Recently in the last month, I traveled to Bhutan to attend the SANOG Conference. Bhutan is a small country nestled in the Himalayan mountains surrounded by Indian to the East, West and South and China to the North. It was a good opportunity to meet some like-minded network geeks and also visit an exotic country.
SANOG (South Asian Network Operators Group) is a conference where various stakeholders from the Internet infrastructure ecosystem can come together, share operational experiences and learn from each other. SANOG is targeted towards the SAARC Countries (India, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Maldives). SANOG is loosely modeled on APRICOT conference with 5 days of Workshops, 2 days of tutorials and 2 days of conference.
The 16th edition of SANOG was held in Paro, Bhutan. This was the second time that Bhutan was hosting SANOG. SANOG was held in the the Paro Engineering College beside the Paro river in very picturesque settings. The earlier edition of SANOG in Bhutan was held in the capital, Thimphu. This was the 2nd time I was attending SANOG, having attended an earlier edition of SANOG in Mumbai in 2006.
I attended the workshop on Network Security by Gaurab Raj Upadhyay and Johhny Martin from PCH. It covered the basics of security specifically for ISPs and large network providers. There were some good discussions on how to manage the different security audit process as well as an incident management program in case of network security breaches. The hands-on part of the workshop concentrated heavily on securing backbone routers and exchanging routes information securely. Some aspects of filtering and verifying network traffic were also covered. The last day had demos of several tools such as nessus and nmap. The slides can be downloaded from the SANOG Program page. Also in between the workshop breaks and during one of the days of the workshop, Devdas and I wrote a improved whois server that is hopefully in production now at the NIC website.
In the tutorials part of SANOG, I was giving a half-day tutorial on application-level performance measurement [Slides,PDF]. There was an small but interested crowd in the tutorials. I ended up covering a lot more of the web-facing and measurement tools as many of the participants were application developers who had written quite a bit of PHP code. It was the first time I was giving a tutorial on this topic and it helped that it was interactive. In addition to the material on the slides, I talked a bit about front-end performance and tools such as Yslow (Yahoo), Pagespeed (Google) and Webpage Test (AOL). There was a lot of whiteboarding and veered a little away from the slides. I also spoke about the network measurement work being done in the IPPM, BMWG and PMOL working groups in the IETF. The feedback was pretty good and I plan to give a longer version tutorial at later versions of SANOG/APRICOT. I skipped the second day of the tutorials and went to Chele La pass.
The conference had several talks that I was looking forward to and I was not disappointed. The standout talk were on long distance wireless network deployment by Matt Peterson and F-root update by Pete Losher. Both has interesting networking insights and interesting traffic data. I also gave a talk on my IETF fellowship experience [Slides,PDF]. Some of the slides were liberally lifted from “The Tao of the IETF” written by Paul Hoffman. As (good) luck might have have it, I ran into Paul Hoffman at the IETF 78 and told him about it . There were a few questions about the fellowship after the conference so I hope it would inspire more people to apply to the IETF fellowship.