It's been almost a week ago already that we indulged ourselves with a 48 hour period of full-on NoSQLness. About time to report on that, no?
It all started last Sunday meeting up with Lars George, self-proclaimed EU HBase ambassador to talk shop about HBase and our decision to use HBase as the underlying foundation of our next-generation content store. After sharing a couple of beers and lamenting the rather silent state of the NoSQL movement in Europe, we felt we could be part of the solution rather than the problem so there's a good chance we'll try and organize a NoSQL meetup somewhere in Spring of next year, hopefully being able to share some more in-depth war stories from our own experiences.
After beers and a good night of rest, we spent a good part of the day discussing HBase and Lars' own experiences with it, and I must confess being impressed with Lars' gut to go down the HBase route at a pretty premature stage of its infancy - good to hear it has mostly been living up to its promises so far. Here are some meeting notes from our meeting (application/pdf, 11.9 kB, info) - verbatim.
In the late afternoon I was expected in Antwerp for my Devoxx "Tools in Action" talk on NoSQL (with some focus on HBase). It went OK, though it's hard to fit any kind of coherent story into a 30' talk (and my time management is obviously pretty bad). I gave the audience (about 200 people) a very short overview of our reasoning behind moving from My- to NoSQL for our CMS platform, presented "the classics" (CAP and BASE) and then gave a very short HBase intro to finish. I got some questions afterwards as well, which in my mind translates as "people found it interesting enough to want more". Oh, and I only went 5' behind schedule! :-)
After the talk, I went down to the BOF rooms to be greeted by Lars and my Outerthinkers setting up the BOF room. Evert learned us about the fishbowl discussion technique, which was pretty interesting and a cool way to "warm up" a room full of techies to actually have an interactive group discussion between strangers. I would lie while understating the importance of Lars' presence during the BOF, as the planned generic NoSQL theme quickly converged around HBase-only chatter, however a lot of the common challenges, problems and design constraints are pretty similar among the different NoSQL solutions.
We didn't mind the BOF becoming HBase-centric, if only that it showed that next year, Devoxx should accomodate a full NoSQL track (or set of BOFs) given the current interest in the subject. With 50 people attending a late-evening BOF session, I'm sure there's interest for more!
Related, don't forget to check out the Xebia blog report on NoSQL/Devoxx as well!