Last weekend was the yearly pelgrimage to Fosdem in Brussels again for geeks (and others) from around the world. On Sunday morning there was a good crowd arriving, but it was hard to get an overview due to the layout of the conference. Hearsay learned us that Sunday was as busy as Saturday.
The NoSQL devroom we organized was a big success. Throughout the day we had a packed room (with way too less oxygen - our usual habitat?) and often we had to put up the "Full" sign and disappoint people that still wanted to enter.
There was a nice lineup of international speakers.
Tim Anglade had the honor to start the day with his presentation NoSQL for fun and profit, where he gave us an overview and some history of the different NoSQL technologies. Including the SQL-NoSQL-NOSQL debated, or is it a non-debate?
Then it was time for some technology introductory sessions. A first one on MongoDB by Kristina Chodorow giving us a clear and detailed view on what MongoDB is about. Lars George followed by explaining the ins and outs of HBase for which he could rely on years of experience with HBase in his 'My life with HBase' talk.
Eric Evans closed the morning sessions with an introduction on Cassandra. It was (quoting @yannski on Twitter) "a very good balanced presentation between high tech and real world".
The afternoon started with a presentation on CouchDB by Benoit Chesneau. CouchDB clearly being a popular topic as the audience kept pouring in for the start of this session.
Next up were two presentations of technologies that use the high-throughput key-value database GT.M as underlying database. First Rob Tweed with M/DB, an opensource emulation of SimpleDB which he wrote in just one week, and M/DBX an open source native XML database. George James followed with an explanation of how they are using GT.M with OpenStreetMap to extend its query capabilities.
A second session on CouchDB attracted again a good crowd. Stéphane Combaudon gave a very clear and informative comparison between MapReduce in CouchDB and SQL in RDBMS. Glad to hear that he (being a SQL DBA) grew from being a stressed CouchDB experimenter to a 'Relaxed' CouchDB user.
I myself had myself the pleasure of closing a successful and informative NoSQL day with a birds-eye view presentation on how we are designing a scalable and available content management system (Lily) on top NoSQL technologies like HBase.
According to the reactions we got from the audience and the speakers, and from what we read on Twitter, this has been a great and fruitful day for all.
Thanks to all the speakers and to the Fosdem staff for organizing this great conference!