RoachFest24 in Review: Recapping the Action at Menlo Park & London

Last edited on July 9, 2024

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    What would happen when RoachFest 2024 finally went global -- was the world ready? Were WE ready?? As the curtains came up in Menlo Park, and two weeks later in London, Planet Earth was poised to find out.

    The resounding answer: YES and YESSSSSS!

    Popular demand dictated that Cockroach Labs expand RoachFest, the leading event for application owners, data architects, database administrators, engineers, and operators. Now in its third year, it was time to grow RoachFest beyond our NYC HQ (where RoachFest24 is happening on September 26), and make it easy for West Coast- and Europe-based IT professionals to learn the latest developments in enterprise-grade distributed databases.

    There were full houses at both venues, as speakers from Netflix, Riskified, Route, Superbet and more headlined. These top data experts shared their tips, tricks, and success stories for providing always-on customer experiences with CockroachDB – read on for a detailed recap.

    Need the TLDR? Get the compressed capsule for Menlo Park here, and visit here for London. You can also see all the Menlo Park video presentations right now, with London soon to come.

    And no matter where you reside, we want to welcome you to our NYC home on September 26 – the full lineup will be announced in early August: Register now to attend RoachFest24 in NYC!

    Menlo Park RoachFest24 handshake

    Welcome! RoachFest is all about IRL.

    Recap: Menlo Park, June 13th @ CANOPY

    The coffee was flowing and so were the convos as Roachfest24 attendees converged on Menlo Park’s beautiful CANOPY convention space. Perfect weather was a harbinger of the ideal conditions to come inside, as everyone got ready for a big day of data discovery.

    As we all took our seats, the energy was palpable. Colleagues who typically worked remote and are globally distributed were thrilled about converging at RoachFest, to meet in person and get the very latest on distributed SQL architecture. Representatives from our event sponsors AWS, Microsoft, and Google Cloud were onsite in full force. During the breaks, lunch, and post-show cocktail hour, everyone was very well fed (in typical Cockroach Labs fashion) and the networking continued apace.

    Wish we could have bottled up the sound of the pre-intro buzz! As Menlo Park’s MC, Cockroach Labs’ Chris Casano, said afterwards, “The best part about RoachFest is having customers interact with other customers. More than anything, this is a customer conference for ideas, collaboration and celebrations.”

    Menlo Park RoachFest24 Chris Casano

    Cockroach Labs' Chris Casano MC'd RoachFest24 in Menlo Park.

    A keynote address from Cockroach Labs’ Co-Founder & CEO, Spencer Kimball, kicked it all off. Lakshmi Kannan, Director of Product Management for Cockroach Labs, and Michael Wang, Director of Product Management for Cockroach Labs, presented new CockroachDB product features and strategies throughout the day.

    Menlo Park RoachFest24 Spencer Kimball

    Spencer Kimball, Cockroach Labs' Co-Founder & CEO, delivered the RoachFest24 keynote in Menlo Park.

    But as we stated, RoachFest is about our customers! Here’s what they had to say:

    “How Netflix Enables CockroachDB-as-a-Service to Improve Customer Satisfaction Across Multi-Region Environments”

    Netflix is a pioneering streaming service with a massive selection of TV shows, movies, documentaries, anime and much more.

    This was a highly anticipated pair: Netflix Senior Software Engineer Shengwei Wang and Software Engineer Ram Srivatsa Kannan. The duo delivered an insightful presentation on their mature, self-service CockroachDB-as-a-Service (DbaaS) platform, which has been developed over the past four years and is used by hundreds of Netflix developers.

    Shengwei and Ram discussed the diverse use cases and developer needs they encounter, with a focus on multi-region configurations. They explained how they guide internal customers to define their multiregion requirements, such as survivability and low latency, and then identify the appropriate configurations to meet these needs.

    Their talk highlighted how CockroachDB is enhancing customer satisfaction across various environments at Netflix by providing robust and tailored database solutions. And what’s the invaluable Rule of Thumb they uncovered for crushing your topological configuration? Find out when you watch the video!

    Menlo Park RoachFest24 Netflix

    (l-r) Netflix's Ram Srivatsa Kannan and Shengwei Wang delivered valuable data insights.

    “Route Enables Always-On Data for Over 1 Billion Orders and Counting with CockroachDB”

    Route is a post-purchase shipping solution used by 13,000+ brands.

    Route’s Senior Principal Engineer, Bryan Call, upped the energy level the moment he took the stage, with a uniquely enlightening and personal presentation on the company’s extensive journey with CockroachDB. Drawing an inspiring parallel between distance running and data, Call explained how – nearly since its inception – Route has depended on CockroachDB to manage its critical order and shipment data.

    Call captivated the crowd by recounting his adventures in data, including a dramatic comparison of handling storage failures with a traditional SQL database versus CockroachDB – the latter ensuring no data loss, no downtime, and minimal stress. He also highlighted the benefits of running and scaling self-hosted CockroachDB on AWS to meet peak demands, which significantly increases revenue for merchants and enhances customer satisfaction.

    A dedicated runner, Call ended his session on a relaxed note, explaining how he was able to fully enjoy a family vacation in Bermuda untroubled by a failing EBS volume back at work, thanks to CockroachDB’s reliability. The Big Takeaway: CockroachDB’s always-on performance and ease of use have been pivotal for Route.

    “How Devsisters Launches Blockbuster Games in New Countries with Ease”

    Devsisters is the South Korea-based mobile game developing company behind the CookieRun franchise of mobile games, with 200 million+ users worldwide.

    RoachFest roared forward with Devsisters and its Lead DevOps Engineer, ChangWon Lee. Hitting the stage accompanied by a stuffed CookieRun character, Lee explained the key role that CockroachDB plays in Devsisters’ support of over 200 million global players.

    Since migrating to CockroachDB in 2019, Devsisters has enjoyed seamless scalability, resilience, and performance, which has been crucial for delivering an optimal gaming experience to their millions of daily active users. Wielding equal parts humor and technical mastery, ChangWon highlighted how CockroachDB’s support for transactions, heavy traffic, and horizontal scaling is instrumental in the company’s expansion into new geographies – including recent launches on Tencent Cloud in China. Emphasizing simplicity and efficiency, Lee told RoachFest attendees about database best practices that enable Devsisters to swiftly execute major game launches.

    Menlo Park RoachFest24 Devsisters 900

    Devsisters' Lead DevOps Engineer ChangWon Lee kept his presentation fun and informative.

    Fireside Chat: “How City Storage Systems Designed Its Data Infrastructure to Minimize Toil”

    City Storage Systems builds disruptive restaurant infrastructure for better food.

    Next at RoachFest centerstage it was time for two chairs (not two turntables – but there was a microphone). Alex Filipchik, Head of Infrastructure at City Storage Systems (CSS), sat down with Chris for a thoughtful fireside chat on the company’s innovative approach to data infrastructure.

    Known for its disruptive restaurant tech through brands like Otter, CloudKitchens, and Lab37, CSS has relied on CockroachDB as its primary production database for all Tier 0 workloads over the past four years. Alex told the audience about CSS’ data journey, including:

    • Running CockroachDB on Kubernetes

    • Building a home-grown K8s operator

    • Completing a successful cloud migration, and

    • Achieving multi-region and multi-cloud compatibility

    “We try to squeeze every drop from our infrastructure and our databases…All your contributions for reliability and functionality are greatly appreciated,” Alex said of CockroachDB, emphasizing its critical role in minimizing toil and supporting the company’s ambitious mission to improve food quality and reduce costs.

    Menlo Park RoachFest24 Culinary 900

    Lunch break! 1st Rule of RoachFest: No one goes away hungry.

    “How Iterable Enables Personalized Experiences for Billions of Users”

    Iterable is a cross-channel marketing platform that powers unified customer experiences.

    In a friendly, spontaneous convo that explored the life of data at an enterprise, Iterable’s Senior Infrastructure Engineer, Jack Chi, took the stage in a fireside chat to share the company’s journey with CockroachDB. Since switching to CockroachDB in 2021, Iterable has used it as a crucial database for user metadata, enabling the delivery of highly individualized and dynamic cross-channel communications at scale.

    Jack and Chris’ discussion took a technical tack, highlighting how CockroachDB’s scalability, consistency, and sub-10ms latency performance have been instrumental in running Iterable’s mission-critical workloads over the past three years. This session provided attendees with sharp insights into Iterable’s implementation and the tangible benefits they’ve experienced using CockroachDB.

    With the last preso presented, our witty MC took the stage one last time. “I’m between you and happy hour,” Chris noted, “so I’m going to make this quick.” And lo he did: After a quick thanks once more to our gracious RoachFest sponsors – AWS, Microsoft, and Google Cloud – Chris let the happy #RoachFest24 attendees loose to enjoy craft snacks and cocktails in the Canopy courtyard. Bourbon Smash anyone? It’s time to unwind and talk DATA!

    RoachFest24 Menlo Park cocktails in the courtyard

    Decompressing and connecting after RoachFest24 in Menlo Park.

    Recap: London, June 27th @ Myo St Paul’s One New Change

    Heading east – alllll the way across the Atlantic – RoachFest24 landed in London two weeks later, where our event’s first-ever international arrival was well-received. Held at the event space of Myo St Paul’s One New Change in the heart of London’s financial district, London attendees were in for another big day of data discovery plus excellent views of the historic St Paul’s Cathedral.

    Once again, the London edition hummed with energy, seeing nonstop networking between attendees and Cockroach Labs experts. The interactivity extended to the presentations, which featured lively Q&A exchanges following each session.

    Not surprisingly, Cockroach Labs Technical Evangelist Rob Reid proved to be a most welcoming MC. For the many fans of Rob’s outstanding videos, RoachFest London was a unique opportunity to connect with him IRL.

    Rob Reid onstage at London RoachFest 24 (smaller size photo)

    Cockroach Labs' Rob Reid was live and in person in London.

    “RoachFest London was crazy in the best possible way,” Reid confirms. “The turnout was incredible; better than we could have hoped. Everywhere I looked, guests were sharing their ideas and experiences, and my colleagues were busy facilitating and contributing their own. Our speakers were fantastic. Knowledgeable, funny, and each delivering something different, interesting, and noteworthy.”

    Cockroach Labs’ Co-Founder & CTO, Peter Mattis, delivered the London keynote. Our colleague Lakshmi Kannan was onsite once again, joined this time by Andy Woods, Director of Product Management for Cockroach Labs, to explain new CockroachDB product features and best practices.

    London RoachFest24 Peter Mattis 900

    Peter Mattis, Cockroach Labs’ Co-Founder & CTO, delivered the London keynote.

    Now, let’s recap our customer’s many invaluable insights:

    “Modernizing Mission-Critical Applications Without Compromises”

    Amazon Web Services (AWS) offers reliable, scalable, and inexpensive cloud computing services.

    mLogica is a leader in enterprise modernization.

    CockroachDB and AWS is a classic combo, while enterprise modernization leader mLogica is our newest partner. AWS EMEA Migration & Modernisation Sales Leader Ashwani Kumar, and mLogica VP Mainframe Engineering Santino Spagnoli, delivered a compelling RoachFest session on how to modernize mission-critical applications in the cloud-native landscape. As enterprises increasingly embrace digital transformation, the shift from legacy systems to cloud-first environments presents both challenges and opportunities.

    Ashwani and Santino delved into key considerations, trends, and valuable strategies for successfully modernizing databases and applications. They offered real-world insights, best practices, and success stories, emphasizing the benefits of AWS and mLogica’s partnership in reducing risks, costs, complexity, and time-to-value for mainframe modernization.

    “Mainframes can be expensive and customers want to reduce costs but that’s not the only driver,” Ashwani said. “Customers are also looking for faster speed to market and the ability to introduce new use cases. AWS provides different ways to help customers move off their mainframe. Our partners such as Cockroach Labs and mLogica bring their own niche skill set to help customers with their modernization journey.”

    Attendees RoachFest24 London SMALL

    An enthusiastic audience filled the RoachFest24 London venue.

    “Riskified’s Lessons Learned Migrating to CockroachDB for Greater Scale”

    Riskified is a leading eCommerce fraud protection solution for merchants.

    Building on the migration tip, Riskified’s Data Platform Engineering Team Lead Harel Safra and Senior Data Platform Engineer Yoav Shemesh discussed migrating to CockroachDB to support greater scale for their Chargeback Guarantee program.

    Initially built on PostgreSQL, the program faced bottlenecks as Riskified grew, prompting the need for a more scalable solution. Harel and Yoav walked RoachFest attendees through their migration strategy, which emphasized the importance of zero-downtime and reversibility. The takeaways: valuable insights and best practices for managing database migrations and scaling applications effectively.

    “We ran a POC to find a database that could scale out,” said Yoav. “We also needed it to be Postgres-compatible so we didn’t need to make a lot of changes to the application. CockroachDB was the only solution that ticked all of our boxes.”

    Riskified Harel Safra and Yoav Shemesh SMALL

    (l-r) Riskified's Harel Safra and Yoav Shemesh were on point at RoachFest24 in London.

    How Superbet Migrated from NoSQL to the Cloud to Simplify Expansion to New Markets”

    Superbet is a game-changing tech company rewriting the rules of sports betting and gaming.

    Soooo many gambling puns available here…but we’ll take the high road! And just tell you how Superbet’s Senior Site Reliability Engineer Sergej Jakovljev and Engineering Manager Ivan Hrastinski detailed their journey of migrating from an on-premises NoSQL database to CockroachDB on the cloud.

    As Superbet expanded its sports betting and virtual games operations into 12 European markets, they required a more resilient data solution, simplified operations without sharding, and a clear path to the cloud. Sergej and Ivan guided the RoachFest audience through the decision-making process that led them to choose CockroachDB, highlighting its ability to meet their needs for scalability and ease of use. They also provided practical tips and best practices for migrating to the cloud with CockroachDB, offering up valuable insights into managing rapid growth and ensuring data resilience.

    “How Rightmove Ensures Always-On Experiences for 2+ Billion Annual Site Visits”

    Rightmove is the UK’s #1 property website for properties for sale and rent.

    RoachFest24 got real (estate) with Rightmove, when Head of Technology Operations Andrew Tate discussed the company’s strategic decision to modernize its databases as part of its cloud-first approach. With 2 billion+ annual site visits, Rightmove aimed to reduce architectural complexity, expedite software delivery, lower operational overhead, and ensure multi-cloud and multi-regional resilience.

    Andrew reeled off five key reasons why Rightmove adopted CockroachDB:

    • Its high performance and resilience

    • Ability to evolve with their needs

    • Increased velocity and autonomy for teams

    • Reduced complexity and overhead due to CockroachDB’s robust replication capabilities, and

    • Faster innovation through the ability to store both relational and semi-structured data

    These benefits have enabled Rightmove to focus more on building and innovating, rather than managing infrastructure. "We are expecting 10x growth over the next 3 years so the ability to scale is really important to us,” he stated. “CockroachDB automatically shards and scales horizontally so even when we have 100M+ active tickets, we can just simply add more nodes."

    Following a full data day, our attendees still had plenty of zip. To the rooftop terrace! Unmatched views of St Paul’s, Aperol spritzes, and excellent weather made for a memorable evening. “The turnout was still incredible by the end of the day!” said Rob Reid. “RoachFest London well and truly delivered. I'm confident that everyone who attended – both guests and colleagues – went away having learned something new.”

    St Pauls London RoachFest24

    St Paul's Cathedral, Cockroach Labs, and great conversations!

    Visit here to save your spot at RoachFest24 in New York City.