Rootconf 2019 was held on June 21-22, 2019 at NIMHANS Convention Centre, in Bengaluru on topics ranging from infrastructure security, site reliability engineering, DevOps and distributed systems.

Rootconf 2019 Day 1

Day I

I had proposed a workshop titled “Shooting the trouble down to the Wireshark Lua Plugin” for the event, and it was selected. I have been working on the “Aerospike Wireshark Lua plugin” for dissecting Aerospike protocols, and hence I wanted to share the insights on the same. The plugin source code is released under the AGPLv3 license.

“Wireshark” is a popular Free/Libre and Open Source Software protocol analyzer for analyzing protocols and troubleshooting networks. The “Lua programming language” is useful to extend C projects to allow developers to do scripting. Since Wireshark is written in C, the plugin extension is provided by Lua. Aerospike uses the PAXOS family and custom built protocols for distributed database operations, and the plugin has been quite useful for packet dissection, and solving customer issues.

Rootconf 2019 Day 1

The workshop had both theory and lab exercises. I began with an overview of Lua, Wireshark GUI, and the essential Wireshark Lua interfaces. The Aerospike Info protocol was chosen and exercises were given to dissect the version, type and size fields. I finished the session with real-world examples, future work and references. Around 50 participants attended the workshop, and those who had laptops were able to work on the exercises. The workshop presentation and lab exercises are available in the aerospike-wireshark-plugin/docs/workshop GitHub repository.

I had follow-up discussions with the participants before moving to the main auditorium. “Using pod security policies to harden your Kubernetes cluster” by Suraj Deshmukh was an interesting talk on the level of security that should be employed with containers. After lunch, I started my role as emcee in the main auditorium.

The keynote of the day was by Bernd Erk, the CEO at Netways GmbH, who is also the co-founder of the Icinga project. He gave an excellent talk on “How convenience is killing open standards”. He gave numerous examples on how people are not aware of open standards, and take proprietary systems for granted. This was followed by flash talks from the audience. Jaskaran Narula then spoke on “Securing infrastructure with OpenScap: the automation way”, and also shared a demo of the same.

After the tea break, Shubham Mittal gave a talk on “OSINT for Proactive Defense” in which he shared the Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) tools, techniques and procedures to protect the perimeter security for an organization. The last talk of the day was by Shadab Siddiqui on “Running a successful bug bounty programme in your organization”.

Day II

Anant Shrivastava started the day’s proceedings with a recap on the talks from day one.

The first talk of the day was by Jiten Vaidya, co-founder and CEO at Planetscale who spoke on “OLTP or OLAP: why not both?”. He gave an architectural overview of, a Free/Libre and Open Source sharding middleware for running OLTP workloads. The design looked like they were implementing the Kubernetes features on a MySQL cluster. Ratnadeep Debnath then spoke on “Scaling MySQL beyond limits with ProxySQL”.

After the morning break, Brian McKenna gave an excellent talk on “Functional programming and Nix for reproducible, immutable infrastructure”. I have listened to his talks at the Functional Programming conference in Bengaluru, and they have been using Nix in production. The language constructs and cases were well demonstrated with examples. This was followed by yet another excellent talk by Piyush Verma on “Software/Site Reliability of Distributed Systems”. He took a very simple request-response example, and incorporated site reliability features, and showed how complex things are today. All the major issues, pitfalls, and troubles were clearly explained with beautiful illustrations.

Aaditya Talwai presented his talk on “Virtuous Cycles: Enabling SRE via automated feedback loops” after the lunch break. This was followed by Vivek Sridhar’s talk on “Virtual nodes to auto-scale applications on Kubernetes”. Microsoft has been investing heavily on Free/Libre and Open Source, and have been hiring a lot of Python developers as well. Satya Nadella has been bringing in lot of changes, and it will be interesting to see their long-term progress. After Vivek’s talk, we had few slots for flash talks from the audience, and then Deepak Goyal gave his talk on “Kafka streams at scale”.

After the evening beverage break, Øystein Grøvlen, gave an excellent talk on PolarDB - A database architecture for the cloud. They are using it with Alibaba in China to handle petabytes of data. The computing layer and shared storage layers are distinct, and they use RDMA protocol for cluster communication. They still use a single master and multiple read-only replicas. They are exploring parallel query execution for improving performance of analytical queries.

Rootconf 2019 Day 2

Overall, the talks and presentations were very good for 2019. Time management is of utmost importance at Rootconf, and we have been very consistent. I was happy to emcee again for Rootconf!