When GET by key just won’t do

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In my last article, I described some adventures in scaling a SCAN heavy redis workload. I ended intending to explore Redis Enterprise. I hoped to outsource the problem to the team behind redis.

It turns out SCAN is irredeemable and Obi-Wan Kebobi cannot save us from it. But, Redis Enterprise supports the RediSearch module, which enables an elegant solution.

Problem and Naive Approach

Let’s back up. The workload in question comes from a car wash analytics platform. Here are example keys stored in redis. These are composite keys formed from a prefix, a location id, and a license plate. …


And vertical scaling isn’t an option

When in the course of human events you encounter a scenario that drives redis CPU into the red zone, what is your move? I recently encountered such a scenario.

Redis is a popular open source in memory database. It is available as a managed service on AWS (Elasticache) and Google Cloud (Memorystore).

Here’s a chart of Google Memorystore CPU utilization for the past 2 weeks.

On March 3, CPU crossed the 80% threshold. You may be wondering what kind of workload can drive redis CPU to this level.

Here’s a timechart by redis operation…


A gadfly to usher in change…

Software is still eating the world. Banks, insurance companies and grocery stores are busy reinventing themselves as tech companies. In my last post, I proposed a pattern language for enterprise transformation. The concept is analogous to the design patterns used in software design. I suggested Phoenix Project as an inaugural pattern. Today, I’ll suggest a second: Technical Evangelist.

Technical Evangelist

After we completed the Phoenix Project described in the earlier post, I assumed a new role. The ask was to embed in engineering teams and nudge them in a new direction. Our teams had been building…


How to transform your organization from the bottom up

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Transformation is in vogue. The internet, cloud computing, ideas from Japanese manufacturing are all motivating change. Businesses are busy reinventing themselves for the Digital Age. A sampling of transformations companies are attempting:

  • Agile
  • Continuous Delivery
  • Cloud
  • DevOps
  • Lean Enterprise
  • Cultural

In 1994, the Gang of Four published a pattern language for object-oriented software development. A design pattern is a generalized solution to a real-world problem. We’ve seen patterns emerge for REST API design, cloud architecture, and UI design.

This got me wondering: might we be able to define a pattern language…


Answering Google Tech Lead’s interview question

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Google Tech Lead is a YouTube personality who posts content of interest to software engineers. Recently, I found a programming challenge he uses to interview candidates. Go ahead and watch him describe the problem. Note: you may want to pause the video prior to his explanation of the solution.

Given a grid of colored cells, find the maximum number of connected colors.


On fathers, sons, and the space between

Photo by Paweł Czerwiński on Unsplash

Ad Astra looks like a science fiction movie, but it isn’t. It’s a story about human connection, and the gravitational pull between father and son.

In Ad Astra, we follow astronaut, Roy McBride, on a top secret mission to contact his father, Clifford McBride. The elder McBride left earth to lead a scientific mission in search of intelligent life. Roy has not heard from his father for 27 years. He was reportedly killed 11 years earlier. Now, Roy hears news that his father may be alive.

Mysterious power surges threaten earth and the…


The relation between performance, networks and success

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The Formula is a book about success written by a network scientist. It is an attempt to bring the scientific method to a segment of the book world typically dominated by intuition and anecdote. The author, Albert-László Barabási, studies networks of all kinds: biological, computer and social. He posited that the same analysis would be valuable in understanding success. He pursued an investigation. This book is the result.

Barabási neatly summarizes his conclusions on success as five laws.

First, some definitions.

We often use the words performance and success interchangeably. The Formula clearly…


“Why some companies make the leap and others don’t”

Photo by Dušan Smetana on Unsplash

Good to Great is a study in organizational change. Author Jim Collins sought to answer a question: why do some mediocre companies become great, while others don’t? How can a company with middling, even bad performance, transform itself into one that achieves lasting exceptional performance?

Collins approached this question seriously. He wanted to distill answers out of hard, empirical data. He believed that timeless wisdom is a byproduct of scientific rigor.

Collins assembled a motivated team. Under his direction, they applied a strict methodology to choose the Good to Great companies…


On invading a mainstream market

Before reading Crossing the Chasm, I had a dim view of marketing. I assumed that great products would market themselves. At best, I saw marketing as superfluous. At worst, I found it dishonest and unsavory.

This book changed my view.

Crossing the Chasm is a guide for marketing high tech products to mainstream markets. It’s a marketing book that engineers can appreciate.

The book starts by modeling the buying public as segments on a normal distribution based on willingness to adopt change.

The Innovators, three standard deviations from the mean, are the most willing to…


“A great company is a conspiracy to change the world.”

Heinrich Fueger: Prometheus brings fire to mankind

Zero to One is a guide on how to make a dent in the universe. It’s written by someone who has. Peter Thiel was co-founder of PayPal and Palantir, and an early investor in Facebook.

“What important truth do very few people agree with you on?” Thiel poses this question at the start of his book. He challenges us to reconsider conventional wisdom. Societies are prone to mass delusions. Think of the internet bubble and the housing bubble. Great companies realize a secret truth that no one else does. This…

Ranjith Zachariah

One man‘s pursuit.

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