, and my first day at a new job.

The place was Logicon, in San Diego. The system was Programmers Work Bench (PWB) UNIX on a DEC PDP-11/70. The system was in single user mode, since the root filesystem was corrupt and the senior programmers who might have been able to help had quit during the month before. I think that the last one was out of the country for the next 3 weeks. And, my new (completely non-technical) boss had actually been hired after I was; but he was starting at Logicon the same day. It was an interesting beginning to my new job.

I spent that first week at my new job learning enough UNIX to figure out the icheck, dcheck and ncheck commands to repair the filesystem. I eventually got the root filesystem fixed, was able to create an account for myself and bring the system back up into multi-user mode. File systems were much simpler then. So simple in fact that I later learned to use the ed editor to repair (or just change) filenames by editing the directory files.

As soon as the PWB system came back up, I learned that we were now “off net” as the ARPANET had transitioned from NCP to TCP/IP on the 1st of January, and there was no one to port and debug the needed TCP/IP stack for our system. We needed that connection to communicate with our government customer, deliver software and work on our contract for the US Navy.

Fortunately, Logicon re-hired one of the senior programmers; he spent January and part of February working on the TCP/IP code to get us back on the ARPANET. We shared an IMP with the Naval Ocean Systems Center (NOSC, now part of SPAWAR) and UCSD. I met two long-time friends, Ron (@NOSC) and Brian (@UCSD) through our ARPANET connection, and we still keep in touch.

I always remember “ARPANET flag day“, because that’s when I got my start with UNIX and the ARPANET. That led to work on the Internet, HPC, and computer security.

Strangely enough, part of my current job is to work on a transition to IPv6. I have now had direct experience with IPv4, IPv5 and IPv6.

I owe a large debt  to all the people I’ve worked with and the USENIX (and later LOPSA) community of friends. You’ve all been wonderfully helpful, often insightful, and always friendly. Thank you all.

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An interview with Owen DeLong, IPv6 Evangelist, Hurricane Electric

This is an email interview with Owen DeLong , the “IPv6 Evangelist” for Hurricane Electric, one of the largest  ISPs in the world.  They are also operators of tunnelbroker.net, one of the largest IPv6 tunnel providers in the world.

Owen has been in the industry in many roles, including work at Sun, Exodus Communications and TellMe. In addition to his “day job”, he’s also on the advisory council for ARIN, teaches SCUBA, and makes lots of contributions to network-related mailing lists. He’s also one of the very few people I know who has an AS number for his home net!

We’ve been wanting to do this interview for quite a while, but things have been rather busy the past year. When I ran into Owen (again) at LISA in San Diego a few weeks back, we talked about IPv6 and this interview.  Owen was kind enough to work on this with me over the holiday.

Owen, you’ve been an “IPv6 Evanagelist” for Hurricane Electric for a while now.  How did you become the IPv6 Evangelist? What does that entail, and what did you do before IPv6 needed an evangelist?

I’ve been various forms of Systems Administrator, Network Engineer, Backbone Engineer, Senior Backbone Engineer, Network Architect and even Operations Manager over the years. When my last startup was on the verge of imploding, I mentioned to someone at HE who does similar work that I was interested in doing something similar. We talked extensively in Manila (APNIC conference) and the rest as they say, is history.

Can you tell me a little about Hurricane Electric?

We are actually one of the largest backbone network providers in the world. We are the number 1 most peered IPv6 network and the number 3 most peered IPv4 network according to CAIDA. We operate multiple 10-Gig backbones throughout North America, Europe, and Asia.

We’ve run into each other at several conferences such as Game Developer and LISA. What other conferences do you attend, and what’s the feedback from people about IPv6?

I try to attend (and speak at) a wide variety of events and conferences. I usually speak at at least one ION event, I’ve also spoken at Astricon, Pubcon, Future of Web Applications, various NOGs (Network Operators Groups) such as NANOG. I’ve spoken to a variety of Linux, Unix, an Open Source groups such as BALUG, NLUUG, etc. I’ve spoken to Cisco and Juniper user’s groups and more. I also speak at many of the IPv6 oriented conferences such as the North American IPv6 summit, the Texas IPv6 summit, etc.

Most of the audiences I speak to are pretty receptive. Certainly there is more and more interest and less and less skepticism over the last 3 years.

IPv6 has been a standard now for almost 18 years (if you use RFC 1883 as the reference).  Why has adoption been so slow?

Because we made the mistake of introducing NAT and people are busy.  A network not perceived as broken tends to limp along with whatever level of brokenness it has come to accept until perturbed by an additional factor such as CGN, address exhaustion, or other external pressures like the continued ability to reach destinations in Asia.

So far, IPv4 runout hasn’t really exerted those pressures to any great extent on anyone yet, but at least people are starting to see that it is coming and IPv6 adoption is starting to accelerate quite a bit now.

According to Google, IPv6 was around 0.25% of internet traffic at the beginning of 2010 and 2011. The biggest difference between the two being that at the beginning of 2010, it was about 60% 6to4/Teredo and at the beginning of 2011 it was about 80% native, but the overall growth was pretty flat. By the end of 2011, it was 0.4% and almost entirely native with 6to4 and Teredo almost unmeasurable. As we approach the end of 2012, we’re seeing more than 1.1% with 6to4 and Teredo almost eliminated.

At first blush, those seem like pretty low numbers. However, 1% of internet traffic today is a lot more than 100% of internet traffic when IPv4 was 18 years old.  Also, consider in 2011, that’s a 100% growth rate and in 2012, it’s approximately 175% growth, so not only is adoption growing, but the rate of adoption is accelerating quite rapidly.

If the curve continues to ramp towards vertical, we might see more than 5% by the end of next year and more than 20% by the end of 2014. That’s without factoring in the additional pressures from actually running out of IPv4 addresses at the service providers and the fact that ARIN will be basically out of address space most likely in the middle of next year.

On the technical side, what’s the biggest impediment to implementation?  Is that the same for ISPs, Enterprises and end users, or do they all face different challenges?

No, they each face unique challenges.

For the end user, it’s the lack of IPv6 support in consumer products. There’s a host of products that lack IPv6 support today which is severely impacting consumers. These include familiar household names like Playstation, TiVO, Yamaha, Samsung, LG, and all of the Matsushita brands (JVC, Technics, Pioneer) and more. In fact, I don’t know of a single CE manufacturer that has embraced IPv6 in their products yet. IMHO, this is inexcusable.

None of these vendors have yet seen fit to deploy IPv6 at the consumer level in their products and this is becoming a major impediment.

To look at ISPs, we really need to divide them into two principal categories… The B2B and/or Backbone-oriented ISP, such as Hurricane Electric, where there really are very few remaining technical impediments and the few remaining impediments are primarily related to educating executive management.

The other category is what I will call the last-mile ISP. The providers that serve SOHO, Residential, and Small Business customers and perhaps some medium sized businesses as well. These ISPs are still facing shortcomings in CPE and in their provisioning, management, and deployment systems. Many DSLAMs and BRAS units have limited or no IPv6 capability. Several of the CMTS vendors still have show-stopping bugs to work out (This means you, brand C and others).

For the enterprise, there are a few technical impediments, but these can mostly be addressed by current technologies. The larger hurdles in business really are the education of executive management and communicating to the enterprise that this isn’t just a networking issue.

How about on the Business side?

I think this is easier to answer. Across the board for all of those organizations, the number one business challenge is educating executive management to the point that they understand this to be a critical organization-wide issue that must be addressed starting now (if they haven’t started already).

Any organization considering IPv6 seriously needs to understand that this is an organization-wide issue and that it touches EVERY group within the organization. Systems administrators need to be involved because this will touch every application, every system, every server, and will impact how they do their jobs on a daily basis. The help desk needs to get involved because this will represent some pretty major changes in their troubleshooting scripts and will also require them to understand more about how things operate in a dual-stack environment. Application developers, maintainers, administrators, etc. are involved because any application that communicates via the network needs to be examined and tested against a dual-stack and eventually an IPv6 only environment. The mail room has to expect that there’s going to be a lot of logistical support required for getting all of these equipment updates to the right locations at the right times. Management at all levels needs to recognize the need to make this an organization-wide priority and address it in an orderly fashion before it becomes an outright emergency.

Lots of networks seem to be taking a dual-stack approach and adding IPv6 to their existing IPv4 network.  What do you think of this approach?

I think it’s the only feasible approach for the time being. We’ll reach a point where we have to turn off IPv4 and move forward to IPv6 single-stack and that’s a good thing. It should always be the end goal. However, just as we didn’t turn off Novell the day we turned on IP in that great migration of the enterprise, we’re not going to be able to turn off IPv4 and turn on IPv6 overnight. We’re going to have to live with both for some time to come.

For people that want to learn more about IPv6, or even implement it on their home networks, where should they start?

I highly recommend our on-line training available at http://tunnelbroker.net. It’s pretty easy to get through, but it does require you to not only learn about IPv6, but to demonstrate that you can actually make things work with IPv6 in order to obtain the higher certification levels.

You’ve mentioned in the past that there are new IPv6-only customers coming online in areas where the IPv4 space is already depleted. How many people are we talking about and where are they? How many potential customers could a company “miss” by delaying an IPv6 roll out?

Well, there are currently a little more than 2.5 billion people on the internet. There are more than 6.8 billion people on earth. So, over time, I expect we’ll see most of the remaining 4.3+ billion people (and growing) connecting on IPv6 and unable to get IPv4 addresses. Immediately, it’s relatively small numbers, probably a few thousand her and there. However, that number can only continue to grow as time progresses.

One of the biggest complaints we all hear is that there’s no “killer app” and “no ROI” for implementing IPv6. What risks (if any) are companies taking by delaying IPv6 adoption?

If it isn’t clear from what I’ve said above, I’ll put it this way. The IPv4 internet cannot keep growing much larger than it currently is. The IPv6 internet will, on the other hand, continue to grow and for a while, that growth will continue to accelerate. As a result, it won’t be very many years before the fraction of the internet that is reachable via IPv4 is much smaller than that portion which is reachable via IPv6. If your business depends on being connected to the whole internet, then, that’s the killer app. for IPv6. If you’re willing to live with only being connected to the part of the internet that exists today, then you may have a few years before you have to worry about that shrinking, but, I suspect it’s not as many years as a lot of people will claim.

You speak as if IPv6 is urgent even though we haven’t actually run out of IPv4 addresses yet. Why is that?

The deployment of IPv6 is no small undertaking. In fact, the effort required in most organizations, especially enterprises will be on par with the Y2K process. However, because unlike Y2K, IPv4 does not come with a certain deadline, it has been much harder to get  management to focus proper attention on the issue.

Just like Y2K, if we had waited until Dec. 30, 1999 to begin our preparations, we would have had a number of serious problems.  Instead, most organizations had multi-stakeholder task forces assigned to Y2K more than 5 years in advance. Depending on how you measure IPv4 runout, we’re somewhere between already there and less than 2 years away, so it’s already too late to start 5 years in advance. The good news is that a lot of the necessary vendor work has already been in progress. The bad news is that there’s still a whole lot of organizational work and vendor work that hasn’t yet begun.

At the very least, it’s quite urgent for each organization to go through an IPv6 gap analysis (an analysis of what portions of the infrastructure are not yet ready for IPv6 to be deployed and what is required to correct those limitations) as soon as possible. Until that process is completed, an organization has no idea even how long it will take to prepare for IPv6 or what it will cost. This close to runout, the lack of that information is a major risk to any organization which depends on the internet for its operations.

Owen, thanks for all the great IPv6 info! We’ll have to stay in touch, especially this year, as we see more IPv6 rollouts and everyone gets more operational experience.

That wraps up the interview with Owen. Stay up to date with IPv6 news and deployment strategies at:

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Speaking as if you are being translated can help your native-language conversations

Tonight I was out after dinner with some of my colleagues from Japan. With the help of translators we were discussing both personal and work things and I noticed that the conversations were more focused than they might be when everyone speaks the same language. We have some absolutely wonderful bi-lingual folks in our offices, some of who are full-time translators, and some who often serve as translators, in addition to their regular jobs. Over the past years they’ve helped me become more adept at working with translators and be a more effective communicator.

Since as IT we are often working with our customers or users, you could almost say that we are always working with translation. The things that make working with a separate translator and a person who doesn’t speak your language will also help in your communications with others who speak your language, but not might be part of your “culture” (IT).

Having a translator in the conversation changes the way you listen, think and express your ideas. I believe that we could learn from this and improve our regular (non-translated) conversations.  When there is a translator, you especially learn to do four things: listen carefully, think about what you want to say before you say it, consider how the idea might be received by the listener and try to avoid ambiguous or unclear thoughts that might lead to is-understanding, and articulate your ideas concisely and directly.

Listening is key. You must focus not only on the words being spoken by the translator, but before that you also need to listen to the other speaker, while the translator is listening.  Watch and listen to the speaker, not the translator.  Understand the body and facial language of the speaker and get a sense from them about which ideas (in the sequence) are most important.  While they are speaking, pay most of your attention to them, not the translator.  When the translator begins speaking, pay attention to both the translator and the speaker, working to keep everyone involved in the conversation.

When it is time for you to respond, but before you speak, the most important thing is to make sure that you have a completely formed thought (or just a few) that you want to express. You need to think about the idea and how to communicate it clearly, before you open your mouth.  You shouldn’t be trying to expand on or complete your half-formed idea while you’re in the middle of a sentence. Before you speak, know what you want to say, and how you want to say it.

Now that you know what you want to say, you have to decide how to say it. Plan your sentences, plan the sequence of ideas, and consider how to avoid ambiguity or misunderstanding. This is where knowledge of the other person’s language, culture, (business) environment and your relationship with the other person is especially helpful. If I absolutely know a specific word in the other language that helps express the idea completely, I may use it to help in translation or understanding. If there is a term that I know has a special meaning or is used in the office or the company in a special way, I might want to use that word or term. If the other speaker and I have a common background, such as prior conversations or projects we’ve worked on together, I may reference those.

Finally, it is time to open your mouth. Be concise. Speak in reasonable-sized, self-contained “sound bites”. Don’t go on too long without stopping to a) give the translator time to translate and b) look for the other person to want to speak.  No long-winded sentences, no rambling thoughts. Don’t waste the translator’s efforts, don’t expect them to remember a complete five minute monologue with eight bullet points before they begin translating, and don’t make it impossible for the other speaker to interrupt if needed. While you are speaking, pay attention to the other speaker as much (or more) than the translator, looking for their reaction. This will help you understand if your ideas are being understood and how they are being accepted (or not).  All three of you are in the conversation, but it is primarily a conversation between the two speakers.

The things you need to do to effectively work with a translator can also improve your communications with other people speaking the same language: Listen well, form one or a few complete thoughts, think about how you want to say them, and express them concisely.

 

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IPv6 mailing lists

I’ve been lurking on three IPv6 mailing lists for the past few months: v6ops , ipv6-ops, and ipv6hackers.  While there is some overlap in the people and topics discussed, each list is uniquely useful and has a different focus and flavor.

v6ops@ietf.org – this IETF list has a lot of focus on making sure that Internet standards (RFCs) are operationally practical and useful. There’s a lot of time spent discussing Internet-draft (pre-RFC) documents, in the context of real-world operations.

ipv6-ops@lists.cluenet.de – “This list is a forum for people who are actually deploying IPv6 in the Internet. Its focus is on OPERATIONAL issues (especially BGP routing) and development of the production IPv6 Internet cloud.” This list seems to have a lot more world wide network operators discussing real-world problems with IPv6 either as deployments or as bugs in router code. If you want to see what in-the-trenches network operators are seeing as they deploy IPv6, read this list.

ipv6hackers@lists.si6networks.com – This list “… is meant to provide forum for IPv6 security researchers and IPv6 networking professionals to discuss low-level IPv6 networking and security issues that could eventually lead to advances and improvements in the area of IPv6 security and IPv6 networking.” This list seems to be much lower-volume, and has some overlap with the other two lists. I have seen discussions on IPv6 programming (app development and porting), which I haven’t seen as much in other places.

All three of these lists have been useful. I’ve seen discussions of the things that are blocking users and networks from moving to IPv6 (“my users need Skype”), to bugs in various flavors of router code, to unintended interactions between RFCs that break IPv6 deployments.

While some of what is discussed is beyond the scope of a simple home network, or even a moderately-complex corporate network, seeing all this is valuable.  I know that at some point I’ll hit some IPv6 roadblock, and someone on one of these lists will have the answer.

If you’re serious about IPv6, you should join the community, and these lists are where that community is talking about the future.

 

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At Gartner Datacenter Conference this week…

I’ll be at the Gartner Datacenter conference in Las Vegas all this week. In my new role at work I’m no longer directly responsible for our US datacenters, but I will be helping to shape our world wide datacenter and networking strategies (among others). If the conference is anything like last year’s there will be LOT of “cloud” in addition to the core topic. It will be interesting to see updates on the major initiatives that large scale operations like Bank of America, eBay and others talked about last year.

The usual Twitter hashtag for the conference is #gartnerdc. If you’re interested in datacenters, “devops”, “green IT”, “orchestration” or “cloud”, I recommend that you follow the tag.

The IPv6 series will continue as usual next week with posts on Tuesday and Thursday.

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Crowdsourcing my RSS feed

Last week I ranted about how much media I was consuming (or at least wading through) as opposed to writing.  Part of that was the 436 RSS feeds I had in Google Reader.

As of this morning, I have 93 feeds. And the quality of what I’m seeing is higher.

I’m implementing a suggestion from one of the smartest people in my life. I’m crowd sourcing my RSS feed.

I did this by removing most of the source news sites themselves, and keeping (and adding) individuals. I’ve dropped everything from Pharyngula to Gizmodo, Engadget to Ars Technica.  Goodbye NYT and CNN. I don’t need you anymore, at least not as RSS feeds.

You know why? Because there are a lot of smart people out there who read your content. Each individual doesn’t read all your content, every day, but enough of them see some portion of your content, and are moved to write about it (on their blogs) or  “share” it themselves in Reader. By following those individuals one way or another, I get the best of your content, without wading through everything.

I’m giving these individuals editorial control of my daily news, instead of each of you. Why? Because they are interested in sharing what they think is the most important, or funny or interesting content each day. They don’t care how many hits you get, or your ad revenue. They care about sharing what they think is the very best of the Internet. They’re willing to attach their identity to their opinions about what is “good” and make recommendations about your content.

But this is a two-way street. I’m more careful, more targeted, more thoughtful about what I share. I don’t want to pollute your RSS feed (if you’re following me) with too much low quality dross to wade through.

So, what have I kept, or added to my own RSS feed reader?

I’ve kept all the LOPSA Member Blogs; individuals writing about the things they are most passionate about, especially system and network administration. I’ve kept a few specific humor sites that I enjoy, but I don’t even try to read everything, everyday. I’ve kept quite a few blogs by individuals on topics that I enjoy: computer security, system administration, writing, film noir, brewing, etc. I’ve kept all the blogs by the people in my life, friends and family.

I’m continuing to seek out individuals that post interesting things and follow them as individuals, to see what they’re writing, reading (and recommending).

I still have more source sites to prune, and more individuals to add, but this has already made a huge difference in my daily news reading. I made it through my entire RSS feed list in less than an hour Sunday morning, even though I hadn’t read anything for at least four days.

I no longer dread opening my Reader feed and seeing “everything that I’m going to miss”. I’m trusting that you will all find the best of the stories  and bring them to my attention.

Thanks for reading teh Intarwebs for me, and sharing the very best. I’ll try to do the same for you.

 

 

 

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