I was able to attend Velocity conference most of the past week. I had a lot of meetings with various clients, prospects, and was able to meet two new mobile APM companies which were not on my radar screen. Look for the Mobile APM research to publish in the next couple weeks. I met a lot of interesting and very smart engineers, entrepreneurs, and thought leaders at the conference.
Velocity is full of very technical engineers who care about performance, this is the best conference for those interested in APM. The main difference is that these attendees aren’t the decision makers, but they are the implementers of large scale environments, and they understand how important performance is. Most of these guys would rather build custom solutions leveraging open source than necessarily buy software in general, it doesn’t detract from the conference, it’s just different than many of the other conferences out there. The talks are incredibly technical, but extremely interesting from my perspective. I’ll run through a few interesting ones.
The week started out with a great presentation by Theo Schlossnagle (@postwait) you can find the slides here : http://www.slideshare.net/postwait/monitoring-and-observability-23201316 He has an interesting perspective on monitoring, and breaks down the difference between push and pull monitoring technologies, he then explains how the focus should be on the execution of business versus the metrics of the systems, but he then goes into a very DYI explaination of accomplishing this. This is a great presentation explaining the fundamental differences between commercial software solutions and the best fit solution (normally crafted by talented engineering).
I then attended at Etsy presentation by Abe Stanway @abestanway and Jon Cowie @jonlives spoke about how Etsy handles continuous deployment and the processing of a staggering number of metrics. They use a combination of open source and custom built tools to collect, process, store, and run analytics on data in order to anticipate and prevent problems. They do 30 deploys per day, and everyone deploys code. They agree (as I do) that Nagios is pretty ineffective on it’s own, but it can be used to collect data in a useful manner for other purposes. Here is the Etsy anomaly detection engine which processes metrics from multiple data sources https://github.com/etsy/skyline , combined with the correlation engine Oculus https://github.com/etsy/oculus you have a pretty powerful high volume metric processing system. The slides can be found here : https://speakerdeck.com/astanway/bring-the-noise-continuously-deploying-under-a-hailstorm-of-metrics
Interesting talk by Dylan Richards @dylanr on how they amazingly built and executed the Obama campaign. I loved the failure testing stories towards the end. The video of his talk is here : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LCZT_Q3z520&feature=youtu.be
The last thing I was impressed by was a talk from Ilya Grigorik (Google) @igrigorik about the use of the public domain http://httparchive.org/ data for understanding all kinds of information about the way the web is constructed. I wasn’t even aware of this data set, additionally aside from loading the 500G of data into your own mysql data source google has made this data publicly accessible using bigquery. Ilya builds some interesting queries within bigquery, and then moves onto using Google Docs spreadsheets to drive bigquery searches, graphing, and results. Overall very impressive show of what these tools can do, and what’s available to the public. Video of Ilya’s talk is here : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bhUMHKJf3r4
Overall a great conference, sorry I didn’t attend the Gartner Infrastructure and Operations Management (IOM) conference in Orlando, but I will definitely be at Gartner Data Center in December. Off to Cisco Live tomorrow, and finally my month of travel and trade shows ends.
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