The fourth biennial vBSDCon was held in Reston, VA on September 5th through 7th and attracted attendees and presenters from not only the Washington, DC area, but also Canada, Germany, Kenya, and beyond. While MeetBSD caters to Silicon Valley BSD enthusiasts on even years, vBSDcon caters to East Coast and DC area enthusiasts on odd years. Verisign was again the key sponsor of vBSDcon 2019 but this year made a conscious effort to entrust the organization of the event to a team of community members led by Dan Langille, who you probably know as the lead BSDCan organizer. The result of this shift was a low key but professional event that fostered great conversation and brainstorming at every turn. Fortunately, the food budget remained the same and the vBSDcon catering was excellent as always.

Paul Vixie warning us about DNS over HTTPS (A.K.A. D’oh!)

vBSDcon kicked off with a hackathon on Thursday where people worked on projects and slides, caught up with one another, and managed their jet lag with a combination of conversation and visits to the many local food options. The talks kicked off the next day with Paul Vixie’s timely, in-depth analysis of DNS over HTTPS and its risks. This was followed by John Baldwin’s tour of the In-Kernel TLS work being done by Netflix, and David Fullard’s talk, “Transitioning from FreeNAS to FreeBSD”, where David described how he learned FreeBSD using a configured FreeNAS system as a starting point. This was all while Brian Callahan hosted a parallel tutorial, “Learning to (Open)BSD through its porting system: an attendee-driven educational session”.

Conor Beh giving an overview of pfSense and FreeNAS

After lunch, Shawn Webb gave his “State of the Hardened Union” about Hardened BSD, and Benedict Reuschling gave an inspiring talk about how his university replaced Oracle database servers with FreeBSD, OpenZFS, and PostgreSQL for their database classes. Wrapping up the day, Michael Lucas gave the talk, “Twenty Years in Jail: FreeBSD Jails, Then and Now” that accompanies his new “FreeBSD Mastery: Jails” book. There were no social events Friday night to allow people to see the Reston and DC areas. This left just enough time for a quick visit to the amazing National Air and Space Museum, Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, just a few miles from the hotel and several people made a pilgrimage there before and after the event.

The Thursday night social event

Day Three of vBSDcon kicked off with Colin Percival’s talk, “23 years of software side channel attacks”, followed by Allan Jude’s, “Explain it to me like I’m five: ZFS Caching” talk, and Michael Dexter’s, “By the numbers: ZFS Performance Results from Six Operating Systems and Their Derivatives”, in which he compared the performance of OpenZFS on TrueOS, FreeNAS, CentOS, Debian, NetBSD, OmniOSCE, Oracle Solaris, macOS, Hyper-V Core, and Windows. Following lunch was Conor Beh’s talk, “FreeBSD at Work: Building Network and Storage Infrastructure with pfSense and FreeNAS” which gave a great introduction to using pfSense and FreeNAS to build business network infrastructure. Next came Kurt Mosiejczuk’s heartfelt talk, “Care and Feeding of OpenBSD Porters”, and finally Aaron Poffenberger’s talk, “Road Warrior Disaster Recovery: Secure, Synchronized, and Backed-up.”

Benedict and Allan of BSD Now with Patrick of BSDTV

Day Three of vBSDcon 2019 wrapped up with a BSDCan-inspired auction and a social event that continued the friendly and honest discussions fostered by the relaxed environment. Many thanks to Verisign for making vBSDcon possible and the FreeBSD Foundation for their tote bag sponsorship. We look forward to seeing you at MeetBSD 2020 and vBSDcon 2021!
You can check out the presentations from vBSDCon 2019 here.

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