OmniTI's Surge Conference: Then and Now

September 06, 2013 - by Rachel Balik

Four years ago, employees at OmniTI, a scalability and performance consulting firm with a reputation for building great, scalable web applications and infrastructure, decided to gather members of the development community to discuss the present and future of web operations. And so, Surge was born. What began as a melding of minds has evolved to become the definitive conference for developers that care about performance and scalability.

This year, we’re excited to have a big presence at Surge, with Joyent engineers Bryan Cantrill, Mark Cavage and David Pacheco speaking. One of our retail eCommerce customers, Wanelo, will also be speaking on how they used Manta to scale event-based data collection and analysis.

Of course, we've been active participants of Surge since the beginning, when Bryan first gave the keynote in 2010. We thought it might be fun to check back in with Theo Schlossnagle, CEO and Founder of OmniTI and get his thoughts on how the conference has grown over the past four years. He agreed to do a quick interview with us. Read on to see his thoughts on Surge and web operations this year!

What made you decide to host the first Surge conference?

I participated in technical conferences for many years all around the world and found that specific concerns around building scalable systems were well underserved.

How has the conference changed over the past four years?

Aside from organic growth and a steadily improving reputation, it hasn't changed too much. It is still a conference run by and for practitioners coping with problems of scalability. This year we've added a bit of clarity around tracks breaking out content into "infrastructure," "architecture," and "organizational" material. This should help attendees better navigate the conference.

What is the biggest change you've seen in web operations in the last four years?

The general tolerance for failures has increased. I find it both sad and alarming! While ambitions are lofty and the general approach is sounder, the inability to effectively leverage cloud solutions has resulted in fairly abysmal service records. One would think this would cause alarm, but instead it seems to cause apathy.

Are there any specific trends you are seeing in this year's talks?

I'm excited by the lack of specific trends. We will have a fabulous variety of talks and I expect participants will learn a great deal.

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