Velocity Fast By Default Keynote

Day 2 of the Velocity Conference which is going real well. Souders and Robbins are their normal character selves up on the stage right now. Souders says there are 1000 attendees this year, which is sick. Year 1 there were 200 of us. In year 2 we might have had 400 or 500 attendees. So this is huge. Souders mentioned that he had a waiting list of dozens more. Next year is going to be crazy…

Speaker One: James Hamilton

High-scale cloud services and internet search depend upon efficient mega-scale infrastructure. The pace of innovation is ramping up in datacenter power distribution, mechanical systems, intra-data center networking, and server hardware. When the scale is massive and infrastructure costs dominate, technology changes quickly. This talk inventories high-scale service infrastructure costs and some of the innovations driven by optimizing for work done by joule and work done per dollar.

Amazon Web Services
James is VP and Distinguished Engineer at Amazon Web Services where he focuses on infrastructure efficiency, reliability, and scaling. Prior to AWS, James was architect on the Microsoft Data Center Futures team and, over the years, has held leadership roles on several high-scale services and products, including Exchange Hosted Services, Microsoft SQL Server, and IBM DB2. James loves all things server related and is interested in optimizing all components from data center power and cooling infrastructure, through server design, and to the distributed software systems they host. He maintains a high scale services blog at

Notes About the Speaker

Hamilton is one of the infrastructure engineers at Amazon. I’ve run into the guy a few times in the elevator, but haven’t introduced myself. His focus is on data center infrastructure. Cloud services are huge and will have a long-term impact driving innovation up and cost down. 34% of the costs go to power. Amazing since their systems at AWS is only 30% draw.

Next few slides (Yawn…) were about power distribution efficiency. I think everyone in the audience was so bored. Too bad the US/Algeria World Cup game already finished. You probably would have seen half of the crowd leave to watch the game. I think Robbins pumped him up as a speaker because they knew this guy was way too boring.

Only funny point he made was that we could run our data centers hotter. By hotter he means to like 90 to 105 degrees (note to self…Really?). His observation is that game consoles run in hot spaces and burn up a lot of power.

Speaker Two: Urs Hölzle

Urs Hölzle served as the company’s first vice president of engineering and led the development of Google’s technical infrastructure. His current responsibilities include the design and operation of the servers, networks and datacenters that power Google. He is also renowned for both his red socks and his free-range Leonberger, Yoshka (Google’s top dog). Urs joined Google from the University of California, Santa Barbara where he was an associate professor of computer science. He received a master’s degree in computer science from ETH Zurich in 1988 and was awarded a Fulbright scholarship that same year. In 1994, he earned a Ph.D. from Stanford University, where his research focused on programming languages and their efficient implementation.

As one of the pioneers of dynamic compilation, also known as “just-in-time compilation,” Urs invented fundamental techniques used in most of today’s leading Java compilers. Before joining Google, Urs was a co-founder of Animorphic Systems, which developed compilers for Smalltalk and Java. After Sun Microsystems acquired Animorphic Systems in 1997, he helped build Javasoft’s high-performance Hotspot Java compiler.

In 1996, Urs received a CAREER award from the National Science Foundation for his work on high-performance implementations of object-oriented languages. He was also a leading contributor to DARPA’s National Compiler Infrastructure project. Urs has served on program committees for major conferences in the field of programming language implementation, and is the author of numerous scientific papers and U.S. patents.

Notes on Session

Speed Matters…started off with an awesome presentation about Chrome is faster than a speeding potato. Absolutely funny…Here’s a link to the video. He wants the web to be about .01ms or as fast as turning a page in a book.

Puts emphasis on the Chrome browser. It uses HTML5, V8 JavaScript engine, DNS prefetching, VP8 codec…it’s open source and spurs competition. Calls out that IE and FF are still suffering from latency. Avg. page latency still is greater than 2s.

Note to Self: At one point during yesterday’s session and today’s keynote I got the strange suspicion that a lot of folks presenting and a lot of folks listening are struggling with fresh ideas for tackling performance gains. It’s almost as though they feel the low-hanging fruit is all picked and that some transformative change is necessary. No one could really articulate what that transformation is or will be. Kind of strange…I only say this because after 3 years of Velocity and several mid-year webinars, I get the sense that there’s not a lot of innovation. Maybe I’m wrong, but given the repetition of the subject I’m struggling with this…

He mentioned using Public DNS and the benefits for Performance. Check this link that discusses

Tools He Mentioned

  • Auto Spriter
  • Speed Tracer
  • Closure Compiler
  • Page Speed

Speaker Three: Vik Chaudhary

Keynote Systems, Inc.
Vik Chaudhary serves as vice president of product management and corporate development. He is responsible for leading Keynote’s product strategy, sales enablement, and executing on the company’s acquisitions and partnerships. Mr. Chaudhary has spent 19 years in chief executive, marketing, and engineering positions at blue-chip and start-up technology companies. At Keynote, he previously served as vice president of marketing and corporate development, extending the company into new markets via ten acquisitions. Before joining Keynote, he was CEO of on-demand analytics company Bizmetric, ran product management at database pioneer Gupta Technologies, and led core software engineering teams at Oracle. Mr. Chaudhary is a frequent speaker at industry events on software strategy and M&A, and has been featured in the New York Times and on the ABC News Nightline program. Mr. Chaudhary holds a B.S. in Computer Science and Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Notes on Session About Mobile Web Performance

Great…another year…another sales presentation by Keynote. I know they sponsor the event, but it’s an absolute travishamockery that these guys get up year after year and peddle their products. This one is about monitoring and testing mobile applications.

They claim the product, called MITE 2.0 is 100% free. It’s designed from the ground up for mobile. So question for us…can we really use this? It looks like they simply have built a simulator. MITE produces a score similar to YSlow score. This might be something to share with the mobile team.


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