The Cockroach Hour: Why the Speed of Light is too Slow image

The Cockroach Hour: Why the Speed of Light is too Slow

Published Wednesday, Feb 23, 2022

Watch the webinar

The problem with the speed of light is that it’s too slow. Wait. What? How could one BILLION kilometers per hour be too slow?

In our global, distributed modern systems, we have reached the limits of our physical world and the only way around this (for now) is to get creative in how we engineer and design our systems. 

In this session, we will use the “100 millisecond rule” (a rule which essentially states that anything less than 100 milliseconds is “instant” and can be considered a good user experience) to take a look at how the speed of light affects our apps and services. We’ll discuss cloud network latency and the challenges of satellites and undersea cables. What is the effect of inter-region round trips, some of which take well over 200 milliseconds, in the context of our software?

This will be a free-flowing, nerd-sniping conversation in which the audience is encouraged to participate. So bring your multi-region skepticism and all your commit protocol questions! We’re looking forward to the challenge. We’ll talk…

  • Consistent read-write transactions on the same data from every node in the database cluster.
  • Reducing round trips and guaranteeing atomic commits within distributed transactions 
  • Distributed consensus in Raft and leader placement in a broadly dispersed (global) environment
  • How a multi-region database can resolve performance problems.


Jim Walker
Jim Walker
Principal Product Evangelist
Cockroach Labs
Adam Storm
Adam Storm
Director of Engineering
Cockroach Labs

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