October 31, 2013
If you attended RICON West, we’d love to hear your feedback! Please fill out the survey here.
Thanks to everyone who helped make the sold-out RICON West a huge success! RICON has come a long way in just one year and we are excited to see how it grows and evolves in the future.
RICON West featured over 25 speakers from academia and industry, including speakers from Basho, Google, Microsoft Research, Netflix, Salesforce, Seagate, The Weather Company, and Twitter. Over two days, they discussed the theory, practice, and importance of running distributed systems in production as well as some predictions on what’s in store for the future. Over the next few weeks, we will be posting slides and videos from all of the talks on both ricon.io and the blog.
In case you missed it, we also received some great press. Here’s a quick recap:
- “Salesforce’s data-center design: ‘Go for web scale, and build it out of s**t!’“
- “What do we want? Strong consistency! When do we… oh, it’s in Riak v2“
What’s next for RICON? With three conferences already under our belt, we are excited to get to work on RICON Europe (our first international conference!) and continue RICON East. Keep an eye on Ricon.io and our blog for more details.
RICON West was also paired with a one-day Riak training. We plan on making these a more regular occurrence all over the country.
October 7, 2013
RICON West, Basho’s distributed systems conference, is quickly approaching at the end of October. This event will feature speakers from both academia and industry, presenting on a wide variety of distributed systems topics. This installment of RICON will be the largest to date and it would not be possible without our amazing sponsors.
Similar to the RICON speaker lineup, the sponsors stem from a variety of different industries. Current sponsors include Seagate, Engine Yard, Yammer, Google, SoftLayer, and Tower3. Additionally, this year RICON has its first media sponsorship from The Register. The Register’s Jack Clark has put together a list of the sessions that he’s most excited about attending in his article, “Distributed Systems Boffins Flock to RICON West.”
RICON West will be at the St. Regis in San Francisco from October 29-30th. In addition to the conference, Basho will be hosting a one-day Riak training the day before (October 28th). Be sure and grab tickets to both before they sell out!
October 1, 2013
On October 29-30th, RICON West will take over the St. Regis in San Francisco. RICON is Basho’s distributed systems conference that brings together engineers, developers, scientists, and architects. You can purchase tickets for this almost sold-out event here: ricon-west-2013.eventbrite.com/
This year’s keynote speaker is Jeff Dean, Google Fellow at Google Inc. His talk entitled, “The Tail at Scale: Achieving Rapid Response Times in Large Online Services,” will describe a collection of techniques and practices that lower response times in large distributed systems whose components run on shared clusters of machines, where pieces of these systems are subject to interference by other tasks, and where unpredictable latency hiccups are the norm, not the exception. He will also share examples of how these techniques are used in various pieces of Google’s systems infrastructure and in various higher-level online services.
RICON West also features speakers from academia and industry, including: Peter Bailis (UC Berkeley), Justin Sheehy (Basho), Pat Helland (Salesforce.com), Jeff Hodges (Twitter), Diego Ongaro (Stanford University), Susan Potter (Finsignia), Ryland Degnan and Jason Brown (Netflix), Miles O’Connell (StackMob), Derek Murray (Microsoft), Raja Selvaraj and Arvinda Gillella (The Weather Company), and many others.
If you’ll be in San Francisco on Oct. 28th, we will also be hosting a full-day Riak training. This training will teach you everything you need to know to start building highly available, scalable systems on Riak. Tickets to both the training and RICON are still available.
Be sure to grab tickets to RICON West before they sell out and see you in San Francisco!
June 4, 2013
If you’re interested in learning more about Riak, tune in this Friday, June 7th at 11am PT/2pm ET for an Intro to Riak webcast. You can sign up for this 30-minute webcast here.
This webcast will cover:
- Riak’s architecture, properties, and principles
- How to build apps with Riak’s key/value data model
- APIs and client libraries
- Deploying Riak in the cloud with AWS, Engine Yard, Azure, and more
- Common use cases for a variety of industries including advertising, retail, and mobile
- Case studies from users such as Copious, Yammer, Voxer, and OpenX
We will also be available after the webcast to answer any questions that you might have. You can register for the Intro to Riak webcast here.
April 26, 2012
At Basho we love Yammer. Besides making a product that we rely on internally, they are long-time Riak fans and advocates, and have built a large Riak cluster to power notifications for their entire user base. But not every use case is a fit for Riak. Running multiple databases in production is not uncommon, and skilled engineering teams like Yammer’s will always select the best tool for the job.
To that end, Ryan Kennedy, Yammer’s Director of Core Services, presented at BashoChats 003 about some of the impressive work that he and his colleagues are doing with Berkeley DB. He goes in depth on how they came to select BDB, what they added on top of Berkeley to ensure it could scale and satisfy their availability requirements, and what their data set and request profile look like in production. There’s a lot of worthwhile and valuable information in here. (Ryan’s slides are here if you’re interested in the PDF.
Enjoy, and if you’re interested in speaking at a future BashoChats meetup, email me – email@example.com. Also, if you want to work with companies like Yammer, Twitter, Square, Simple, LinkedIn, and Basho building distributed systems, you should be at the next meetup. Keep an eye on the Meetup page for details.
June 27, 2011
This was originally posted on themarkphillips.com. Please use the original post for all comments.
When someone asks me, “Where is Basho located?”, I usually respond with something along the lines of: “Much like Riak, we are completely distributed.” Some three years ago our team was all working out of Cambridge, MA (which is still our headquarters). Slowly but surely the team grew in size, but it quickly became apparent that requiring all employees to work in the same geographic location would result in us missing out on some talented and downright brilliant people. So we resolved to “hire where the talent is.”
As it stands right now we have physical offices in Cambridge, MA and San Francisco. The team, however, is now completely distributed; in addition to Cambridge and San Francisco (and several other CA cities), we have people in Oregon, Oklahoma (various locations), Florida, Colorado (various locations), New Jersey, North Carolina, Minnesota, Virginia (various locations), Maryland (various locations), Idaho, New York, Germany, and the UK. The latest tally put our entire team at just over thirty people.
Hiring where the talent is means we don’t sacrifice great hires for location, but it also presents various hurdles when attempting to build culture and community. Anyone who works at a startup or as part of a small team can speak to the importance of culture. It’s crucial that distributed employees feel as though they are part of a tight-knit crew. If you show up every day and your engagement with your coworkers doesn’t go much beyond a few passing phrases in a chat client, you should be doing more. The leadership at Basho made it clear many moons ago that we were going to work hard to build culture and community. Just because you’re committing code 1000 miles from your nearest colleague doesn’t mean you need to feel like they are 1000 miles away.
I spend most of my time pursuing ways to strengthen and extend the various external communities that are growing out Basho’s open source software, but I thought it might be useful to examine what we do internally to build community and culture. As should be apparent, we’re not doing anything too crazy or innovative with the ways we connect and collaborate across states and countries. But it’s the little things that matter when culture is concerned at a distributed company, and I think we do a lot of the little things well.
For as long as I can remember, Basho has used Jabber for real-time chat collaboration. This is where we spend most of our time conversing, and the entire company idles in one room we call “bashochat.” At any given time you can find any number of conversations happening concurrently; several developers might be chasing down a finicky bug while several others are discussing the merits of the latest cat meme. Hundreds (if not thousands) of messages fly through here daily. At times it can get a bit distracting, so signing off to focus is encouraged and done often. We also just started logging bashochat to make sure that those who are out for the day or signed off to chase a corner case can stay in the loop.
In addition to Jabber, the Client Services Team also uses Campfire as their chat software of choice (for various reasons). There’s certainly no reason why multiple chat programs can’t co-exist under the same corporate umbrella. Basho is flexible, and if it works for your team, go with it.
Interacting via Skype serves as a great compliment to what happens in Jabber (even if Skype itself offers less than five nines of uptime). Everyone uses Skype at least once daily for our morning status call. We are still small enough where getting the majority of the company on the phone for a 10 minute status call is feasible, so we do it. Topics range from “What’s the current status of bug fix X for customer Y?” to “Did you get any questions at yesterday’s meetup talk that you couldn’t answer?” Video chats are also invaluable, and jumping on Skype to speak “face-to-face” for even five minutes is incredibly worthwhile and serves to reinforce the team feel (especially when a new hire is coming aboard).
Yammer is a great piece of software, and it recently worked its way into our suite of collaboration tools. When it was first introduced to our team (around the beginning of this year) I was a bit skeptical of how well it was going to work for us. We already use Jabber quite heavily. How would the two co-exist? Since then Yammer has become the home for low-volume, high quality messages that deserve more than just a passing glance or ephemeral response. In other words, the signal to noise ratio in Yammer is much higher; links to blog posts about Riak (or our competition), results of a long running benchmark (complete with graphs), or links to a new GitHub repo are all typical of what appears on Yammer. That said, the message volume has been growing steadily over the past months, and I’m curious and interested to see how this tool evolves for us.
At some point you have to actually meet and physically interact with your colleagues. To this end, we’ve been doing quarterly developer meetups for about six quarters now. These are 3-5 day gatherings of the entire team where it’s business as usual, with the exception of some team building activities scattered throughout the week. Lots of amazing ideas and and moments are born at these meetups, and we all look forward to them.
Basho is firing on all cylinders right now (fixing more bugs, writing more features, closing more deals, resolving more tickets, etc.), and I believe that our dedication to building a distributed culture and community internally has had a lot to do with it. Though Basho’s “system” is still a work in progress, in my opinion we’ve managed to build a strong internal community and culture that lends itself to heightened levels of productivity and overall happiness. We are still relatively small (right around 30, as I stated above) and making this scale will surely be a challenge. And I’m sure that the tools we use will change, too, to accommodate our needs (speaking of which, where is the Skype replacement already?).
You can’t force community and culture. It starts with how you hire and is tested every day (whether you’re working in the same physical location or not). Build (or seek out) a team that is committed to making something special across the board. Collaboration tools and processes will follow according, and they should compliment and enhance the way you work, not dictate it.
March 28, 2011
What’s the best way to start off the week? With an awesome presentation from some very talented engineers about building a Riak-backed service.
This video, which runs about 40 minutes, was recorded last week at the San Francisco Riak Meetup and is worth every minute of your time. Coda Hale and Ryan Kennedy of Yammer give an excellent and in depth look into how they built “Streamie”, why Riak was the right choice, and the lessons learned in the process.
* The PDF of the slide presentation can be viewed here
* Around the five minute mark Coda references a paper called “The Declarative Imperative: Experiences and Conjectures in Distributed Logic.”
* If you are interested in talking about your Riak usage, get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll get the word out.
There weren’t too many questions asked at the end of the presentation so we decided to cut them out of the recording in the interest of time. Apologies for this. Here they are:
- What local storage backend are you using? Bitcask.
- How many keys are you currently storing? Around 5 million.
- What is the average value size? Under 10K
- Can you share your hardware specs? Bare-metal, standard servers: 8-core, 16GB RAM, SATA drives.