I'm at the Internet2 Joint Techs Workshop in Lincoln Nebraska this week. The primary reason I'm attending is actually for 2 events that were "tacked-on" to the main workshop: The MPLS Hands-On Workshop on Sunday and the Netguru meeting today and tomorrow.
The MPLS workshop was a 1 day workshop meant to educate campus network engineer about MPLS and it's application on campus networks. The morning was spent on presentations and the afternoon on hands-on configuration of MPLS in a lab setting. This was the first MPLS workshop and it went extremely well. There were 22 people in attendance. I was an instructor for the workshop and gave about a 1 hour talk on the control-plane for MPLS VPNs. I plan to reuse the material to provide some MPLS instruction for the networking staff at IU.
The second event I'm attending is the Netguru's meeting. Netguru is a small group of network architects from universities around the country. As you might imagine, campus network architects often have lots of challenging problems they're trying to solve and find it very helpful to discuss these with other people who are facing the same challenges. I think it's typical for these folks to have 1 or 2 network architect friends that they discuss issues with on a fairly regular basis. A few years ago I shared a cab ride to an airport with David Richardson and Mark Pepin. David and I got together to discuss networking issues on a fairly regular basis - whenever we were in the same city (David worked at the Univ. of Washington before leaving to work for Amazon). We somehow started talking about how network architects share information and Mark Pepin brought up the idea of starting a small group (10-15 people) of network architects that met in conjunction with the I2 Joint Techs workshop to discuss issues of the day. Thus Netguru was born ! We have a full agenda for this afternoon, dinner tonight and all day tomorrow. I've missed the last 2 meetings, so I'm looking forward to the discussions today and tomorrow.