Managing Infrastructure as a Development Project



If your IT organization has a team of system administrators that only fight fires and deliver the same things time and time again, it could be time to adjust their thinking and methodologies. This presentation will explain how borrowing concepts from Computer Science and Software Engineering can help create a high performing administration team.


Traditional system administrators are labelled as anti-social hardware
managers who execute repetitive tasks in order to maintain availability of applications from which they are completely disconnected. You can change this. In this presentation, Michael Stahnke will cover applied software development practices in conjunction with system administration practices to construct a high-performing team.

This presentation will teach the benefits of applying traditional, open source, and agile development methodologies to system administration, including: using unit tests to prove out configuration changes, writing formal specification documents based on requirements, deploying a continuous integration system to measure defect rates on your production environment, and managing bugs, enhancements and releases of your infrastructure.

By concentrating on output and the methods of delivery, you can modify the usage and execution several existing tools, (Spacewalk, Puppet, Cfengine, Nagios, Cobbler, git) to deliver a better designed and managed autonomous environment.

Speaking experience


  • Michael Stahnke

    Caterpillar Inc / The Fedora Project


    Michael Stahnke began working with Unix in the late 1990s. Since he found his passion in Linux administration and automation, he has worked with Fortune 100 companies, and several open source projects. Michael has concentrated on Identity Management as well security integration into administration and automation processes.

    In 2005, Michael authored Pro OpenSSH for Apress Publishing. Michael also joined the Fedora project in that year. Today he (co)maintains about 30 packages, and is an active member on the Extra Packages for Enterprise Linux (EPEL) steering committee. He also contributes to the Spacewalk project, the Ruby special Interest Group, and several other facets of the Fedora Project.

    In 2008, Michael moved to a leadership position on his Unix team at Caterpillar. Michael is also the vice president of the Nashville Linux User Group. When not working with computers, Michael suffers from withdrawal or picks up a guitar.