How I became a speaker at Percona Live (and a few intriguing details from the American border)
The Percona Live Open Source Database Conference is one of the main events on the DBMS world calendar. Once, it all started with the development of one of the forks of MySQL, but then it greatly outgrew the progenitor. And although many materials (and visitors) are still closely related to the topic of MySQL, the general information background has become much wider: these are MongoDB, PostgreSQL, and other less popular DBMSs. This year, Perkona became a significant event on our calendar: for the first time, we took part in this American conference. As you probably already know, we are very worried about the state of monitoring technologies in the modern world. With the shift of infrastructural paradigms towards maximum flexibility, microservices and cluster solutions, the related support tools and approaches should also change. About that, in fact, was my report. But first, I want to tell you how they generally get to the US conferences and what surprises they can expect right after landing.
So how do people get to foreign conferences? In fact, this process is not so complicated: you need to contact the program committee, state your topic for the report, attach evidence that you already have experience of speaking at technical events. Naturally, given the geography of the conference, language proficiency is an important point. Extremely desirable, including the experience of speaking to an English-speaking audience. All these issues are discussed with the program committee, they evaluate your potential, and either - or.
Legal issues, of course, have to be resolved independently. By virtue you yourself understand what the reasons for issuing visa documents in Russia are somewhat difficult. For example, in Moscow, waiting for Visitor Visa at the time of writing is 300 days. Residents of capitals, in general, are used to circumventing these difficulties with paperwork in some neighboring states. But since we are based in Irkutsk, the closest neighboring state to us is Mongolia ... Stop. Ulan Bator! After all, there is also an American embassy there. And, frankly, not very popular and therefore not very busy. The journey from Irkutsk to Ulan Bator by plane takes one hour. The time zone does not change - you can continue to work in a convenient and familiar rhythm. From the entrance to the embassy to obtaining a visa, it takes literally half an hour. The only difficulty is that you can pay the consular fee only in cash at the Khan Bank branch. Therefore, if you want to come immediately for a finished visa, then it would be nice to have someone there who can help with the solution of this issue.
So. Visa received, seat on the plane saddled. Entry into the States themselves was approaching. Crossing the border there has always been a very boring affair. When I first arrived in 2010, I went nuts about how long it took for passport control in Washington. No, of course, the line to the treasured windows has always been a classic. But for some decent time (for several years, for sure), special machines have been added that break through your information and give you a leaflet with your photo - and everything became faster. All the last trips I flew with a round-trip ticket, with all the accommodation data driven into the ticket, etc. And this time I flew in with a ticket there with a postponed date and without a return ticket associated with it. And voila: the photograph on a white piece of paper turned out to be crossed out.
The line suddenly turned out to be as long as a few years ago, and when an hour later I finally got to passport control, I got completely relaxed. The officer asked why I came; I replied - business (sales, the type of visa b1 / b2 allows this) and rest (vacation), to which he specified which flight I flew in and explained that I was not in the database of those flying. I really wanted to sleep and replied that I did not know why so ... perhaps because I had changed the departure dates. An American official wondered why I changed the departure dates and when I was flying back. To which I replied that I had changed because I decided to fly at another time, and when I fly back I can only answer approximately. And then the officer said “okay”, raised his hand and called for another guy to whom he gave my passport. He led me to an additional check. To my reminder
Oh, wow. I went into the room: there are another 40 people sitting there, from our flight was the 3rd including me. He sat down, just got on the phone, a guard immediately ran up and said to turn it off, and pointed to the walls: it turned out that everything around in the signs "you can’t use phones", which I did not notice from fatigue and lack of sleep. I turned it off, but the neighbor did not have time - for those who do not have time, the phones are simply taken away. About three hours passed, from time to time someone was called up for extra. interview, they didn’t call me anywhere - they just issued a passport with a stamp that they let me in. What was it? (c) True, the ticket for the missed flight, in the end, was really changed according to the certificate received.
City Austin Texas
And finally, under my feet, Texas land. Texas is a place-name familiar to Russian people, but still not the most visited place by compatriots. I used to be in California and New York, but I didn't have to get that far south. And if not for Percona Live, it is still unknown when it would have to.
The city of Austin is a bit of a “California enclave” within Texas. How did it happen? The initial basis for the rapid growth of the Valley, in addition to, of course, government investments, was a mild climate and low cost of living and doing business. But now that San Francisco and counties have literally become a symbol of exorbitant cost, new startups are looking for new places. And Texas was a good option. Firstly, zero income tax. Secondly, zero tax on gross profit for individual entrepreneurs. A large number of universities - therefore, a developed skilled labor market. Not very high, by American standards, the cost of living. All this as a whole gives a good feed to the development of new technological enterprises. And - creates an audience for relevant events.
Percona Live itself took place at the Hayatt Regency. According to the current popular scheme, the conference consisted of several thematic threads running in parallel: two on MySQL, one on Mongo and PostgreSQL, as well as sections on AI, security and business. Unfortunately, we failed to fully evaluate the entire program, due to the tight mode of preparation for our own performance. But those reports that I had a chance to look at were extremely entertaining. I would single out “The Changing Landscape of Open Source Databases” from Peter Zaitsev and “Too Much Data?” from Yves Trudeau. We met there with Alexei Milovidov - he also made a report and brought with him a whole team from Clickhouse, which I also touched on in my speech.
Let me report
And, in fact, about the main thing: what did I talk about? The report was devoted to how we chose for the new version of the monitoring system time-series database. Somehow it happened in our Palestinians that when the need arises for such a tool, the default is to take Clickhouse. Why? "Because he is faster." Is it definitely faster? How much? Maybe there are some other pros and cons that we don’t think about until we try something else? We decided on a hardcore approach to the study of problems; but just taking and listing the characteristics is boring and, frankly, not particularly well remembered. And people, as beautiful p0b0rchy teachesRoman Poborchiy, it’s much more interesting to hear a story. Therefore, we talked about how we drove all tested DBMSs on our sales data, which we receive every second in real time from our monitoring agents.
What are your impressions of the event?
Everything was perfectly organized, the reports were interesting. But what stood out the most was where the DBMS was technologically moving now. Many, for example, have not been using self-hosted solutions for a long time. We are still not very used to this at our place and, accordingly, do not see anything unusual in our own installation, configuration and support of the DBMS. And there, the clouds have enslaved everyone for a long time, and conditional RDS is the default option. Why worry about performance, security, backups, keep separate technical specialists for this, if you can take a ready-made service, where everything has already been thought out for you in advance?
This is a very interesting and, perhaps, alarming bell for those who are not yet ready to provide their solutions in a similar format.
And in general, this applies not only to the DBMS, but to the entire server infrastructure. Administration is shifted from the Linux console to the web console, where you need to be able to choose the right services and cross them with each other, to understand how specific cloud providers work with their EKS, ECS, GKE and other capital letters. In connection with our favorite law on personal data, our internal players in the hosting market have developed well, but so far we have lagged a bit behind the leading edge of the global technological movement, and we have yet to experience such changes in the paradigm.
I’ll definitely publish a detailed analysis of the report, but a little later: now it’s just being prepared — I translate it from English to Russian :-)