Linux Open Administration Days 2011

Last year at one of the many Belgium tech events Kris mentioned a conference called LOAD (2010) to me. I was a little late in booking the hotel and in the end I couldn’t make it over - and judging by the quality of this years event that was a big mistake.

While it’s nice to spend time in the devops world and talk about communication, processes and how to merge development and operational tool-chains sometimes it’s nice to focus on solid, production grade sysadmining; and LOAD was the perfect conference for it. Over two days, two tracks of talks and one of tutorials, a selection of top notch speakers covered kerberos, LDAP, packaging (Debs and RPMs), storage systems, single sign on, advanced networking, virtualisation, security, HA and monitoring. Some of the talks presented were perfectly timed (DNSSEC and IPv6 from a working admins perspective), some were very solid updates on technologies we sometimes take for granted (PKI, LDAP, SSO and HA clustering) and some covered more vertical admin niches (inventory systems, Exchange replacements and small business servers).

The conference felt like a large local LUG meeting. The people were friendly, the sessions and speakers encouraged the audiences involvement both in and outside of the talks and even when the event was over everyone seemed happy to stay and chat about what they’d seen or further discuss subjects with the speakers (although I suspect the free food and drink didn’t hurt in keeping the conference going after hours!)

The LOAD organisers did a marvellous job of finding so many talented speakers and promoting home grown talent. I’d only seen maybe a dozen of the people speak before and the amount of preparation each and every speaker had obviously invested made being in the audience a pleasure. No one was “quipping” about the fact they’d only just written their slides or started to prepare and a number of the speakers tailored their talks based on the other sessions to help reduce duplication and present their own take on certain subjects - and their talks, and the conference, were enhanced by it.

This post may seem a little gushing but this was the best sysadmin conference I’ve been to for years. I’ve come back with information that’s going to help me do my job better and it’s going to be one of the first conferences I book next year.