Everything breaks. Power supplies, spinning disks, volatile memory, LAN and WAN networks, schedulers, caches… everything. Riak is a durable distributed database, one kind of software that can be directly affected by all of these and more. Despite these many avenues of potential failure, Riak promises (and delivers!) very high availability to its users. Justin will discuss the architectural and implementation choices in Riak that make this possible.
Together we will walk through a number of examples of real failures, and use Riak’s techniques as a guide for thinking about how best to continue a system’s overall successful operation (or if necessary, how to fail gracefully) in the face of those failures.
We will face the reality that anything we depend on can fail, and in the worst possible combination. We will learn how to build systems that let us happily sleep at night despite this troubling realization.
Justin Sheehy is the CTO of Basho Technologies, the company behind the creation of Webmachine and Riak. As Chief Technology Officer, Justin Sheehy directs Basho’s technical strategy, including integration with other platforms and new research into storage and distributed systems. Most recently before Basho, he was a principal scientist at the MITRE Corporation and a senior architect for systems infrastructure at Akamai. At both of those companies he focused on multiple aspects of robust distributed systems, including scheduling algorithms, language-based formal models, and resilience.
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