Dreams of disaster at SurgeCon 2011

I recently attended Surge 2011 and thought I would publish some twitter notes and thoughts about the experience. This was the first conference I’ve attended in some time that wasn’t focused on a particular language (like ZendCon) and it was great that Surge was held right here in downtown Baltimore.

Day One

Node js / Chef / Riak

nanderoo Neal Anders Really wish I could be in two places at once for the #riak and #chef training today at #surgecon – until then it’s time to hack some node.js

– riak

rustyio Rusty Klophaus by nanderoo Riak 1.0 shipped! So much good stuff is in this release: blog.basho.com/2011/09/30/Ria… #nosql #basho #riak
nanderoo Neal Anders Great News! Was stuck compiling #erlang RT @seancribbs: @nanderoo We will have pre-built installs for Mac, deb/ubu, centos. #riak #surgecon

– chef

jtimberman Joshua Timberman by nanderoo Chef Repository used in the Chef Training at SurgeCon 2011: github.com/jtimberman/sur… #opschef #surgecon
nanderoo Neal Anders Have to say my favorite session so far today at #surgecon has been the node.js hackathon – bummed I didn’t attend the #riak session.
keithf4 Keith Fiske by nanderoo Can definitely tell who’s tweeting from #surgecon with autocorrect. Lot of “risk” training going on.
nanderoo Neal Anders In the Chef Training (presented by @opscode) at #surgecon
nanderoo Neal Anders #surgecon “your system is running low on virtual memory” twitpic.com/6rydk1
nanderoo Neal Anders @dlutzy @saschabates Would have to check with the #mongodb folks on that – I’ve only seen it partitioned into slices. #surgecon #pizza
nanderoo Neal Anders #surgecon pizza != webscale – should have gone with @nathenharvey for sushi
nanderoo Neal Anders RT: @JonWChicago: LUNCHException: pizza not found. #surgecon yfrog.com/g0x7pzj
nanderoo Neal Anders Pizza and hacking node.js at #surgecon nom nom
nanderoo Neal Anders Anyone know whats on the menu today for lunch at #surgecon ? All this node.js talk is making me hungry. #NoBreakfast

DayTwo

Ben Fried – Keynote Address:

solarce Brandon Burton by nanderoo “The hallmark of a professional is a dedication to self improvement” Ben Fried #surgecon
dje Darrin Eden by nanderoo root cause of scalability failure: cultural #surgecon
richparet Rich Paret by nanderoo Google’s Ben Fried: industrial era notion of org scale via job specialization needs to be discounted. #surgecon
solarce Brandon Burton by nanderoo “cult of devops!!” #surgecon
dje Darrin Eden by nanderoo scalability requires generalists and deep, end-to-end understanding. #surgecon
freire_da_silva Alexandre Freire by nanderoo Root cause of google’s ben fried’s disaster porn: scaling the organization by specialization! Nobody knew the whole system! #surgecon
joshu joshua schachter by nanderoo i am gonna start a CS journal where to get published you have to include your code. because i don’t believe this shit works half the time.
obfuscurity Jason Dixon by nanderoo “If you save it until the last minute you only need a minute to fix it.” #surgecon
obfuscurity Jason Dixon by nanderoo Disaster porn. #surgecon

Artur Bergman – A journey throu the full stack in search of performance and reliability:

solarce Brandon Burton by nanderoo “everything is shit. (but you should make it better)” paraphrasing @crucially #surgecon
solarce Brandon Burton by nanderoo Circular sharding. It’s webscale.
saschabates Sascha by nanderoo Artur Bergman: the most colorful speaker at #surgecon
solarce Brandon Burton by nanderoo If *you* didn’t fix it, it ain’t *fixed*. –@crucially #surgecon
nanderoo Neal Anders Why I attend conferences like #surgecon : @crucially ‘s “full stack” session is all meat and potatoes so far – #deepdive #nofluff #nohype
nanderoo Neal Anders In Artur Bergman: “A journey through the full stack in search of performance and reliability” at #surgecon

Hubert Fonseca and Andre Calvani – Using complex event processing to gather information from infrastructure:

nanderoo Neal Anders In “Using complex event processing to gather information from infrastructure” by Hubert Fonseca and André Galvani at #surgecon

Maxwell Luebbe, Dr. Jia Guo, and Raymind Blum – Google group session:
solarce Brandon Burton by nanderoo “everything is shit. (but you should make it better)” paraphrasing @crucially #surgecon
solarce Brandon Burton by nanderoo Circular sharding. It’s webscale.
saschabates Sascha by nanderoo Artur Bergman: the most colorful speaker at #surgecon
solarce Brandon Burton by nanderoo If *you* didn’t fix it, it ain’t *fixed*. –@crucially #surgecon
nanderoo Neal Anders Why I attend conferences like #surgecon : @crucially ‘s “full stack” session is all meat and potatoes so far – #deepdive #nofluff #nohype
nanderoo Neal Anders In Artur Bergman: “A journey through the full stack in search of performance and reliability” at #surgecon

Robert Treat – Address vendor weaknesses in user-space:

nanderoo Neal Anders Headed over to “Addressing Vendor Weaknesses In User-space” by Robert Treat #surgecon

Panel Discussion – Pushing big data to the cloud:

….??

Day Three

Theo Schlossnagle – Architectures for real-time data:

peschkaj Jeremiah Peschka by nanderoo Fantastic talk by @postwait at #surgecon
nanderoo Neal Anders “write in c, its a cleansing experience” via @postwait #surgecon
nanderoo Neal Anders 350,000 metrics per second – impressive. #surgecon
solarce Brandon Burton by nanderoo “we don’t use Ruby. Our stuff works” @postwait #surgecon
nanderoo Neal Anders “debugging in a distributed system is like playing Russian Roulette” via @postwait #surgecon
solarce Brandon Burton by nanderoo “In “two” months, you may not be able to build the next thing, because you’ll be maintaining the last thing you built” @postwait #surgecon
nanderoo Neal Anders”sharding isnt magic, it is traumatic” #surgecon via @postwait
nanderoo Neal Anders Ready for “Architectures for real-time data” by Theo Schlossnagle but I think my 1st cup of coffee was decaf so I’m only half-here #surgecon

Baron Schwartz – Extracting scalability and performance metrics from TCP traffic:

…?

Mike Panchenko – Building cloud service on a cloud infrastructure:

…?

Wez Furlong – Practical lessons learned in scaling at Message Systems:

chrismunns chrismunns by nanderoo The MessageSystems talk at #surgecon is one of the best. Really interesting architecture. Good job to the speaker
nanderoo Neal Anders “its awesome and its really technical” via @wezfurlong #surgecon
nanderoo Neal Anders Hmnn… “images with a high proportion of skin-tone” #surgecon
nanderoo Neal Anders Post-lunch food coma, just in time for @wezfurlong ‘s “Practical Lessons Learned in Scaling at Message Systems” #surgecon

Rob Cope – Cloudbursting with Amazon EC2 and SQS:

nanderoo Neal Anders “Design for the ‘one in a million’ occurrence.. it happens all the time in the cloud” #cloudbursting #surgecon
nanderoo Neal Anders “SIDS – Sudden Instance Death Syndrome” … “dont even ssh in, just shoot it in the head” #cloudbursting #surgecon
nanderoo Neal Anders Great Tip: Auto Scaling – Set cap to prevent bankruptcy! #cloudbursting #surgecon
nanderoo Neal Anders “Cloudbursting with Amazon EC2 and SQS” by Rod Cope #surgecon

Geir Magnusson – When business models attack:

nanderoo Neal Anders In @geirmagnusson ‘s session – Best slide so far: the one where he showed prod traffic and noted the load testing spike. #testprod #surgecon
thommay Thom May by nanderoo Wondering if @geirmagnusson is going to get a “fn(x) is hiring” line into every slide 🙂 #surgecon
nanderoo Neal Anders “When ever someone uses bullet points in a presentation, a kitten dies.” #surgecon
nanderoo Neal Anders “When Business Models Attack” by Geir Magnusson up next for me at #surgecon
nanderoo Neal Anders Scoring @geirmagnusson ‘s session in my top-3 for #surgecon
papa_fire Leon Fayer by nanderoo One of the best talks of #surgecon by @geirmagnusson to finish it off right! Already looking forward to next year.
nanderoo Neal Anders Does everyone at #surgecon know that @geirmagnusson is hiring? He’s hiring.

– closing session:

nanderoo Neal Anders Closing Session for #surgecon

wezfurlong Wez Furlong by nanderoo Another great #surgecon wrapped up. Props to @OmniTI for gathering a great crowd of tenacious thinkers and doers!

ryancnelson ryan nelson by nanderoo “…point to the place on the doll where the Operating System touched you.” #surgecon

cdferry Chris Ferry by nanderoo So fucking true – “This is why Systems Administrators are angry” – “Packaging other peoples software” #surgecon

Additional Notes:

There where a few articles that came out about the conference

cschammel Chris Schammel by nanderoo Another article about #surgecon on gigaom: goo.gl/cacZg
cschammel Chris Schammel by nanderoo Article on Ben Fried keynote at #surgecon: goo.gl/Pvjiw
keithf4 Keith Fiske by nanderoo Surge 2011 on Slashdot – tech.slashdot.org/story/11/10/01… #surgecon

– no mobile site

– outdated website / breakfas

nanderoo Neal Anders Plenty of coffee and power outlets at #surgecon – no sight of the continental breakfast yet though? #hungry

nanderoo Neal Anders Love the setup for the vendor hall w/ breakfast. Great way to get your munch on and talk w/ folks. #surgecon twitpic.com/6sbzze

– set hard stops for presenters

– links to presenter info (twitter / website)

– video / content online (why not till january?)

– irc channel

nanderoo Neal Anders #surgecon channel up on #freenode for those interested.

– noted tweets:

_tr TR Jordan by nanderoo Give your developers root on production. I think this is the third time I’ve heard this, this time by @beamrider9. #surgecon #gimmeroot
obfuscurity Jason Dixon by nanderoo Another great #surgecon, but what happened to all the failure stories like we had last year?
brennor42 Brennor by nanderoo Sensing some deja vu from yesterday’s sessions… disks suck, networks suck… #surgecon
saschabates Sascha by nanderoo #surgecon emergent theme: complex systems cannot be effectively diagnosed without smart generalists who understand them end to end
cdferry Chris Ferry by nanderoo Push responsibility to the edge. Developers must be on call. Sys Admins should be escalated to. #surgecon
_tr TR Jordan by nanderoo “When the developer deletes the server, what should you do?” “First thing, give them a hug. They probably need it.” #surgecon
dje Darrin Eden by nanderoo If an alert doesn’t have a link directly to a playbook it goes straight to the incident commander. [ed. brilliant!] #surgecon

DenishPatel DenishPatel by nanderoo Interesting method for Software Development ! 1. Build V1 quickly 2. V2 “correctly” /cc @katemats #surgecon
obfuscurity Jason Dixon by nanderoo “If you could do all that why isn’t it automated?” “The short answer is FEAR.” #surgecon
davezwieback Dave Zwieback by nanderoo “Specialization is for insects”. RT @solarce: Was @bfnyc inspired by elise.com/quotes/a/heinl… ? #surgecon

Notes from ZendCon 2010 #zendcon #zc10

Brain dumping ZendCon 2010..  If you find any broken links or have links to slides/people I wasn’t able to find, please let me know! I’m aware that some presenters are holding back their slide decks. And some folks (mostly from the IBM-i sessions) don’t seem to have blogs or twitter accounts?

Overall Impressions:

This was my first ZendCon, and my overall impression is a positive one. I walked away with a much better understand of the community and Zend’s involvement in it. I also was very fortunate to meet many new people from all over the world and of wide skillset and experience. The networking and conversations that took place outside of the sessions and at restaurants or poolside over drinks is where the real connections are made.

Some Highlights:

I didn’t know what to think:

  • The food (breakfast and lunch) where about what you would expect from a conference of this caliber. I found myself more than once wanting to leave the venue at lunch and seek real food. Of exception is the dinner provided at the receptions in the evenings.
  • The vendor expo / floor. What a sad turnout (although I was told it was on-par with last years). All you had to do was walk by the Cloud Expo hall to catch a glimpse of what a real show looks like. I was also told the prize/swag ratio was higher at last year’s conference.
  • The constant fawning by some vendors to recruit the attendees. It was like watching a Jr. High School dance. I wish I could have worn a “got telecommute?” shirt. That would have started conversations with companies I’d be interested in.

Big Letdowns:

There were two main low points for me at the conference:

  • The scheduling snafu that caused Jonathan Wage’s sessions to get canceled. One of the main reasons I was looking forward to ZendCon was the sessions on Doctrine2. I’m not sure what lead to this, and I would hope it was a fluke.
  • The Keynotes and ‘The Cloud’. I’ve been to a few internet/tech conferences, and I’d like to think I can recognize when a presentation is not reaching it’s target audience. Most of the keynotes at ZendCon were no exception. If they were related to Zend products, I’d guess most of the attendees didn’t learn anything new. If the presentation at any point used “cloud” more than once, it instantly lost credibility with me (and I was not alone as many users in the #zendcon IRC channel chimed in similar skepticism). The CloudExpo conference was next door and I wondered more than once if the speaker had wandered into the wrong hall.

Books to read:

Completely Random:

  • Robotic Vacuum Overlords (via @naderman)
  • The Nikon to Canon Ratio – why do most php developers prefer Nikon? (the ratio was 5-1 at the conference by my count)
  • Need to follow-up with David Abdemoulaie (@hobodave) – Re: Doctrine2 pagination
  • My Tweets from the week of ZendCon.
  • I need to brush up on my German and French, learn Russian.

My joind.in Comments:

Sessions and Slides:

Nov 01, 2010

Nov 02, 2010

Nov 03, 2010

Nov 04, 2010

Uncons, etc..  ping me if you have more info on these or others: