Sean T. Allen on Life Beyond Distributed Transactions: An Apostate’s Opinion

San Francisco - July 2018


In 2007, Pat Helland published “Life Beyond Distributed Transactions: An Apostate’s Opinion,” in which he conducts a thought experiment on how to design a distributed database that can scale almost infinitely. While the paper explicitly addresses distributed database design, I'll show that the ideas are far more widely applicable, particularly in scaling stateful applications. In particular, how we implemented some of the ideas from the paper in our distributed stream processor Wallaroo.


Sean T. Allen is VP of Engineering at Wallaroo Labs and a member of the Pony core team. His turn-ons include programming languages, distributed computing, Hiwatt amplifiers, and Fender Telecasters. His turn-offs include mayonnaise, stirring yogurt, and sloppy code. He is one of the authors of Storm Applied.