Campus LISA brings technologists together at UCSD

Posted by Jessica Hilt, Technical Outreach and Program Analyst, UCSD. For the past 15 years, UC San Diego has provided technologists across campus the opportunity to connect, learn and collaborate at a one-day conference known as Campus LISA. An homage to the USENIX Large Installation System Administration group for system administrators, it is organized by UCSD’s Administrative Computing & Telecommunications (ACT) department. On July 8 this year, 400 attendees participated in sessions and talks at Campus LISA.

Originally, the conference was solely for system administrators, but as we started to see more integration from development and operations, we recognized the need to expand cooperation between software developers and information technology professionals. In 2013, we added our first developer session and its success led us to create a developer-specific track in 2014. The track was so well attended that this year we moved the sessions from one classroom to a larger hall.

The keynote speaker was Tom Limoncelli of Stack Overflow and author of several books, including Time Management for System Administrators and The Practice of Cloud System Administration. His funny and informative keynote, “Radical Ideas from The Practice of Cloud System Administration,” brought up the idea that with distributed computing, we have to make peace with failure because systems, networks and people are imperfect. He went on to speak about three ways to “fail better,” and said that “if a process or procedure is risky, do it a lot.”

With the exception of the keynote and the vendor presentations, the scheduled talks came from the campus community. The committee evaluates topics requested by campus, submitted talks and the needs of the technology community. Talks this year included Powershell scripting, online collaboration tools, security and the art of self-promotion. You can see the schedule and links to the talks on our website.

After the event we always survey attendees to find out which areas they found most helpful. It never fails to surprise us that most attendees enjoy learning how other departments function. This helps them find creative solutions to existing problems and saves them significant time and energy. For more information about Campus LISA, please feel free to contact me.

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