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A look back at Cassandra Summit 2012

By Billy Bosworth, CEO -  August 10, 2012 | 0 Comments

The 2012 Cassandra Summit, held at the Santa Clara convention center, was by all accounts an outstanding success. With well over 800 attendees, attendance was nearly double last year’s event, and more than quadruple the number of the first summit held just two years ago. The all-star speaker line up presented no-fluff sessions that demonstrated how real-world, big data problems are being solved with Cassandra; and the continuous Meet-The-Experts Q&A sessions jumpstarted countless new projects.  It’s safe to say that attendees felt the Summit was well worth their investment.

The show kicked off with an energetic drum performance by San Jose Taiko and a brief welcome message from me. Next, Jonathan Ellis, DataStax co-founder and Apache Cassandra chair, took the stage and provided attendees with a great “Yesterday vs. Today” look at Cassandra.  Rounding out the keynote was our other co-founder, Matt Pfeil, introducing our new DataStax MVP for Apache Cassandra Program and presenting the inaugural inductees.

Cassandra 1.2, due out this fall, was previewed and attendees were very excited about key new features such as virtual nodes (“vnodes”), better hardware failure detection for JBOD deployments, and support for new datatypes (sets, lists, and maps), which those coming from document data model DBMS's will especially appreciate.

Jonathan also highlighted a number of customer use cases where Cassandra shines over RDBMS and other NoSQL offerings. But as they say, the proof is in the pudding, and there is nothing better than learning directly about real customer use cases from the likes of Disney, Netflix, eBay, and Accenture, all of which presented at the event.

We then moved to the breakout sessions, and almost every presentation was packed to capacity.  We had DataStax team members give their seats to attendees and stand at the back of the room, only to then relinquish their position at the back of the room to more folks coming in a few minutes late.  We tried our best to accommodate everyone and my apologies to anyone who was inconvenienced by the crowds.

Here are some highlights from the sessions (all presentations are now available):

  • Interest in the combination of Cassandra plus enterprise search with Solr is growing by leaps and bounds as evidenced by the overflowing attendance (out into the hall!) at Jason Rutherglen’s talk on the subject.
  • Jay Patel from eBay showed attendees how Cassandra drives a number of key production aspects on their website, with over 200TB’s of data now under Cassandra management and multi-data center deployments now using DataStax Enterprise for both Cassandra real-time data and Hadoop analytics.
  • Arun Jacob from Disney demonstrated how Cassandra powers their internal big data platform that includes a massive number of enterprise search operations with Solr  - handled through DataStax Enterprise - across multiple data centers.
  • Eddie Satterly, now with Splunk, showcased how a top online travel booking site uses Cassandra and Solr (via DataStax Enterprise) to create a next-generation platform to service their website customers and managed to save over seven figures in cost at the same time!
  • Adrian Cockcroft of Netflix presented how they make Cassandra scale and scream on AWS.

Of course, there were too many excellent presentations to list them all, including: in-depth query tuning discussions (packed to the gills), data modeling tutorials, architecture best practice sessions, and many more. The day finished with a very well attended party at the Computer History Museum, were we all had the chance to unwind with delicious food, C*’s own official beer and a live DJ.

If you missed this year’s Summit, we’ve posted the presentations online and will shortly have the videos of all the sessions ready for viewing.

We want to thank the sponsors of Cassandra12, along with all the companies and speakers who helped us put on a first class event.

I also want to thank the entire DataStax team for being great hosts and having an amazing “How can I help you?” attitude!  You rock!

Already looking forward to next year’s conference…. C*….#Cassandra13…!

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