We hope you enjoyed the sights and sounds of San Francisco. We also hope you left RICON with a few more insights about the world of distributed systems. From cable cars to chaos engineering, San Francisco and the beautiful Westin St. Francis offered a picturesque backdrop for RICON 2015. It’s always a challenge to host a conference, and we’d like to thank you for attending, for your open-minded attitude and for making RICON a successful event.
Early results from our annual event survey reveal more than a few some great insights for future events. Attendee favorites include the venue and breakout sessions. Some do not want the sessions to start so early and also do not want the conference to finish on a Friday. Indications are that there may have been too many keynote presentations. We take this input seriously and take it into account in planning future conferences. Please complete the survey if you haven’t already.
Of course, the week’s main focus was the engaging lineup of talks aimed to inspire and educate. Here are a few that have received a very positive response.
Casey Rosenthal (@caseyrosenthal), the traffic and chaos engineering manager at Netflix, delivered a breakout session entitled “Distributed Chaos Operations.” Audience members enjoyed that Rosenthal “presented some genuinely novel concepts in a polished fashion,” as he dived into how to fortify a distributed system in anticipation of failures. Chaos engineering – increasingly popular even among large-scale operations – is a powerful but trial-and-error endeavor. Rosenthal reminded attendees that even chaos can be described with eloquence.
Bridget Kromhout (@bridgetkromhout), principal technologist for Cloud Foundry at Pivotal Software, discussed the human element of distributed computing in her breakout session, “Distributed: of Systems and Teams.” Kromhout explained how organizations must build the same consistency, availability and fault tolerance into their teams as they do into their distributed systems. As remote workforces rise in popularity it’s important to remember we must enable collaboration and understanding between disparate physical locations – just as we facilitate those functions between system nodes.
Scott Lystig Fritchie (@slfritchie), senior software engineer at Riak Japan KK, spoke to attendees during his track, “Managing Chain Replication Metadata with Humming Consensus.” The terms “chain replication” and “consistency semantics maintenance” might easily leave one tongue-tied. Fritchie, as noted by one commenter, presented that “very complex material in a very creative and humorous way that made things easy to grasp.” Humming Consensus is a new way to manage chain replication metadata, important information that helps ensure a smoothly-run distributed operation.
These three attendee favorites represent only a snapshot of the wide-ranging talk topics that made RICON 2015 what it was. Speakers discussed everything from the history of distributed systems (this talk by Riak’s own Mark Allen is the most popular presentation on our YouTube playlist) and global scaling to geo-replicated data stores and the core fundamentals of distributed systems integration. Presenters hailed from the academic, engineering and organizational leadership backgrounds to provide a truly holistic view of distributed systems and the theory and people behind them.
It’s important to us that RICON guests develop a deeper understanding of distributed systems and the tools they can use to ensure these systems run smoothly. Early survey responses suggest this year’s attendees learned helpful new strategies and techniques from the breakout sessions. Along with knowledge from the highlighted talks, attendees left RICON with an improved knowledge of Riak in production. They also reported that they now feel more capable of solving database challenges they face within their organizations.
On behalf of everyone here at Riak, thank you. Thank you to attendees, speakers and organizers. Special thanks to our sponsors, whose resources helped us upgrade the conference food and the parties, and to the TriFork team who helped with all the conference logistics.
Thank you for making our 2015 conference an educational and engaging experience for everyone involved. We hope you join us for years to come. Please enjoy videos of all our speakers on our Youtube page, here. Pictures from the sessions and parties are here and presentation slides and links to the video recordings for each presentation are available on the speaker page of riak.com