RIPE71 Conference After-Action

Last week was RIPE71 held in Bucharest, Romania. Since I was interested in a tutorial on Monday morning, and the conference officially ended Friday at 12:30pm, we arrived Sunday afternoon and left Friday afternoon. After checking in to the hotel, we visited the RIPE Atlas Probe Hackathon, which was happening over the weekend. Hung out with Florian@, who had made a port of the RIPE Atlas Tools, which I started testing. Fellow OpenBSD developer Paul Irofti lives in Bucharest, so we made sure to have some drinks with him at a pub near the hotel. The pub had fantastic hot chocolate (yum!).

Monday morning, I took the "NetDevOps - Ansible 101 to Network Nirvana" tutorial. I've previously written my own automation tool (, not publicly available), and have used Chef; but I was curious what they would show us. There are some neat tricks available in Ansible and in Python, so I should really play with these some more. In the afternoon the Opening Plenary and general talks started. IMHO, the most interesting one I saw was "BGP Security at Internet Exchanges: a practical experiment", which tested ingress filtering for peers on an IXP. Quite a few networks don't aggressively filter peers.

Monday night was the first of the official social events, at one of the hotel restaurants. Drinks and food were available for everyone, and we all got to meet each other.

Tuesday, we started again. Some very nice grouping of blocks today, with measurement as the first block (including the most dense understandable presentation I've ever seen "Spatial Representation of Broadband Networks in New Zealand"). The mid-morning session showed us how Facebook does automation, then how a smaller Datacenter does automation, then Leslie Carr showed us how to actually do it ourselves. Lots of fun (and useful!) gifs in the presentation.

I ended up skipping part of the afternoon sessions on Tuesday for some side conversations and need to catch up on the pdf's and videos of the ones I missed. I did however, agree to give a presentation about OpenBSD/OpenBGPd, for Thursday.

The Tuesday night social event was at a Nightclub, which we rented out for the entire evening. Very nice venue, good music (without being too loud!). The food was nice, but there were some queueing issues. Two plates of food, then lots of dessert. Then more food. Hmm. Would have been nice to re-arrange the order of those. Some excellent conversations, as normal.

Wednesday was a bit slower than normal. This was the first day of the Working Group sessions. I saw almost no presentations, as I kept getting involved in discussions about OpenBSD and OpenBGPd. During Wednesday, I also worked on my presentation, as well as setting up some BGP testing framework with Martin Winter (of Netdef).

Wednesday night we were on our own for social times. A group of us went to Caru cu Bere, which is a nice traditional Romanian restaurant. Extremely yummy food. A+, would eat again.

Thursday, bright and shiny at 9am we're at it again. Routing WG had a few interesting presentations, including a method to simply declare what kind of peering relationship you have. This would force the correct settings to be set on both sides of a peering, but would not be communicated beyond that. Interesting idea, but requires some major changes to the ecosystem, so I'm not sure how feasible this actually is....

Mid morning was the Open Source WG. GoBGP has quite a few interesting features, and the author is very nice and friendly. Spent some time talking with him afterwards, will possibly do some collaboration in the future. I gave my presentation "Current Status of OpenBSD/OpenBGPd", which went extremely well. Extremely favourable response from the room, as well as a bunch of comments and discussions with me afterwards; almost missed lunch ;).

Thursday afternoon was more discussions about OpenBGPd, and some things I'd like to see in BGP. Annoyingly, I have to take meds to fly, so I had to go to my room and take my meds and lie down for a while. After that, get ready for the fancy dinner on Thursday.

The RIPE 71 Dinner was held at the Palace of Parliament, which is the second largest parliament building in the world. Since it is an actual parliament building, there was airport-style security to enter, which caused airport-style lines to get in. Once in, however, a delightful dining room, with food and drink to match. After dinner, music and dancing. The dance floor was obscenely loud, but judging by how full it was, people liked it.

Friday morning, the last day. Geoff Huston gave a presentation "Today's Mobile Internet", which described what may be a serious driver of Networking in the next 5 years. And, Christian Scheele talked about concerns over the new FCC and EU directives over Wireless firmwares, "Forced Firmware Lockdown". A technical report of the conference, then the ending remarks from the RIPE NCC Chair.

Overall, a good conference. Interesting presentations, met lots of nice people, got to see some old friends, and made lots of good contacts. People are interested in the upcoming features of OpenBSD and especially OpenBGPd. I can't count the number of times I explained how funding for OpenBSD happens, and the best way for them to contribute money (the OpenBSD Foundation). I've also been convinced to submit presentations to UKNOF35, and RIPE72.

On the flight home, I got retweeted by Emo Philips, which I consider to be one of my career highs.