Ten talks you shouldn’t miss at the Cassandra Summit

By Jonathan Ellis -  May 8, 2013 | 0 Comments

After last year's Summit, the main improvement attendees wanted to see was an expansion to two days. We listened, and we have hands down the most impressive lineup of talks I can remember seeing at any conference. Accenture, Barracuda Networks, Blue Mountain Capital, Comcast, Constant Contact, Dell, eBay, Fusion-io, Intuit, Microsoft, Netflix, Sony, Splunk, Spotify, Walmart, and more, all at one event to share their Cassandra experience.

Here are some of the talks that I'm personally most excited to see:

  1. Time for a new relationship - Intuit's journey from RDBMS to Cassandra: I'm leading with this one on purpose, because I can't wait to see Intuit's description from the trenches of migrating from an RDBMS to Cassandra. Remember when the conventional wisdom was that you couldn't trust financial data to anything but a relational database? Step one is not losing data, and durability has been designed in to Cassandra from the start, unlike much of the competition. Step two is living without the rest of ACID, and Cassandra experts like Matt Dennis have been showing how to apply eventual consistency to financial data for some time. Understanding the advantages this generates for business is starting to hit the mainstream. Intuit's talk will help lay this myth to rest for good.
  2. Building a Scalable Time-Series Database with Cassandra: Expect deep technical information on how to get the most performance possible out of a production workload, updated from Jake and Carl's well-done talk from NYC* earlier this year. This talk at the Summit will include more performance tuning results, a discussion of upgrading Cassandra live, and generalizing their data store to be a generic object store instead of just time series data. Also of note: this is one of the first production applications built entirely on CQL.
  3. Buy It Now! Cassandra at eBay: Jay gave one of the best talks at last year's Summit. I'm excited to see what his team has done since then and what lessons he has to share. Related: Managing Cassandra at eBay Scale.
  4. Suicide Prevention Using Social Media and Cassandra. Big data has been dismissively summarized as figuring out how to get people to click on more ads. Definitely a feel-good story for me to see a counterpoint like this.
  5. Migrating from MySQL to Cassandra: Michael upgraded his production cluster at Barracuda Networks to Cassandra 1.2.0 the day it was released. I'm pretty sure that's what Nietzsche had in mind when he said, "That which does not kill me makes me stronger;" I'm looking forward to Michael's war stories.
  6. The Perils and Triumphs of using Cassandra at a .NET/Microsoft Shop: I never thought I'd see the words "Hector," "IKVM," and "production" in the same sentence. Someone should make this into a T-shirt. It's almost a shame that the Native CQL .NET driver is making this stack obsolete.
  7. Pushing Cassandra's Boundaries: (Re)-Building the Social Grid for Global Telcos @ 1/10th the Market Cost: Openwave has been pushing Cassandra hard with their messaging suite for a couple years now. They've been especially active in pushing the envelope on dense, many-TB-per-machine deployments. This is a space that's seeing increasing attention this year, so I plan to pay attention to pioneers like Openwave.
  8. Real-time Analytics Using Cassandra and Spark/Shark: Ooyala is another experienced Cassandra shop, and has built their own inputformat that understands their custom indexing solution. The Shark driver then uses that. Very interesting, especially if you're looking for examples of what you can do with open APIs and some custom code. Ooyala is also presenting the talk on Linux and Cassandra Tuning.
  9. The State of CQL: A deep dive into modern CQL, by Sylvain Lebresene, the man who has written most of it. This is the future of Cassandra. Also recommended: Patrick McFadin's talk, The World's Next Top Data Model. Patrick has been teaching CQL data modeling for longer than anyone and is on a mission to demystify CQL from a user's point of view; after this session, you will be ready to be dangerous with the new CQL drivers.
  10. Last but not least, Distributed Graph Computing with Titan and Faunus: graph computing is still a bit niche, but a growing one. Titan is a distributed graph database built on Cassandra, integrated with the popular TinkerPop graph stack. Titan is making rapid progress and already has production users.

Cassandra is going mainstream, and we expect an even more diverse crowd at this year's Summit. Besides Cassandra experts, we will see many new developers as well as relational DBAs, managers, and executives. Check out the sessions and schedule pages to see the content we have lined up for these audiences as well. Register today with the code SFSummit25 for a 25% discount!

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