The Architecture of RIAK

I attended a lecture last Wednesday entitled The Architecture of RIAK, given by  a Thoughtworks employee named Diptanu Choudhury. I don’t have a great deal to say about this one, but it was certainly an enjoyable evening.

I managed to persuade two colleagues to go with me, so we first killed a bit of time in the pub after work (it was sunny for once). Then we wandered into Manchester city centre, to the Thoughtworks offices. Thoughtworks have re-modelled since the last time I was there, so once again I found myself wandering round with no idea where I was going. If any Thoughtworks employees are reading, please put just one big arrow near the lifts next time. Pretty please?

We took our seats half an hour before the lecture was due to start, in an already crowded room. Diptanu was clearly eager to start, but managed to hang on until the official start time.

It was clear as Diptanu spoke that he knew RIAK and Nosql very well. It was also apparent that he had a genuine passion for these kinds of systems and enjoyed sharing that passion with a room full of people. He delivered the lecture at a pace appropriate for novices, like myself, and whilst his lecturing style was not the most prosaic (not a criticism! I doubt I’d do any better in a room full of strangers) he certainly got his points across.

As I said, I’m a complete novice to Nosql. In fact, most of the knowledge I had going into the lecture had been acquired less than 24 hours previous – Mainly because I didn’t want to look a complete idiot asking about terms everyone else in the room was taking as read.

The last minute cramming proved extremely beneficial as I gave my colleagues (also novices) a 10 minute crash-briefing in the fundamentals of distributed database design.

My conclusions from the lecture were that RIAK could be a very interesting and simple introduction to the world of Nosql databases ( every single one of which seems to have its own goals and design philosophies ). Its definitely something I’d like to delve into.

Its also quite likely that I’ll be encountering Nosql and Big Data problems at my new job, so this could be a good way to familiarise myself with the concepts before I start.

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