In 2007, Pat Helland published “Life Beyond Distributed Transactions: An Apostate’s Opinion,” in which he conducts a thought experiment on how to design a distributed database that can scale almost infinitely. While the paper explicitly addresses distributed database design, Sean Allen shows that the ideas are far more widely applicable, particularly in scaling stateful applications. Sean explores some of Helland’s ideas through practical examples from his experience building data processing systems using tools like Apache Storm and, more recently, developing a stateful distributed stream processor at Wallaroo Labs.
Sean T. Allen is vice president of engineering at Wallaroo Labs and a member of the Pony core team. His turn-ons include programming languages, distributed computing, Hiwatt amplifiers, and Fender Telecasters. His turn-offs include mayonnaise, stirring yogurt, and sloppy code. He’s one of the authors of Storm Applied.
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