I have had the luxury of almost 4 months with any real conferences. Don’t get me wrong it is not that I do not enjoy the public speaking side of my job; it is just that I experience it always as rather disruptive. It is great to focus for a while and get things done. And the holiday shopping season is a good excuse to stay home at any e-commerce organization.
I did do a little outing to Washington D.C. to talk a meeting at the National Academies. A study is being done into very large scale systems development and I was invited to give Amazon’s view on this. It was a very interesting workshop where I was really interested in what the other participants would bring to the table. It is amazing to see how many organizations still believe that they can do a massive scale out in process and technology while still maintaining top-down control. They do not seem to understand how unnatural this strict control is. That the only way to achieve this is by resorting to tricks to limit the events that can happen, but that in any real large system you do not have the luxury of predicting and controlling all the events that can happen. Control is an illusion that might work in small systems but in Real Life you cannot maintain this illusion. A nice book to trigger a discussion on these topics is "Creation: Life and How To Make It” by Steve Grand, the inventor of Creatures.
A few talks were looking forward in a more innovative manner and specifically John Vu, one of the Chief Engineers at Boeing, gave an interesting presentation. He also presented a more directional view of where large scale system need to go and his views are not that different from Amazon’s in that self-organizing techniques are crucial for the future of system development.
But now comes a month that I’ll be on the road again. Next week I’ll be in London for the Future of Web Apps conference to talk about Amazon’s Web Scale Computing Platform and the Web Apps that are enabled by combining multiple of these services.
I will be back in London on March 14 for two presentations at QCon. This is a conference for enterprise architects organized by the same folks who organize JAOO. I had such a great time at JAOO last year that I let myself be tricked into give two presentations: one opening keynote on the Amazon Technology Platform, and one presentation on Availability & Consistency where I talk about the different trade-offs you have to make in state management when building very large scale distributed applications.
Two weeks after that I will be back in the US to talk at ETech about Web Scale Computing architectures.