RoachFest23 Recap: DoorDash, City Storage Systems,, Santander, and more shared their CockroachDB journeys

Last edited on October 19, 2023

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    More than 500 attendees from around the globe recently swarmed into New York for RoachFest23, the annual user conference for CockroachDB customers. The two day event featured thirty speakers from some of the world’s leading enterprise companies including engineering leads and directors at Santander, DoorDash, City Storage Systems (also known as Cloud Kitchens),, Fortinet, and many more. The Cockroach Labs co-founders also led sessions, shared the future of CockroachDB, and released new features and capabilities now available in CockroachDB.

    For those unable to join us, speaker sessions are available to watch on-demand.

    Keynote: partners in innovationCopy Icon

    CEO Spencer Kimball kicked off RoachFest23 with a keynote about conferring and collaborating with customers to chart a product roadmap firmly oriented on customer needs and priorities. “Our customers use our product not just for standard database use cases, but also to make things that, until recently, have been impractical or even impossible until distributed SQL came along,” he told the crowd. “It’s quite humbling to see your participation from all different companies, use cases, and roles using CockroachDB. All of you are pushing the envelope with data, fundamentally, to lead in your respective markets, and we’re there to support you in that journey as partners in innovation.”

    This message appears to have resonated with RoachFest23 attendees. Wells Fargo Distinguished Engineer Todd Schmitter, for example, took to LinkedIn to praise “some great product announcements, including cluster-to-cluster replication, which I asked for a few years back working closely with Cockroach Labs. Great to see a database company that listens to its customers and continues to push a very innovative roadmap.”

    Watch (or re-watch, if you were there) Spencer’s keynote.

    Day one:, DoorDash, Hard Rock Digital, Santander, and moreCopy Icon

    Day One speakers dove directly into the technical deep end, with detailed presentations about how they are creating zero downtime, highly available applications, with multi-region — and even multi-cloud — deployments. Attendee favorites (according to post-event polling) included Alessandro Salvatori, principal engineer at DoorDash, documenting DoorDash’s journey from Aurora Postgres to CockroachDB, and his colleague, software engineer Mike Czabator, explaining how how DoorDash manages high-availability CockroachDB clusters at massive scale. Among a dozen more presenters on Day One, Hard Rock Digital DBA James Lupolt and Senior Platform Architect Joe Rizzo also took the stage to share how Hard Rock Digital has reduced TCO while meeting strict regulatory requirements.

    Along with individual presenters, the first day of RoachFest23 also included two different live panel sessions. These gathered together leaders from some of the world’s most important financial companies, including Santander, to discuss building resilient cloud infrastructure in one session, and the future of modern banking applications in another.


    Day two: new CockroachDB featuresCopy Icon

    Beyond learning from other architects, engineers and other CockroachDB- deploying peers, attendees at RoachFest also were the first to hear about our latest product and feature releases and the new capabilities they unlock. Day two of the conference launched with a vision and product announcement keynote from Cockroach Labs Chief Product Officer Nate Stewart.

    Product headlines at this year’s RoachFest emphasized CockroachDB’s maturity and enterprise readiness, including the production-ready availability of CockroachDB for Microsoft Azure — making CockroachDB is one of a (very) select few distributed SQL database services accessible to all three major cloud providers. Multi-region CockroachDB serverless is also now generally available for users to harness data distribution across cloud provider regions while paying only for what they actually use. Nate also introduced (in preview) our new MOLT Live Migration Service. This suite of tools gives users the ability to live-migrate from a legacy database with zero-to-low downtime and no disruption of service.


    For full details (plus information about even more new CockroachDB features and capabilities around observability, integrations with Datadog and Terraform, and support for Debezium and Oracle GoldenGate) check out our full product announcement.

    After Nate’s announcements, Cockroach Labs Senior Product Manager Dustin Cote took the stage for a detailed walkthrough of using the new MOLT Live Migration Service for cutting over an application live while ensuring data consistency and minimizing end-user impact.

    Lakshmi Kannan — Cockroach Labs Director of Product, Cloud & Security — followed, giving a deeper exploration of CockroachDB’s cloud platform offerings. Her talk centered on common pain points with enterprise scale deployments, and the specific ways our managed and serverless DBaaS offerings can solve them. Michael Wang, Director of Product Management, and Dingding Lu, Staff Product Manager, were up next with details about all the investments in our cloud services to help users to seamlessly capture the full value (literally, by reducing TCO) and benefits of CockroachDB.

    Another day two highlight: A leadership panel and AMA session, led by Heather Joslyn from The New Stack. CPO Nate Stewart took the stage once more, this time with Cockroach Labs co-founder and CTO Peter Mattis, to discuss CockroachDB’s roadmap for the next several years. This Q&A became especially exciting when the National Wireless Emergency Alert System alert went off in the middle of the panel Q&A and every phone in the audience began blaring out the emergency warning sound.


    Connection pooling at the coffee barCopy Icon

    So much more happened!

    There were so many incredible talks delivered by customer engineers and architects: distributed storage innovator Storj, global managed payments infrastructure company Form3, surviving region failure with Fortinet’s FortiSase, etc. Cockroach Labs co founder and Chief Architect Ben Darnell rocked the house with his highly entertaining analysis of the relationship between brown M&M candies, foreign keys, isolation levels, and the legendary rock band Van Halen. (Again: All of these talks are now available on demand).

    The spontaneous conversations to be overheard between attendees in the hallways and dining lounges were just as inspirational. Case in point: while on line at the Microsoft-sponsored coffee bar (thanks, Microsoft!) behind the team from DoorDash when an engineer from the world’s largest online gaming platform eagerly approached, saying “Hey, you use pgbouncer? I have questions!” The group strolled off together, imbibing caffeinated beverages and chatting amiably about lightweight connection pooling options for Postgres — an intricate technical conversation between hyperscale equals that could only happen at RoachFest.

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