qcon2009sf: other talks

Posted by anton
on Monday, February 01, 2010

for completeness sake, in addition to outstanding talks, i should mention a few others that were memorable.

i caught the second half of eric “DDD” evans talk – it was moving at a glacial pace (a trait of a professional consultant that is paid by the hour?) and was terribly overcrowded, but i liked what i heard. he took the roundabout path to get to the importance of evolution of the existing systems, but he made his point well with some great insights along the way. i have been setting aside his book for years, and i know it is long overdue, but i should read it.

i was surprised that none of the talks on the “cool stuff with java” track appeared all that cool to me. perhaps i have already looked at the tech behind them too closely, and the talks did not offer much on top of that.

nevertheless, project voldemort talk was a good refresher on brewer’s CAP theorem, consistent hashing (or DHTs), amazon’s "dynamo". i wish it were more technical, since the devil is in the details, and i wish there was more comparisons to other systems in this landscape (e.g. cassandra which seems to be further ahead).

hadoop is pretty much a household name these days, so a generic intro to the tech and its ecosystem did not do much for me. still, having built and run ETL environments in the past, i think that anyone in this position must consider hadoop these days – after all, if your ETL environment is trying to scale vertically and is using one of the big boys’ mammoth software, then it will make sense to compare 1MM for the license + hardware costs with 100K for commodity hardware + free software. this is a subject for a whole different post though.

by the end of the conference i have acquired a nervous twitch each time i heard another attempt at cloud computing definition. i did like stu charlton’s talk though – he had a good business perspective, and although i do not believe in his product, i would be keeping an eye on it, since they are trying to solve a real problem.

finally, i was disappointed by my own reception of “architectures you’ve always wondered about” track. facebook, linkedin, amazon – i think i’ve already knew enough about them, so signal to noise ratio in these talks was too low for me, and i could not justify staying there for long.

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