Beau Christensen is a Site Reliability Engineer for our PingOne cloud identity service. He's is part of the team striving for zero downtime, with blinding performance. Last year, I wrote about a technical round-table Beau led on Splunk. He recently attended the O'Reilly Velocity US 2012 conference. Here is what Beau reports:

Beau Christensen, Site Reliability EngineerO'Reilly's Velocity Conference is quickly becoming the gathering place for web operations and development nerds to share new ideas and ways of doing things in the new cloud economies. It's a great place to hear about what the rock stars like Tumblr, Etsy, Facebook, and Twitter are doing to scale, develop, and maintain uptime using the newest platforms. This years theme was "Building a Stronger and Faster Web." 

The SRE team spend three days immersing ourselves in the culture and ideas, and I wanted to share the list of keynote talks from the conference.

My personal favorite (for all you ops guys), Jesse Robbins talks about being an angry engineer at Amazon, and how to change culture:

Jay Parikh, SVP Ops for Facebook talks about their systems & scale:

And Mike Brittain talks about building a better user experience at Etsy:

Full list is here.  Great stuff for anyone thinking about building better and faster systems:

There were other items of interest to the identity community:


  • Kim Cameron: Diagram 2.0: No hub. No center.
    "As I wrote here, Mary Jo Foley's interpretation of one of the diagrams in John Shewchuk's second WAAD post made it clear we needed to get a lot visually crisper about what we were trying to show. So I promised that we'd go back to the drawing board. John put our next version out on twitter, got more feedback (see comments below) and ended up with what Mary Jo christened "Diagram 2.0. Seriously, getting feedback from so many people who bring such different experiences to bear on something like this is amazing. I know the result is infinitely clearer than what we started with."
  • Rapid Fire Innovation Demo Session at Cloud Identity Summit 2012
    "During the closing day on Thursday, July 19 at the 2012 Cloud Identity Summit, participants will have five minutes to present a demo of their technology for the audience to show how they are driving innovation in the identity space. "
  • Wiki Inventor Sticks a Fork in His Baby
    "Ward Cunningham, the creator of the wiki, is proud of his invention. "We changed the world together," he says of those who contributed to his software development site C2, which spawned the online collaboration software that underpins Wikipedia and countless other services across the net. But there is one thing about the wiki that he regrets. "I always felt bad that I owned all those pages," he says. The central idea of a wiki -- whether it's driving Wikipedia or C2 -- is that anyone can add or edit a page, but those pages all live on servers that someone else owns and controls. Cunningham now believes that no one should have that sort of central control, so he has built something called the federated wiki."
  • Mark Diodati: Mobile Device Certificate Enrollment: Are You Vulnerable?
    "We should care about the addressing the SCEP vulnerability because X.509 certificate usage is important stitching in the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) fabric. SCEP is the de facto standard for certificate enrollment from mobile devices. Many organizations rely upon certificates for mobile access to the internal network, email, SharePoint, virtual desktops, web applications -- you name it. The attacker can impersonate an authorized user and gain unauthorized access to these applications."
    [Jackson Shaw: Vulnerability in SCEP? Watch out mobile devices!]
  • Jackson Shaw: The Sad World of Passwords: Is X.500 the answer?
    "Martin Kuppinger commented on both John and my posts on this topic. Martin, as usual, added some pretty good meat to the discussion. There's a couple of points I wanted to emphasize that I thought were particularly important:"
  • PayPal starts bounty program for security bugs
    "Michael Barrett, PayPal's chief information security officer, said in a blog posting that he was initially leery of the concept, but the positive experiences of internet behemoth brethren that pay bounties - Facebook, Google, Mozilla and Samsung - have changed his mind."
  • John Gruber: Tim Bray Now Working on Identity at Google
    "No doubt in my mind that this is one of the big problems to be solved for the industry over the next decade, and Bray's two-point bullet list is exactly right: the username/password solution is bad for users in numerous ways, but whatever eventually replaces it needs to be easy for developers."


  • OpenID Connect Integration for PayPal Access Getting Started Guide
    "This guide discusses how to implement PayPal Access using OpenID Connect, an open specification produced by the OpenID Foundation. By implementing PayPal Access in your applications, you give customers a way to log onto your site without requiring them to create a new user account just for your site. In addition, OpenID Connect enables you to access user profile data (referred to as attribute data) with the customer's consent."


  • CloudStack: Virtual Build A Cloud Day (July 10th)
    "Join us on July 10th for a Virtual Build a Cloud Day webinar featuring top open source cloud experts and strategists. This day-long virtual event will focus on the open source technologies you can use to build, manage and deploy an application in an open source cloud computing environment. Program will include speakers from CloudStack,, Ceph, Scalr, Hadoop, ActiveState, and "
  • NSTIC: Identity Ecosystem Steering Group Webinar July 12 at 1PM
    "The soon-to-be-established Identity Ecosystem Steering Group will be the focal point for stakeholders to convene and collaborate on a framework to enable the Identity Ecosystem envisioned in the National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace (NSTIC). With the Steering Group set to formally convene in August, the NSTIC National Program Office will host a webinar to provide a general overview of the proposed governance documents that will guide the Steering Group, discuss the initial meeting and answer questions from participants."

Cloud Computing

  • Own Your Own Availability: Zero Downtime During the AWS Outage
    "The fact is that the downtime these companies -- and their customers -- experienced didn't need to occur. And the blame shouldn't be placed on the infrastructure that Amazon provides, nor is it an indicator that the public cloud is any less reliable than any other IT infrastructure."

Valuable Identity

  • John Fontana: NSTIC set to hand out $2.5 million to direct ID effort
    "An email distributed by Naomi Lefkovitz, senior privacy policy advisor for NIST, said NSTIC, created in April 2011 by the Obama Administration, would soon award a 24-month, $2.5 million grant to a private organization that will lead the Aug. 13 meeting of the Steering Group, which NSTIC officials have repeatedly called the "long pole in the tent.""
  • AmEx jumps aboard US EMV train
    "Following in the footsteps of Visa, MasterCard and Discover, American Express has set out a timetable for its US abandonment of mag-stripe cards in favour of EMV chip technology."
  • Ohad Samet: It's not about new connectivity technology; consumers don't care
    "With the resurfacing of NFC based solutions driven by mobile providers and banks in various territories (and as if this weird late adoption isn't a good enough indication to its irrelevance), I feel compelled to repeat my message about connectivity technology."
    [With some trepidation, I have to respectfully disagree with Ohad, whom I think is one of the smartest guys in payments. They said the same thing about m-Pesa in Kenya.]
  • Google working with banks to test new Wallet APIs; UK launch rumoured
    "Google says it is working with a number of undisclosed bank partners in a programme to streamline the clumsy card onboarding process for its stuttering mobile wallet service."


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