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The Best Way to Master a Technology Is to Teach It to Others

Ikai Lan


Your Language Doesn't Scale: A Discussion of the Nature of Scaling

One of the first questions asked about any new web framework or language is,“Does It Scale?” More often than not, this is one of those questions that is asked before “scaling” itself is correctly defined. What does it mean to scale? Given a hundred projects, scaling could have a hundred different meanings; some similar, others very different from one another.

This session will begin with a discussion of the idea that scaling, in all its different forms, is less a function of the specific languages and frameworks used and more a problem that is solved holistically at the systems architecture level. Following that discussion, we will focus on case studies of the scaling challenges the LinkedIn LED team has faced, particularly with regards to our experiences building web applications and web services.


From 0 to 1,000,000 in 46 Days: Scaling a Facebook Application in Rails

In a strange twist of fate that can only be filed in the “the gods must be crazy” cabinet, LinkedIn created one of the most popular applications on Facebook, Bumper Sticker. Bumper Sticker was created as an evaluation of both the Facebook platform as well as the feasibility of building high traffic applications with Ruby on Rails.

This discussion will start off very light hearted as a look into the conversations that took place when Facebook launched their platform, the various wagers and predictions that were made in the days following the announcement, and lead into a very technical discussion about the steps that were taken to grow the application to serve 30 million requests a day while maintaining the user experience internet users have come to demand of their applications.

Photo of Ikai Lan

Ikai Lan comes to us from LinkedIn, where he is a member of the Light Engineering Division (LED). At LinkedIn, Ikai contributes to initiatives that focus on building out engaging features for LinkedIn’s professional user base, such as the Mobile, Direct Polls and OpenSocial initiatives. He also maintains the Facebook Bumper Sticker application.

Ikai has worn many hats, having been a systems admin, field engineering consultant, technology startup bootstrapper, network engineer and of course, software developer. Ikai is a graduate of San Jose State University. His interests with regards to technology range from anything as abstract as the role of technology and its relationship to ethics, to distributed applications and information assurance. If you’ve ever been looking for someone who can use the phrase “Diffie-Hellman” and quote Bill Joy in the same breath, Ikai is your man.