At Clustrix, the process of bringing new features to market for our scale-out relational database is always an interesting challenge. As we scope each Release, Sales/Marketing brings Customer expectations and requirements to the table, Engineering brings technical feasibilities, and Product Management brings understanding of the competitive landscape.
The challenge is that each technical tradeoff—such as allowing flexible Durability to increase transaction volume—can have big implications in the grand scheme of things: Just how much should the database allow ‘trading-off’ high-availability for performance? Director of Product Management Dave Anselmi’s task is to help everyone get to the same page: what features are we going to build, and when.
As Anselmi described recently, while it may be true that ‘anything is possible’ in terms of creating software, not everything is probable, especially in a modern software release-cycle. So it boils down to- “What can we build that adds significant functionality to our target markets, and what’s the MVP (minimum viable product) for our next Release?” With that as a baseline, the Engineers get flexibility in their schedule, as well as room to ‘go deep’ in phases. So he likes to round up the stakeholders early on, to ensure they have their say in the scoping process. This helps us provide a much better product, and continue our excellent customer satisfaction ratings.
Not only responsible for Product Requirements, Anselmi also has a direct role as project manager for the UI Team. “In this market, you want to release robust product features as quick as possible,” Anselmi explained. “In the past, companies used the old ‘waterfall’ style release path, which involved requirements identification, analysis, design, code, test, implementation and maintenance. It would take a minimum of twelve and usually closer to twenty-four months. At Clustrix, we increasingly use more Agile methodologies, significantly shrinking the Release cycles. And our UI is in the process of migrating into a full Agile/SCRUM process, with Releases targeted every month.”
Making Anselmi’s job easier, however, is the fact that working at Clustrix is not like working at most other database companies. Clustrix has created a highly-scalable, very fast and highly-available database that far outpaces the competition. The team also happens to be comprised of technical wizards, who are capable of producing jaw-dropping results. “Some of the stuff that goes on underneath the hood is really rocket science,” he said. “The main engine is coded in C, and leverages two in-house languages RIL and TIL, as well as a Cascades query optimizer, Paxos, MVCC, automatic data slicing and rebalancing, as well as parallelizing both SQL execution and replication log replaying. That’s pretty awesome, and the team has several patents for their accomplishments.”
The result is a really unique RDBMS in the database landscape: a linear scale-out RDBMS. “I worked at Oracle previously, and can’t tell you how many times I heard very, very smart Database Architects tell me it’s ‘not possible’ to linearly scale-out reads and writes while maintaining RDBMS features like cross-node JOINs, referential integrity, and full ACID guarantees. So having the opportunity to be at Clustrix and work with a team who’s doing exactly that, is tremendously exciting.”
The team possesses more than just a high level of technical knowledge. Anselmi touched on the team’s drive, and their commitment to mastering problems and moving on to solve others. This is particularly important for those seeking employment at Clustrix. Success here requires the ability to take ownership of a project, complete it and move onto something else. What makes this process great, Anselmi explained, is that people keep learning as they move from project to project. At some other software companies, engineers tend to work on the same projects for years. At Clustrix, you’ll never have to worry about getting bored.
“We want someone to come in who wants to dig into some really interesting code, see how this stuff works and then strive to make significant changes—something that you can really be proud of,” Anselmi said. “It isn’t like making an application that just shuffles social connections on your phone. This is really challenging—and interesting—material.”
Does this sound like something you are interested in? Learn more about how you can join the Engineering Team at Clustrix.