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6 July 2018 St John's Hoxton, London, N1 6NP

Thomas Michael Wallace


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The first thing I ever designed was a bridge (it’s still standing). These days I can be found leading development for DevicePilot, a startup that helps companies measure the success of their IoT offerings.

Over the last year and a half we’ve delivered a platform entirely based on serverless that lets our customers do ad hoc analysis across nearly 50k devices; and we’re just about to sign-up 200k more. After a year and a half of serverless, I’m always happy to share my mistakes with others.

Talk: We built our own serverless database, and you should too. Probably.

At two in the morning I was rapidly firing up EC2 instances in a desperate attempt to keep our platform alive. It wasn’t working. We were on track to losing our first big customer. We did. But six weeks later, we closed the deal.

This is a story about building a time-series database in lambda. About the agility being able to spin up 3000 machines in an instant can give you. About how you can use that to learn about the product you need to build. And about a team of three developers who no longer hide under their desks every time one of our customers treble in size. It’s also about that sinking feeling you get when you notice bits of your architecture randomly failing- and you realise there’s some important small print in the lambda definition of “scalable”. If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to build and run your product on map-reduce in AWS lambda. This is the talk for you.

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