iNOG, a non-traditional NOG

By on 5 Jul 2018

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Last month, I participated in the 16th edition of the Ireland Network Operators’ Group meeting, iNOG::10, which coincided with a Network Operator Tools Hackathon (read about my experience at this event).

::10 is 16 expressed in hexadecimal, something I’m glad I realized before asking if the number of their meeting was wrong.

This was the first time I had attended an iNOG and I learned that they began as informal meetups and have continued as volunteer-run events held every quarter. You don’t have to have an ASN to participate; you just need to have an interest in network engineering (watch Cristian Sirbu’s presentation on the history of iNOG below, which he gave at RIPE 76).

The meetings are very casual and usually take place during the evening, over beers and pizzas at a host company’s offices — past venues include Google, Amazon, and Airbnb’s Dublin offices.

Like all NOG events, socializing and networking is an important part of iNOG. This is why the first half hour of the meeting was reserved for sharing food and drinks. During this time, attendees were encouraged to take a selfie with someone they hadn’t met before and share it on Twitter (of course with their consent!) to win a prize. This was a great conversation starter! When chatting, attendees were also asked to keep their circle open so that others can join the conversation easily.

After socializing, the organizers formally welcomed the participants and read the Code of Conduct, summarizing it to “be excellent to each other”.

The organizers try to keep the agenda short, comprising three to four presentations. Four people, including myself, presented at iNOG::10: Vesna Manojlovic (RIPE NCC) presented on ‘Ethics in Technology’; Matt Oswalt and David Gee (Juniper Networks) talked about ‘Network Reliability Engineering — Automation’s North Star’; I discussed my ongoing project ‘BGP Data Collection in the AP Region — Creating better local maps’; and Eric Leahy and Daniele Vazzola (Workday) gave a presentation on ‘How to monitor yourself for free!’.

A progressive quiz was held between talks, which I thought was a nice touch to keep people engaged and allowed for more goodies to be won.

Although there was a hard stop at 10 pm, most participants reconvened at a bar near the venue. Overall it was a great experience to see how a NOG community on the other side of the world to APNIC’s region carries out its meetings, and network with a new and enthusiastic group of network operators.

If you’ve attended NOG events in economies other than your own before, it would be great to hear your thoughts in the comments section below on any things they did that helped encourage discussion and create a productive meeting.

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The views expressed by the authors of this blog are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views of APNIC. Please note a Code of Conduct applies to this blog.

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