Lewis Pour

DevOps Engineer

AWS Certified

MSc Advanced Internetwork Engineering


Lewis Pour

DevOps Engineer

AWS Certified

MSc Advanced Internetwork Engineering


Blog Post

Like Zoom, but in 3D – Qcon London 2022

June 10, 2022 conferences
Like Zoom, but in 3D – Qcon London 2022

I need to start by saying how refreshing it is to be back at a conference In Person! I had an absolutely great time, networking with people all over the world, shaking peoples hands…and listening to the excellent range of speakers Qcon had to offer.

Here’s how it went…

Day 1

It’s Badge Day!

The Badge:

To make introductions easier, the badge had my first name in bold, as well as the name of the company I represented, so everyone understood exactly who I was and who I represented. It had the WiFi password and a map of the building (which didn’t stop me getting lost). The badge’s biggest highlight was its QR Code, which was scanned by the stalls in exchange for free swag….

Talk of the Day:

Shopify’s Architecture to Handle the World’s Biggest Flash Sales

Bart De Water – Manager @Shopify Payments Team

How do you enable millions of entrepreneurs to run their businesses on your platform? And how do you deal with product launches that suddenly bring millions of requests per minute from one moment to the next?This talk will walk through how Shopify works under the hood using the customer journey from the initial visit to paid order as our guide. Then we’ll dive into our multi-tenant architecture that allows us to add and rebalance shards with no downtime, prevent failures from taking down multiple systems, and prepare for the biggest multi-flash sale event: Black Friday.

I managed to find a full version of the talk on youtube:

Quote of the day:

Quote:”Think about the last time you deployed software…and you pushed the big red button, and then what happens? What are your options? I prefer B. It all comes down to automation.” – Zan Markan

Day 2

Let’s talk about Lunch! 

The perfect blend of good food and even better networking opportunities.

Admittidely, I forgot to take a picture of the lunch setup (too busy eating), but i found this image online from another qcon event.

The concept was the same, Lots of tables, lots of topics. Simply find something you are interested in, sit down and chat whilst you eat.

Talk of the Day:

Six Impossible Things

Kelvin Henney – Keynote Speaker

“Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast,” the Queen told alice on her adventures through the looking glass. Only six? In software development we believe impossible things all the time, no matter the time of day!

Some things he said:

Henney: By impossible, I don’t mean “really, really hard” or “is not feasible in the time or budget” or “impractical”. When I say “impossible”, I mean actually impossible according to our understanding of how the universe works.

Henney: We can define a value to stand in for infinity, but this is a placeholder. There is no way to represent infinity or infinite precision on a discrete physical computer. This means that not only can we not represent any and all integers, but that even within limits, say between 0 and 1, we cannot represent any and all real numbers.

We approximate with a variety of types, such as floating-point numbers, fixed-point numbers and rational numbers, but between 0 and 1 there’s an infinitude of numbers that are irrational or otherwise beyond reasonable precision of representation. What makes this trickier is that one size does not fit all: a solution that works sufficiently well in one context, such as using floating-point numbers as an approximation for real numbers in engineering applications, works poorly in another, such as currency manipulations, which are better addressed with fixed-point numbers.

There is no perfect solution. In many cases, imperfection is OK; sometimes these limitations and approximations don’t matter. What does matter is that many developers are unaware of them and the nature of the types they are using. Developers are still routinely surprised, for example, by the issues that arise from using floating-point numbers for currency values.

I found a recording of the full talk (previously presented at CppCon) that is available to watch on Youtube:

Quote of the day:

Quote: “If you have a roadmap and it’s only got one road…it’s not much of a roadmap, is it? More of an itinerary” – [Kevlin Henney]

Day 3

The Finale!

Talk of the Day (and week)

Airbnb at Scale

Selina Liu – Senior Software Engineer @Airbnb

In 2018, Airbnb embarked on a high-stakes journey to transform our technology architecture from a monolithic Ruby app to a more scalable Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA). Three years on, we are in a good place to look back at what we have accomplished and reflect on where we are. In this talk, I will walk through what it takes to decompose a large and complex monolith into independent, performant services, and how we continue to evolve and scale the new architecture with our changing business needs. Specifically, I will cover the methodology and tools we have used to facilitate the migration, as well as strategies to platformize our new architecture to support new business needs. Last but not least, I will share some SOA best practices that we have learned from our experience.

Four pieces of advice from Selina in relation to the Airbnb’s migration from a monolith to microservices:

  • Invest In common Infrastructure early on
  • Simplify Services Dependencies
  • Unifiy Client-facing API’s
  • Platformize data hydration

I managed to find a shorter version of the presentation on youtube (presented at Apidays 2019):

Quote of the day:

Quote: Microservices vs monoliths is the “Would you rather fight 50 duck-sized horses or one horse-sized duck” of software development

Final Thought:

I absolutely loved my time at Qcon London.

It’s inspiring to see so many fantastic speakers sharing their knowledge with the tech community and getting a glimpse into what we can expect the future to look like…

My favourite talk of the week was by Selina Liu of Airbnb who talked about Airbnb’s move from a monolithic architecture to a modern Microservice-based approach, how they did it, and the challenges they faced…not to mention some beautiful pictures of Ramen and San Francisco…

The conference cemented 2 things in my mind:

  • I want to get into public speaking, share my ideas and one day be on that stage.
  • I want to go visit San Francisco (and try that ramen). Maybe even to visit Qcon SF.

If you have any questions about the event or want to hear more about a specific talk, feel free to message me and I’ll be more than happy to share.

Write a comment