First off, just having over 100+ developers in a room (with a VC to boot- Rajesh from Ojas) was great. There were multiple levels of maturity about big data and Hadoop in particular (Zookeeper, Pig scripts, etc.) but this was an awesome start to more technical meetups. I think the format was in beta but it was good to see the energy in the room.
I am a big fan of the unconference in particular, so for developer meetups, this is one of the best formats is my perspective. This one in particular would have been best suited for it.
There were 3 talks – one by Karan from Microsoft, another from Vara & Khadim of Search enabler and 3rd by Vikranth of Data Weave. All three were excellent, hands-on perspective from developers, by developers and for developers.
I personally thought Vara stood out. The most impressive part of the presentation was the confidence that there are folks in India doing excellent work on niche (but growing) and arcane areas, some of it very cutting edge. Vara actually builds his own servers (from cheap components), and has built a suite of tools to automate their imaging, provisioning and maintenance built on open source components. I thought they could offer that as a service to Indian entrepreneurs because even though Amazon is easy, its a tad expensive for Indian startups. Their infrastructure is at least 30% less expensive than Amazon was their perspective and best suited for companies hosting for Indian and neighboring markets.
Their stack had Lucene and Nutch (for crawling and indexing), pig scripts and Zookeeper on top of HDFS. There were over 30 open source tools they have used for the infrastructure management.
My biggest takeaway was that many of these folks are not too far away from contributing back to FOSS community. When I talked to many of the developers to find out why contribution to FOSS was low from India, their personal experience was the lack of confidence that their “code was not up to the mark”.
I think there’s an excellent opportunity for this team or another to build confidence by hosting and running FOSS contribution hackathons. If anyone’s up to it, I’d love to contribute with space, food or some freebies.