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The Promise of System Configuration

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Uploaded on Dec 15, 2008

Google Tech Talks
November 5, 2008

ABSTRACT

In 1993 cfengine was one of the first open source configuration management systems for Unix, and the first to perform self-healing, long before IBM's autonomic computing initiative drew attention. Cfengine is now used on hundred of thousands of computers all over the world.

In the late 1990's Mark Burgess came to realize that no one was really conducting research into large scale computer behaviour and he began to work on all aspects of system administration. Recently he introduced a model now known as "Promise Theory" to describe how autonomous systems collaborate -- as there was no good model to describe how cfengine worked. In the light of this research cfengine has now been completely rewritten to take advantage of the results of this model -- resulting in big simplifications as well as much greater power. In this talk, Mark will describe the case for promises and explain why 50 years of deontic logic have been no help whatsoever in solving system management problems.

Speaker: Professor Mark Burgess, Oslo University College
Mark is professor of Network and System Administration at Oslo University College, having defected from a life of Theoretical Physics. He is the author of of numerous books and papers on Network and System Administration. He was one of the initiators of the EMANICS Network of Excellence for Universities in investigating Network and Service Management in the EU, and has recently gone back to writing cfengine 3.

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