Netflix, Twitter, & DoorDash: Highlights from CockroachDB's RoachFest

Netflix, Twitter, & DoorDash: Highlights from CockroachDB's RoachFest

Vlad Sydorenko, a senior software engineer at Netflix, stood up in the audience and asked for the microphone: “When you were migrating from Aurora to CockroachDB how did you make sure there was no data loss between the clusters?” On stage, two DoorDash engineers leapt into an explanation (you’ll have to watch the video [coming soon] for the answer!). 

This was an ordinary moment for RoachFest (#roachfest22), the first-ever CockroachDB customer conference, but it’s an extraordinary example of what made this conference a valuable experience for CockroachDB users. 

Want to know why DoorDash chose CockroachDB as their internal database of choice over AWS Aurora? Or how Hard Rock Digital optimizes performance? Or how the DevSisters game Cookie Run: Kingdom survived a mass virality and subsequent success disasters? How about hearing audience questions about primary keys, schema changes, version upgrades, how to get data out of CockroachDB, and when to use AS OF SYSTEM TIME? 

All of the talks from RoachFest will be available soon for your binge-watching pleasure, but in the meantime, here are a few notable themes that came up over the course of the event:

Everything-as-a-service for operational simplicity

Spencer Kimball, CEO of Cockroach Labs, kicked off the event with an evocative keynote about the current and future state of CockroachDB. It will come as no surprise that his focus was on abstracting away the complexity of the infrastructure from developers. 

“We have to shift from doing things manually, with a team of SREs (if you can even manage to hire them). We have to make it possible for you to be able to manage operations  programmatically. Scale programmatically. And provide an arbitrary level of granularity and control. " - Spencer Kimball, CEO & Co-Founder Cockroach Labs

The as-a-service theme came up again and again in presentations from Netflix, JPMorgan Chase, Starburst Data, and others. Many CockroachDB users provide CockroachDB as a service for their internal engineering teams, with the goal of offering a scalable, transactional database without adding operational burden.

Netflix’s CockroachDB tech talk

Each company is addressing this challenge in a unique way based on their priority use cases and their in-house expertise, and were hungry to hear how others were educating their teams about the nuances of a distributed system. 

Developing a distributed state of mind: CockroachDB best practices

CockroachDB is wire and API compatible with Postgres which allows developers to hit the ground running with the database. Many of the presentations covered:

  • Specific situations in which the distributed nature of CockroachDB impacted decisions
  • How valuable CockroachDB support has been for making these decisions

One of the lessons the engineers from DevSisters imparted was to “be very careful with your primary keys so that you know how to detect hot ranges before you go into production.” This same topic came up again in talks given by Hard Rock Digital, Authzed, Nightfall, Netflix, and Shipt. Speakers were eager to share what they’d learned as they moved from systems like Postgres or Cassandra.

DevSister’s CockroachDB tech talk

Resources like Cockroach University and the CockroachDB docs are great for getting comfortable with a distributed database. And there is also a vast collection of support resources that are intended to grow with you from startup to IPO. 

CockroachDB support does not simply exist to make sure the database is deployed correctly. The goal of CockroachDB support is to help our community make good decisions about how to use distributed data to fundamentally deliver a better application.

To get involved in the community, join the CockroachDB slack and check out the forum. To find more support, check out our full suite of support resources.

Overheard at RoachFest 2022

“It’s yaml. How hard can it be?"

“Set locality. It will save your career one day."

“I’ve probably caused more problems than I’ve solved trying to alter defaults."

“If someone at Cockroach Labs says I’m wrong about something, they’re probably right."

“I can’t talk about CockroachDB in front of my wife cause she’s scared of roaches.”

"Row-level TTL is awesome for when you stop caring."

All about RoachFest

Taking place September 20 & 21, 2022, at our headquarters in New York City, RoachFest gathered together data innovators and engineering experts from around the world. DoorDash engineering manager Karthik Katooru, Shipt engineer Michael Ching, and CockroachDB engineering manager Rebecca Taft, PhD (MIT) all presented to a standing-room-only crowd in the heart of NYC.

The two-day event was jam-packed with talks from Twitter, Hard Rock Digital, and Starburst Data to inspire and educate the CockroachDB community. Attendees heard firsthand how CockroachDB is used inside major tech organizations, seasoned fintech companies, sports betting apps, and video games. And after day 1, our partners at Google Cloud, AWS, and Red Hat hosted spirited rounds of ping pong at the RoachFest after-party. 

RoachFest 2022 speakers included:

  • Jigar Bhati, Software Engineer at Twitter
  • Nate Stewart, Chief Product Officer at Cockroach Labs
  • David Phillips, CTO at Starburst Data
  • KellyAnn Fitzpatrick, Senior Industry Analyst at RedMonk
  • Shengwei Wang, Senior Software Engineer at Netflix
  • Karthik Katooru, Engineering Manager at DoorDash
  • Rebecca Taft (PhD MIT), Engineering Manager at Cockroach Labs
  • Michael Ching, Staff Engineer at Shipt
  • Lakshmi Kannan, Director, Product Management at Cockroach Labs
  • James Lupolt, Database Engineer at Hard Rock Digital
  • Spencer Kimball, CEO and co-founder at Cockroach Labs
  • Tony Baer, Founder & CEO at dbInsight 
  • Carl Olofson, VP of Research at IDC

CockroachDB deep-dive sessions: 

  • [watch now] Keynote: CockroachDB, Serverless, and Upcoming Releases with Nate Stewart, Chief Product Officer
  • How We Built a Serverless Database with Andy Kimball, Senior Director of Engineering, and Emily Horing, Senior Product Manager
  • High Availability, Low Latency, and Data Domiciling with Rebecca Taft (PhD MIT), Engineering Manager
  • Workload Health and Query Insights with Kevin Ngo, Senior Product Manager
  • Using the CockroachDB API for Integrations with Mark Saper, Senior Product Manager
  • Integrating CockroachDB with the Rest of Your Data Architecture with Abbey Russell, Product Manager

All of the talks from RoachFest will be available soon, so check back here as recordings are released.

Dan Kelly

Dan has been producing technical blogs, videos, whitepapers, and webinars at Cockroach Labs for the last 4+ years. His mission is to identify the most pressing problems developers face and to create content to solve them. Outside of work Dan is usually chasing his three year old daughter or cooking something indulgent.

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