Meet the speakers: Aaron Mildenstein, Matt Ray, Christy Perez

[As TXLF 2014 draws near, we're running a series of short interviews with our speakers, so you can get to know them—and what they'll be talking about—that much better....]

Meet Aaron Mildenstein

Could you please introduce yourself and tell us a bit about your background?

I was a Unix SysAdmin for many years, then transitioned into a Java Application Admin. Now we’d call this role ‘DevOps,' but that’s what it was then. I became heavily involved with monitoring for performance and reliability and spearheaded the move to get that particular company to use Zabbix as a monitoring tool. While this was going on we investigated Splunk because we wanted a centralized logging solution to help with our Ops work. At the volumes we were going to be using the cost was prohibitive, so we tried to roll our own solution. This proved to be exceptionally difficult, and that project was kind of on the back burner when I stumbled upon Logstash in a user-group email list. That was June of 2011. I tested Logstash and immediately found the kind of results we wanted. In less than a year I architected and deployed what would now be considered an ELK (Elasticsearch/Logstash/Kibana) cluster that could process 28,000 events per second. A little more than a year after that, I was invited to apply for a job at Elasticsearch by Jordan Sissel, the creator of Logstash, who I had gotten to know online through my work. I’ve been at Elasticsearch for almost a year now, and it’s the best job I’ve ever had. I’m more Dev than Ops, now, but I love waking up and getting to work each day because I love what I’m doing so much.

What we might expect from your talk? What will an attendee come away with at the end of the session?

Installing Elasticsearch, Logstash and Kibana (the ELK stack) can seem daunting at first. With this presentation I intend to demonstrate how easy it can be to get started capturing, enriching, and visualizing your log data. After a brief presentation, I will do a live demo, taking the installation from bare metal to functional ELK stack in less than 20 minutes—while providing live commentary. The demo should be sufficient to show an attendee just how quickly you can start to get value from those log files that are otherwise just sitting around consuming disk space.

Have you been to TXLF in the past? If so, what are you looking forward to? If you haven't, what are your impressions of the event?

I haven’t been before. I’d like to meet some local people and take in some of the presentations.

How do I get more value from all of these log files lying around?

Come and see how Logstash can transform your log monitoring behavior from using tail and grep to parsing and enriching that data and being able to provide new insights and value to not just your Ops team, but even to marketing and beyond.

You can catch Aaron's talk, Introduction to Logstash, at 10:15am on Saturday!

Meet Matt Ray

Could you please introduce yourself and tell us a bit about your background?

Greetings! I'm the Director of Partner Integration for the open source
systems integration platform and company Chef. I'm active in the Chef,
Ruby and OpenStack open source communities and was the Community
Manager for Zenoss for several years. I've worked in a wide variety of
industries and spent a lot of time at the University of Texas at
Austin. I've been a contributor in the open source community for well
over a decade, was one of the founders of the Texas Linux Fest and
have helped organize many other conferences. I reside in Austin, blog
at LeastResistance.net and am @mattray on Twitter, IRC and GitHub.

What we might expect from your talk? What will an attendee come away with at the end of the session?

My talk will provide a light introduction to Chef, the current state
of the union and where we're headed. Attendees should come away with
an appreciation of the value of configuration management and how Chef
becomes the cornerstone for the infrastructure going forward.

Have you been to TXLF in the past? If so, what are you looking forward to? If you haven't, what are your impressions of the event?

I've been to all of the TXLFs, I'm always happy to see how it's really
taken off. Each year there's more and more content, it's always a
great event to see the landscape of what people are doing in open
source.

You can catch Matt's talk, Chef: Software Defined Infrastructure Today and Tomorrow, at 2:40pm on Saturday!

Meet Christy Perez

Could you please introduce yourself and tell us a bit about your background?

I have a CS degree from the University of Texas. I'm a software engineer at IBM,
where I've been working for nine years. For five years I did "kernel
level" network programming on IBM i (OS/400, i5/OS, System i...). I
worked primarily on IPv6, multicast, and TCP. My IPv6 work included
owning the IPv6-Ready certification and DoD IPv6-compliance processes.
In 2009 I jumped ship from IBM i to IBM's Linux Technology Center, where
I worked in our developer support organization. This included supporting
our IBM cloud (before SoftLayer), our test teams, occasional customers,
and anyone who needed help with their Linux issues.
After two years there, I picked up a technical consulting role for Open
Source virtualization, which led me to focus more on RHEL and base KVM
technologies. Then, in 2013, I moved back to full-time development and
learned Python to work on Kimchi in support of IBM's Open Power
initiative.

What we might expect from your talk? What will an attendee come away with at the end of the session?

A greater understanding of the Kimchi project: Why it's needed, what it does, how to get started, and how to contribute.

Have you been to TXLF in the past? If so, what are you looking forward to? If you haven't, what are your impressions of the event?

Yes, I have. I'm looking forward to others' presentations. I always leave inspired!
It's a really low-key conference, and a great chance to meet new people.

Is there anything else would you like to tell someone about your talk or about the event in general?

Use public transportation to get there. Also, Uber just launched in Austin!

You can catch Christy's talk, A Simple, Single-System Private Cloud with Kimchi , at 2:40pm on Saturday!