Loadays 2018 review

This weekend I attended the small-scale LOADays conference in Antwerp, Belgium. LOADays (Linux Open Administration Days) is a conference focusing on many aspects of Linux (and UNIX) system administration.

I must admit I did not watch all the talks, as it was sunny outside and the discussions were good as well.

Frank Louwers kicked off day 1 with his talk “GDPR for nerds”. It was a good introduction into the terms, rules and consequences of the European General Data Protection Regulation that will go into effect May 25th of 2018. The main take-away was “When in doubt, you are a data processor”.

Friend of PowerDNS and all-round excellent person Jan-Piet Mens gave an introduction to Ansible AWX. AWX is the Open-Source version of the commercial Ansible Tower product, a centralized dashboard from where one can control their infrastructure.

On the security-front, Jean-Fran├žois Maes gave a short pen-test walk-through of a (purposely) badly secured Docker deployment that allowed him to gain root. During this walk-through, several easy to make mistakes in application deployments were discussed.

After this, it was time for more sunny discussions and the famous beer and fresh-baked pizza social.

The morning of the second day was filled with theoretical talks. First there was Bram Vogelaar discussing Object-Oriented principles for Infrastructure as Code, using Puppet as an example. Followed by Serge van Ginderachter who talked about a non-existing project that would handle inventory and variables in an intuitive way, discussing theory and practical pitfalls alike.

In the afternoon it was up to me to tell the assembled collection of system administrators about the upcoming removal of EDNS work arounds by the 4 large Open-Source DNS Recursor vendors. The most important message was “run up-to-date software, check you firewalls and middleboxes and test your domains”. For those interested, the slide deck is available.

Peter Czanik was up next to talk about “making sense of syslog-ng”, where to me it was clear that it can do almost everything LogStash does, which was refreshing.

Last talk that I attended was Kristof Provost’s humorous overview of FreeBSD. He discussed its history, differences with GNU/Linux and project philosophy. As expected at a Linux-oriented conference, shenanigans were aplenty.

All in all, it was a very successful, sunny and densely-packed Loadays. Thanks to Toshaan Bharvani, Kris Buytaert and the rest of the team for putting it together and allowing me the opportunity to speak.

Update 2018-05-06: @maniacnl has uploaded a video of the presentation, embedded below.

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2018-04-23 10:14 +0200