About last night, A NOSQL Evening in Palo Alto

Last night’s meetup, “A NOSQL Evening in Palo Alto” was a great success, with lots of positive feedback from the audience and panelists. Tim Anglade managed to bring together one of the largest speaking panels of NOSQL project leads and technology innovators ever for an event like this.

The format was simple: A round-table discussion among the panel, with as much audience participation and questions as possible. No slide presentations or marketing pitches. Representatives of different projects of course highlighted their respective strengths when answering some related questions, but in a way that was appropriate to the conversation and audience expectations.

Throughout the evening, the discussion was mostly focused on the reasons why end-users are beginning to adopt new technologies. The panelists talked about how demand is driving innovation, and that many requirements are not – or not easily – supported by traditional relational technologies. It’s difficult diving too deep into technical details in this setting, but the overall discussion was informative, and gave everyone a chance to hear the latest perspectives.

Panelists included technology leaders from 10gen (a MongoDB company), Basho (open source internet scale data store), CouchOne (mobile database), Cloudant (CouchDB hosting), Cloudera (enterprise Apache Hadoop), GoGrid (cloud hosting), us — InfiniteGraph (distributed graph database), membase (distributed key-value database), Riptano (professional Cassandra support and training), and Scality (massively scalable email and media storage solution).

Everyone played nice most of the time. 🙂 Actually, the evening’s only “controversy” came from some interjections by Ben Black from his front row, center audience seat during the first half — but overall, his comments and few questions were viewed favorably by most everyone. Others in the audience did a good job of making their points and asking questions throughout the evening. Honestly, these kinds of events can get a bit boring when everyone holds hands and sings kumbaya all night. Ben and other attendees had important points to make, and the event format was very accommodating to letting everyone speak their minds.

The panel brought together 10 technology leaders from projects and companies that are familiar to many in this space, from key-value stores to mobile data, cloud hosting platforms, and our own Darren Wood talking about graph databases. Emil Eifrem was in the front row of the audience, and we were hoping more graph-computing related questions would be posed to both of us.

In hindsight, we should have made sure Emil had a spot on the panel. We were trying to get one panelist for each type of solution – but many of those technologies have a key-value component, which of course got a lot of attention during the evening’s discussion. Emil, Darren and possibly other graph projects up there would have helped draw more of the discussion towards graph problem-sets, which Darren nicely pointed out are often different than those faced by users of key-value stores. Regardless, the mix and range of questions was fantastic – and Tim did a great job in keeping the Q&A on track.

The NOSQL Evening in Palo Alto and Tim Anglade provided a great overall discussion of the NOSQL movement, the history and future opportunities for all projects and vendors represented directly on the panel, and all the others referenced by the overall discussion. There are a LOT of alternative technology projects out there today – and we only had space for 10 people on the panel. I hope everyone – even those not there – felt the discussion helped their cause. I know we feel that way, and were very proud to have helped organize this event.

Also very much enjoyed the off-conference conversations during the first social hour, at the break, and among the group that came to dinner with us afterwards. It was good to hear more from the panelists, and others who joined us – including Alex Popescu, Derek Stainer, some very smart guys from Facebook and NetFlix, and others who are using new ideas to build amazing new things.

We look forward to the next discussions and events that promote the benefits of NOSQL and alternative solutions. This movement is about helping people solve various problems with the most appropriate tools available from the open source and commercial toolbox, and we are proud to have helped sponsor and support this event.

Best regards,

Thomas Krafft

InfiniteGraph

By the way, we recorded video from the evening, and should have it available here within a week or two. We’ll keep you posted!

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