PyCon 2011: Sunday Plenaries with Threadless, Disqus and OpenStack

On Sunday, March 13th, the final official PyCon conference day occurred (there were sprint days that followed, of course). Anyway, they had three interesting plenaries to help lead us into that day’s talks. Read on to find out what they were about.

The Threadless Plenary

Chris McAvoy, VP of Technology at Threadless in Chicago gave a plenary he called Going Full Python. Threadless is a t-shirt company that’s been around at least 10 years and has been a darling of the business world for a while now. I guess it’s also a popular campaign location for local Democrats.

Anyway, the reason they were at PyCon was because they use django for their website now after switching from php. He spoke on the history of the company and how they now support various causes, including the Japanese tsunami tragedy via the selling of special shirts. He had lots of lame jokes and I think his talk had the most cursing of any of them. You can read the comments about it on the convore thread that happened mostly in real-time. You can also see the talk here. I thought it was an interesting talk overall.

The Disqus Plenary

Jason Yan and David Cramer gave a plenary called disqus – world’s largest django system! They had lots of interesting statistics such as these:

  • disqus serves 500 million users
  • founded 4 yrs ago
  • only 16 employees of which 8 are engineers
  • traffic increasing 15-20% a month
  • doubled amount of traffic in 6 months

They created a program called Gargoyle that they open sourced that is some kind of feature switch decorator. I didn’t really understand it’s use case though. They also mentioned that they use the following projects: Hudson, Open Sentry, Monitor Graphite, pylint and pyflakes (I think). You can read the conference goer’s take on the talk here or watch the plenary here.

The OpenStack Plenary

Andy Smith gave a plenary on OpenStack, a project that has origins in NASA and Rackspace. Here are a list of the related projects that he mentioned:

  • swift – object storage system
  • nova – compute size, provisioning VMs
  • glance – image and registry storage
  • burrow – in erlang distributed message
  • dashboard (dash) – django admin interface

Mr. Smith mentioned that NASA uses OpenStack to detect asteroids, so that’s neat. NASA also uses it to take and manage pictures with WYSE (some kind of satellite, I think). The following all use OpenStack too: Citrix, SCALR, cloudkick, OPSCODE, NTT, and piston.

You can read the related convore thread here or the video here.