Bigtable: A Journey from Binary to Service and the Lessons Learned along the Way

Friday, 4 October, 2019 - 09:0009:45

Brendan Gleason and Gaurav Prabhu Gaonkar, Google


In this talk, we'll examine the development of a global multi-tenant "Bigtable Service" based on Bigtable, a highly scalable wide column store originally developed for single user, single cluster instances. Because SREs value deduplication of effort, this type of service development work is often undertaken by SREs, but building a service is far more complicated than just wrapping "deploy" in a for loop. We'll discuss the challenges of correctly defining your "product", the revelation that the service layer wrapped around the core is a complex distributed system itself, some common traps that SREs fall into when designing services, and the challenges of migrating users to a central service. Finally, we will describe how the relationship between the core product development team and the SRE team has evolved and highlight best practices and anti-patterns for the developer: SRE relationship that we've learned on our journey.

Brendan Gleason, Google

Brendan is a Site Reliability Engineer in Google's New York City office. He primarily worked on Bigtable during his first six years at Google, first on the Bigtable Service and eventually on Cloud Bigtable. More recently Brendan has worked on Google Cloud Platform's developer and monitoring tools.

Gaurav Prabhu Gaonkar, Google

Gaurav Prabhu Gaonkar leads a team of site reliability engineers responsible for running Bigtable as a service at Google. He is passionate about problem solving and has held multiple roles across various companies. Gaurav has deep experience in designing, building and scaling distributed systems. He is currently based in New York City.

@conference {239539,
author = {Brendan Gleason and Gaurav Prabhu Gaonkar},
title = {Bigtable: A Journey from Binary to Service and the Lessons Learned along the Way},
year = {2019},
address = {Dublin},
publisher = {USENIX Association},
month = oct

Presentation Video