September 15th, 2014

Mark Dunphy (@dunphtastic) is a software engineer on the Behance team at Adobe in New York City. Dunphy’s team is currently in the middle of migrating one of their major features to Cassandra from its existing MongoDB implementation.

Coming from almost no Cassandra experience, the Cassandra Summit 2014 was quite an eye opener.

We arrived at the Westin St. Francis in San Francisco on Wednesday just in time for the welcome reception in the grand ballroom. The reception was massive with fun arcade games including ping pong tables, bag toss, air hockey, a live DJ, open bar, appetizers, and even a 12-player foosball table.

The Datastax community team was really great about showing us around, making introductions and connections to other conference goers. Later on, we made our way to the partner demos just outside of the ballroom and had the opportunity to ask plenty of questions about how they support Cassandra and contribute to the community at large. Some of them, we found, were even working with other teams at Adobe already!

The conference started early Thursday morning. Billy Bosworth (CEO, Datastax) woke us all up with an energetic keynote outlining the big picture for the future of Cassandra and Datastax. Soon after, Jonathan Ellis (CTO, Datastax) came on stage to announce the immediate availability of Cassandra 2.1 introducing some really fantastic new features and serious performance upgrades.

Afterwards, we broke out into various sessions. It was a really long day of talks (12 hours!), but we gained some truly valuable information. There were a few talks that really stood out to me in terms of quality and applicability of information. “Diagnosing Problems in Production” with Jon Haddad and Blake Eggleston was packed full of tips and tricks on how to find issues with your cluster. They even explained some common “gotchas” which is invaluable when moving to a new technology.

John Berryman’s talk, “Understanding CQL3 Inside and Out”, literally had so much amazing information that I couldn’t type my notes down fast enough and had to resort to taking a photo of every slide. But later I found out that these slides will be available on PlanentCassandra soon.

After all of the breakout sessions were over, we prepared for the bar crawl. Datastax was lovely enough to provide us all with some free drinks. For me, the crawl actually may have been one of the most valuable parts of the conference. It was mostly at the bars that I really got to know various members of the community, how they migrated to Cassandra from other platforms, and so on. We made a ton of great friends who I’m sure we’ll be reaching out to later on.

The conference was an unforgettable time filled with wonderful, talented people. Now that it’s all over, we’re itching to get back to work implementing Cassandra in production.

See you all at Cassandra Summit 2015! I wouldn’t miss it for the world.