February 23–26, 2020
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Leveraging the power of the unbundled database

Alex Silva (Pluralsight)
4:50pm5:40pm Tuesday, February 25, 2020
Location: Beekman Parlor
Secondary topics:  Hands-on
Average rating: ***..
(3.67, 3 ratings)

Who is this presentation for?

  • Software engineers, architects, and data engineers




Since the mid-1980s, relational databases have been standard for most applications needing to store and query structured data. As architectures became more complex, databases have generalized to fit a variety of use cases. Simplicity was key: databases encapsulate storage, indexing, caching, querying, and transaction management, all under a unified SQL view.

Alex Silva examines what could happen if you could “unbundle” the database into its separate constituents and distribute these concerns into different layers and be able to optimize them individually. He proposes a stream processing architecture that can be used to successfully “deconstruct” the database while analyzing the challenges and pitfalls.

You’ll approach subscription and replication protocols under a different light by exploring how relational databases have overcome these challenges and focusing on what works and what doesn’t while discussing the paradigm shift proposed by stream processing and the architectural differences between the two approaches.

Prerequisite knowledge

  • A basic understanding of relational databases

What you'll learn

  • Identify the design components and subsystems of relational databases and what capabilities make sense to unbundle
  • Explore the data dichotomy and how services can maintain encapsulation while sharing and producing meaningful datasets
  • Learn what stream processing is, how it can be used to deconstruct a database, and how to leverage the Kafka distributed commit log
  • Rethink materialized views using stream processing
  • Dive into implementation details through a case study using Spark and Kafka Streams
Photo of Alex Silva

Alex Silva


Alex Silva is a chief data architect at Pluralsight, where he leads the development of the company’s data infrastructure and services. He’s been instrumental in establishing Pluralsight’s data initiative by architecting a platform to capture valuable insights on real-time video analytics while integrating several data sources within the business. He’s built a reputation as a passionate and pragmatic data evangelist. Previously, Alex was a principal data engineer at Rackspace, leading a team of developers building its data initiative, while establishing its big data platform by helping architect a solution to drive actionable insight on consumer behavior and product-usage trends and designing analytical models, APIs, and frameworks to deliver fanatical support, including a computational linguistics library to analyze and classify support chat logs; a principle software engineer at ESPN Emerging Technologies, where he architected and developed a distributed application to help basketball operators collect play-by-play records; and several senior-level engineering positions at Walt Disney World Internet Group, Pentaho, OutStart, and Travelatro.com. He’s Sun Certified as an enterprise architect for the J2EE platform and is a web component developer and a Java 2 programmer. He earned his bachelor’s degree in molecular biology and an MBA from the University of Central Florida in Orlando. When Alex is not programming, you’ll probably catch him with an athletic bag on his shoulders. He’s a little bit of a sports junkie, particularly a CrossFit addict, who’s been known to create an epidemic of fitness recovery, smoking cessation, and weight loss around him.

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