As the year draws to a close, I’ve been busy trying to complete multiple projects concurrently. However, a few months ago I purchased an iPhone and it’s proven to be very effective at productively filling the “in between” time.
I only owned an nano previously and never used it for much beyond the gym. However, with the iPhone I have been able to watch many interesting presentations such as the Google Tech Talks or listen to Standard lectures on iTunes.
Two of the more interesting sessions have been Dan Pritchett on the Architecture at eBay and Cuong Do
Cuong on the amazing scalability efforts of YouTube.
In the mornings, I wake up early and read web articles at home before work. Yesterday, I stumbled across the blog of Nati Shalom of GigaSpaces, in particular his summary of the Qcon conference. I had never heard of Qcon before but a quick look reveals a track list like an enterprise CV.
- Architecture Quality – Modifiability, Product Lines, Latency, Performance and Scalability, Architecture
- Banking Architectures – Real time, STP, Messaging, AMQP, SEPA, MiFID, Front office
- Connecting SOA and the Web: How much REST do we need? – REST & SOA, Internet Scale Integration, REST & WS Myths
This reminded me of another convention I recently became aware of, O’Reilly’s first ever Money:Tech converence.
I can honestly summarize the work I’m a part of by saying we make IT infrastructures like these or bigger, happen.
The good news is that I don’t manage these architectures long term or on a day to day basis. Primarily, I’m part of a team that designs (pen and paper exercise), builds (install and configure a proof of concept) or tests (benchmark) environments that other businesses will use, and maintain, in their production environments.
Although there are feedback loops, the bad news is I sometimes feel out of sync with reality, and a touch ADD since I’m moving between architectures and technologies so rapidly. However, the more difficult problem is that I often work twice as hard to make sure a “thought exercise”, which someone’s going to use for their business, will be what is needed even, or perhaps especially, when they’re not sure what those needs are.
Although my company has plenty of internal conferences, it’s pretty safe to assume that what I do doesn’t make the tracks at most of these external conferences. It’s kind of like the difference between gyms and country clubs, you don’t hear much about the latter but they’re out there.
It’s probably also certain that what I do will never serve you a funny spoof or some video of a cute boy/girl booty dancing, but I work for institutions that house your money or your medical records and it’s a safe bet that what it lacks in glamor it makes up for in success.
While we’re not as vocal about what we do as eBay or YouTube, I feel confidant that our clients haven’t endured the endless cycle of sleepless nights of the YouTube team (watch the video), or suffered the numerous downtime issues for which eBay become known.
Maybe we should make a bigger effort to be present at these conferences, I’d like to believe I could effect that change. I’ve learned a lot just by watching the after effects, and I believe sharing with the same community would make us all more successful.