Make Sure Your Records Are Reliable With The BookKeeper Distributed Storage Layer


June 8th, 2021

42 mins 1 sec

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About this Episode


The way to build maintainable software and systems is through composition of individual pieces. By making those pieces high quality and flexible they can be used in surprising ways that the original creators couldn’t have imagined. One such component that has gone above and beyond its originally envisioned use case is BookKeeper, a distributed storage system that is optimized for durability and speed. In this episode Matteo Merli shares the story behind the creation of BookKeeper, the various ways that it is being used today, and the architectural aspects that make it such a strong building block for projects such as Pulsar. He also shares some of the other interesting systems that have been built on top of it and an amusing war story of running it at scale in its early years.


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  • Your host is Tobias Macey and today I’m interviewing Matteo Merli about Apache BookKeeper, a scalable, fault-tolerant, and low-latency storage service optimized for real-time workloads


  • Introduction
  • How did you get involved in the area of data management?
  • Can you describe what BookKeeper is and the story behind it?
  • What are the most notable features/capabilities of BookKeeper?
  • What are some of the ways that BookKeeper is being used?
  • How has your work on Pulsar influenced the features and product direction of BookKeeper?
  • Can you describe the architecture of a BookKeeper cluster?
    • How have the design and goals of BookKeeper changed or evolved over time?
  • What is the impact of record-oriented storage on data distribution/allocation within the cluster when working with variable record sizes?
  • What are some of the operational considerations that users should be aware of?
  • What are some of the most interesting/compelling features from your perspective?
  • What are some of the most often overlooked or misunderstood capabilities of BookKeeper?
  • What are the most interesting, innovative, or unexpected ways that you have seen BookKeeper used?
  • What are the most interesting, unexpected, or challenging lessons that you have learned while working on BookKeeper?
  • When is BookKeeper the wrong choice?
  • What do you have planned for the future of BookKeeper?

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Parting Question

  • From your perspective, what is the biggest gap in the tooling or technology for data management today?

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The intro and outro music is from The Hug by The Freak Fandango Orchestra / CC BY-SA

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