The USENIX Association is the Advanced Computing Systems Association. It was founded in 1975 under the name "Unix Users Group," focusing primarily on the study and development of Unix and similar systems. In June 1977, a lawyer from AT&T Corporation informed the group that they could not use the word UNIX as it was a trademark of Western Electric (the manufacturing arm of AT&T until 1995), which led to the change of name to USENIX. It has since grown into a respected organization among practitioners, developers, and researchers of computer operating systems more generally. Since its founding, it has published a technical journal entitled ;login:.

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USENIX Association
USENIX Association
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  • Join us for 3 days in Nashville at LISA18! Read more about this year’s conference and the CFP, due Thursday, May 24.The Program Committee for LISA18 has spent the past few months reaching out to potential speakers and reviewing their submissions to ultimately build a strong, diverse line-up of topics for the this year’s LISA program.Throughout this process, we have noticed a few gaps, so we’ve put...

USENIX Association
USENIX Association
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  • Olivier Tilmans, Université Catholique de Louvain For an Internet Service Provider (ISP), getting an accurate picture of how its network behaves is challenging. Indeed, given the carried traffic volume and the impossibility to control end-hosts, ISPs often have no other choice but to rely on heavily sampled traffic statistics, which provide them with coarse-grained visibility at a less than ideal...

USENIX Association
USENIX Association
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  • Neha Narula, MIT Media Lab Distributed ledgers (e.g. blockchains) enable financial institutions to efficiently reconcile cross-organization transactions. For example, banks might use a distributed ledger as a settlement log for digital assets. Unfortunately, these ledgers are either entirely public to all participants, revealing sensitive strategy and trading information, or are private but do no...

USENIX Association
USENIX Association
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  • David Schultz, Google, Inc. This paper presents our design and experience with Andromeda, Google Cloud Platform’s network virtualization stack. Our production deployment poses several challenging requirements, including performance isolation among customer virtual networks, scalability, rapid provisioning of large numbers of virtual hosts, bandwidth and latency largely indistinguishable from the ...

USENIX Association
USENIX Association
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  • Sadjad Fouladi, Stanford University Salsify is a new architecture for real-time Internet video that tightly integrates a video codec and a network transport protocol, allowing it to respond quickly to changing network conditions and avoid provoking packet drops and queueing delays. To do this, Salsify optimizes the compressed length and transmission time of each frame, based on a current estimate...

USENIX Association
USENIX Association
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  • Xin Jin, Johns Hopkins University Awarded Best Paper! Coordination services are a fundamental building block of modern cloud systems, providing critical functionalities like configuration management and distributed locking. The major challenge is to achieve low latency and high throughput while providing strong consistency and fault-tolerance. Traditional server-based solutions require multiple r...

USENIX Association
USENIX Association
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  • Ahmed El-Hassany, ETH Zürich Network operators often need to adapt the configuration of a network in order to comply with changing routing policies. Evolving existing configurations, however, is a complex task as local changes can have unforeseen global effects. Not surprisingly, this often leads to mistakes that result in network downtimes. We present NetComplete, a system that assists operator...

USENIX Association
USENIX Association
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  • James Mickens, Harvard University Web browsing on mobile devices is expensive in terms of battery drainage and bandwidth consumption. Mobile pages also frequently suffer from long load times due to high-latency cellular connections. In this paper, we introduce Prophecy, a new acceleration technology for mobile pages. Prophecy simultaneously reduces energy costs, bandwidth consumption, and page lo...

USENIX Association
USENIX Association
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  • Ravi Netravali, MIT CSAIL Everyone agrees that web pages should load more quickly. However, a good definition for “page load time” is elusive. We argue that, for pages that care about user interaction, load times should be defined with respect to interactivity: a page is “loaded” when above-the-fold content is visible, and the associated JavaScript event handling state is functional. We define a ...

USENIX Association
USENIX Association
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  • Yifei Yuan, Carnegie Mellon University Testing whether network policies are correctly implemented is critical to ensure a network’s safety, performance and availability. Network operators need to test ensembles of network policies using a combination of native and third-party tools in practice, as indicated by our survey. Unfortunately, existing approaches for running tests for ensembles of netw...

USENIX Association
USENIX Association
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  • Yilong Geng, Stanford University Nanosecond-level clock synchronization can be an enabler of a new spectrum of timing- and delay-critical applications in data centers. However, the popular clock synchronization algorithm, NTP, can only achieve millisecond-level accuracy. Current solutions for achieving a synchronization accuracy of 10s-100s of nanoseconds require specially designed hardware throu...

USENIX Association
USENIX Association
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  • Cheng Wang, The University of Hong Kong Cloud computing enables a vast deployment of online services in virtualized infrastructures, making it crucial to provide fast fault-tolerance for virtual machines (VM). Unfortunately, despite much effort, achieving fast and multi-core scalable VM fault-tolerance is still an open problem. A main reason is that the dominant primarybackup approach (e.g., REMU...

USENIX Association
USENIX Association
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  • Vladimir Olteanu, University Politehnica of Bucharest Community Award Winner! Datacenter load balancers (or muxes) steer traffic destined to a given service across a dynamic set of backend machines. To ensure consistent load balancing decisions when backends come or leave, existing solutions make a load balancing decision per connection and then store it as per-connection state to be used for fut...

USENIX Association
USENIX Association
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  • Wenxuan Zhou, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Configuring and maintaining an enterprise network is a challenging and error-prone process. Administrators often need to consider security policies from a variety of sources such as regulatory requirements, industry standards, and mitigating attack vectors. Erroneous configuration or network application could violet crucial policies, and re...

USENIX Association
USENIX Association
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  • Kai Zhang, Fudan University Network Function Virtualization (NFV) virtualizes software network functions to offer flexibility in their design, management and deployment. Although GPUs have demonstrated their power in significantly accelerating network functions, they have not been effectively integrated into NFV systems for the following reasons. First, GPUs are severely underutilized in NFV syst...

USENIX Association
USENIX Association
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  • Naveen Kr. Sharma, University of Washington Congestion control today is predominantly achieved via end-to-end mechanisms with little support from the network. As a result, end-hosts must cooperate to achieve optimal throughput and fairness, leading to inefficiencies and poor performance isolation. While router mechanisms such as Fair Queuing guarantee fair bandwidth allocation to all participants...

USENIX Association
USENIX Association
Blog Post
  • By Brendan Gregg and Rikki Endsley USENIX's LISA conference is the premier event for topics in production system engineering. LISA is a vendor-neutral event known for technical depth and rigor, and continues to attract an audience of seasoned professionals. You'll find sysadmins from Wall Street banks sharing stories with SREs at tech giants, as well as experts from many other industries. LISA is...

USENIX Association
USENIX Association
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  • Christina Schulman and Etienne Perot, Google Running a multi-tenant, multi-datacenter compute infrastructure requires automating machine management across their respective lifecycles. We look at how Google keeps its own infrastructure safe in the face of rogue automation and human error, as well as ever-changing machine management software. We’ll discuss common failure patterns that we’ve encoun...

USENIX Association
USENIX Association
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  • Wojciech Wojtyniak, Facebook In the game of security, defenders have to be lucky every single time, but just one time is enough for an attacker. Good news: by leveraging good practices one can tilt the scales significantly in their favor. Bad news: it's not always an easy and quick thing to do. PE and SRE teams have helped building reliable infrastructure and software across the stack, can their ...

USENIX Association
USENIX Association
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  • Baron Schwartz, VividCortex We've all stared in frustration at a system that degraded into nonresponsiveness, to the point that you couldn't even kill-dash-nine whatever was responsible for the problem. A key fact we all recognize, but may not recognize as significant, is that this isn't a sharp boundary. There's a gradient of deteriorating performance where the system becomes less predictable an...

USENIX Association
USENIX Association
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  • Lorenzo Saino, Fastly This talk explains how Fastly built a distributed health-checking system capable of driving stable traffic allocation, while quickly and accurately identifying failures. The key intuition behind our design is that the common approach of estimating the operational readiness of a service instance based on its state alone leads to inaccurate decisions. Instead, the health of ea...

USENIX Association
USENIX Association
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  • Kate Taggart, HashiCorp There are many benefits to hiring junior engineers, but when it comes to teams responsible for production infrastructure, we default to thinking such risky environments are no place for newbies. However, “the things we do are too risky to have junior engineers working on them” often instead means “we haven’t invested properly in resiliency”. Hiring junior engineers onto pr...

USENIX Association
USENIX Association
YouTube Video
  • Ruth Grace Wong and Rodrigo Menezes, Pinterest Just like many other mid-sized companies, Pinterest runs tens of thousands of machines and hundreds of microservices. This talk describes why and how our engineers migrated our services to Docker, plus stories of how certain elements of the migration were more complicated than expected and caused outages. We will go through the containerization plan...

USENIX Association
USENIX Association
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  • Emil Stolarsky, Shopify Bad software doesn’t explode. You can describe it as exploding when it throws an exception, corrupts some data, or makes your computer unusable, but it doesn’t explode. When code doesn’t work, the solution is to figure out where the logic is incorrect and fix it. While SREs may be called engineers, we rarely face the consequences of engineers in other industries. In cont...

USENIX Association
USENIX Association
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  • Aaron Wieczorek, U.S. Digital Service The U.S. Digital Service at VA’s team (DSVA), working on its most visible applications, Vets.gov and Caseflow, practice a modern DevOps culture with a full CI/CD pipeline and daily prod deploys. However, the team saw two major opportunities in putting together the foundations of an SRE team. The first opportunity was to make the DevOps for the existing two ap...

USENIX Association
USENIX Association
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  • Cory Scott, LinkedIn A thorough understanding of how modern security principles impact SRE operations and the services they enable is key for any high-performing SRE organization. On the flip side, modern SRE practices can make the difference between an effective security organization and one that is left in the dust. SRE infrastructure and operations discipline are often more robust than anythin...

USENIX Association
USENIX Association
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  • Amy Tobey, Tenable In theory, most companies have onboarding processes to assimilate you and prepare you for life in the collective. In reality, this is not common and folks are busy, so it’s often up to you to figure out where you can make an impact and start contributing. Even after you’ve been at a company for a while, it can be useful to re-orient after extended leave or a major organizationa...

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