April 9th, 2014

DataStax Trip in Europe Part I was created by Rebecca Mills, Junior Evangelist for Apache Cassandra at DataStax.

Hey guys, what an incredible experience I’ve had! I just got back from a whirlwind tour of Europe promoting Apache Cassandra with Chief Evangelist Patrick McFadin (@PatrickMcfadin), which included a series of exciting meetups and events. The energy and enthusiasm from Cassandra users in Europe was amazing! Though still slightly jet-legged and having yet to catch up on my sleep, I’m here to tell you about the waves Cassandra is creating across the ocean.

Warsaw, Poland

Our first stop was Warsaw, Poland. Poland has a relatively new economy, so the prospect of bring new NoSQL/Cassandra technology to them was quite exciting. After a lengthy flight, we were met by the smiling face Piotr Kolaczkowski(@pkolaczk), Team Lead Analytics and Software Engineer at Datastax. He was the organizer of that evening’s meet up at the Warsaw University of Technology with the Warsaw Cassandra Users Group. We soon forgot our exhaustion and I could feel the excitement build as we headed headed to the meet up. It took place in a lecture hall and slowly people began trickling in. Before we knew it, the room was packed and there was standing room only. I was amazed how we had over the RSVP count. That never happens. Patrick gave a great presentation on time series with Cassandra. After pizza, the crowd was still hungry for more Cassandra knowledge, and Piotr convinced Patrick to take the crowd for a tour down the Cassandra read and write paths. It was intense and the crowd ate it up. Patrick was bombarded with questions at the end and it wasn’t till late that we ended up leaving.


Piotr Kolaczkowski did a great job of organizing the event in Warsaw, a relatively new market of Cassandra users.

Dundee, Scotland

After a late night in beautiful Warsaw, we caught an early succession of flights, making our way to Dundee, Scotland. Andy Cobley(@AndyCobley), lecturer at the University of Dundee computer science department and the organiser of the Dundee Cassandra Meetup Group, picked us up at the airport. Andy had organized a Datastax Data Challenge for his class, where groups of students had to design an application around Cassandra. I helped Andy and Patrick judge the competition, and it was definitely a tough choice to choose a first, second, and third place out of so many neat projects.Everyone did a great job but we finally settled on three very worthy projects and the group members were awarded prizes from Datastax.

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Cool projects using Cassandra from the students at the university of Dundee.

With so many unique and creative projects, it was difficult to choose the winner. Later that evening there was a Cassandra meetup at the university, and what a great turnout! Many more students turned out than expected and I gave my talk on Getting Started with Apache Cassandra while Patrick gave time series another go. I’m very interested in bringing more NoSQL/Cassandra to universities, so It was nice to see so many young eager minds interested in and asking questions about Cassandra.

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Great turnout at the meetup at the University of Dundee in Scotland. Young minds drawn by awesome tech and free meetup beer.

London, England

After we arrived at the airport, we were picked up by EMEA community marketing manager Ale(@ale_amurray) and we made our way to the Proud Archivist, a hip gallery/restaurant and a great venue for the 4 hour Cassandra Training Session that Patrick was going to do. Seats filled quickly and there was hardly enough power plugs for everyone in attendance, which lead to some cooperation and compromise. Patrick got people setting up an instance and working with CQL. He also introduced them to time series and took a deep dive in the the read and write path. I helped people set up their instance and answered any questions they had along the way. Later in the session we lost power after popping breakers from all the juice we had been sucking, but that problem was quickly resolved by the staff. Patrick’s presentation was a hit and we ended up staying late answering questions until the Proud Archivist staff began urging us out the door. With the popularity of this training session, I can definitely see us doing more of these in our future.

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4 hours Cassandra tutorial in London, England. These guys are hardcore, I didn’t even see anyone get up to use the bathroom.

Next up, part 2 of our great adventure!