Ljubljana 2015 - Proposal

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Splitting up the monolith


Prezi is an online presentation software company with a complicated backend system, whose biggest chunk used to be a huge python application we had been building since the company was born, and what had became a pain point for the development and for our availability as well. We decided to separate the mission critical parts into separate, small services (microservices, if you will), and move them together with their databases from physical hardware to the AWS cloud.

In my presentation I will talk about what kind of issues we faced and what decisions we made during this year, how we solved the communication between services, how we managed to do the split with continuous integration and without downtime. I will talk about how the decisions look like in retrospect, and what we have changed since then, or plan to change in the near future. I will also touch on the sensitive topic of how a project like that can take almost a year, even if it was planned for 5 months, and about how hard it is to work on such a long project without visible progress.

Although my presentation will be strongly technical, it won't be limited to one particular technology, I will talk about issues that anyone can face in a project like that.


I'm Daniel Torok, senior software engineer at Prezi.com. I'm working in one of the Critical Backend Services teams whose job is to build an infrastructure that ensures high availability for the most critical parts of our system, to make sure that our users can present anytime, anywhere.

I happen to have some sysadmin background that turned out to be very useful several time in my career. It makes it easier to do devops, helps me writing better code or finding tricky bugs.

In my freetime I like to be with my family, play the piano, or work on a pet-project at home (usually with some functional language involved).

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