We would like to give a huge thank you to our speakers, the talks they deliver are the reason we have this conference.

Scaling using Amazon Web Services

Miles Ward
Technology Solutions Architect
Amazon Web Services

Miles Ward is a three-time technology startup entrepreneur with a decade of experience building global-scale analysis infrastructures. Miles has been at Amazon Web Services since 2010 and is responsible for designing and developing AWS Solution Architectures relating to big data and social analytics, multi-tiered storage, HA and DR approaches for RDBMS systems, and cost optimization using Spot. Miles recently published the AWS SQL Server on EC2 white paper, is a patent holder and consummate geek.

Clearly I Have Made Some Bad Decisions

Jonathan Hitchcock
Operations Lead

Too often in the organization of this conference we have heard "but I don't have scalability issues".

This talk discusses what scalability issues actually are, and details why we all inevitably have them. Avoiding them, or delaying solutions until they are unavoidable, leads to making many bad "temporary" decisions that cannot be fixed further down the line.

I will discuss the methodologies and best practices that are required in order to be scalable, and describe the common mistakes they will temper, and why they should be implemented immediately. Finally, I will briefly touch on how to deal with rectifying the bad decisions that we all inevitably make, no matter how forward-thinking we are.

Jonathan is the Operations Team Leader at During his time there, he has helped scale the site to where it is now, currently hosting around ten million sites. Involved in the world of startups, DevOps and scalability, he wants to help seed the culture here in Cape Town, and hopes that ScaleConf will aid that.

Webscaling Tips

Craig Raw
Founding CTO

A collection of some of my learnings from a decade of building and hosting websites and web applications for one of Africa's largest digital agencies. It will cover areas such as languages, persistence, infrastructure architecture and scaling your team.

Craig is the founding CTO of Quirk, one of Africa's largest digital agencies. A programmer since before he can properly remember, Craig believes strongly in using technology to educate, create jobs and improve lives. As such, he's created and supported numerous pieces of widely used web-related software over the years, from the online reputation management tool BrandsEye to the open source Firefox extension SearchStatus.

Scaling GitHub

Zach Holman
Github Employee of the month

A month after launching, GitHub hosted one thousand repositories. Three years later, we host over three million. In the same time we've gone from one thousand users to over a million.

This type of scaling presents some interesting technical challenges. I'll dig into our development workflow and how we address concepts like scaling, deployment, code review, and testing.

It also presents some interesting business challenges, too. How you grow your company from three employees, how you work in teams, and how you split your app up into services all help ensure that you'll be able to react to your product's growth.

Zach works at GitHub. When he's not doing that, he's blogging, hacking on open source, and filming screencasts that are anything but "traditional" screencasts. He attracted national media fame and glory when he built Facelette, a ridiculous three-hour experiment, and lost all of it again after admitting he sometimes stays home on Friday nights and replies to support emails.

Nimbula's bIC - lessons learned and challenges faced

Bryn Divey

bIC is Nimbula's resilient distributed init system that reacts to scale. This talk will cover the evolution of the tool, the problems it had to overcome, and the lessons learned from developing it.

Bryn Divey has worked in several Cape Town startups, and has spent the last three years at Nimbula building a cloud operating system. He spends his days building distributed, self-healing software which can cope with scale, and in his spare time he repeatedly tries to learn Haskell.

Highly available infrastructure on the cheap

Deon Erasmus
Infrastructure specialist
Breakpoint Solutions

Sometimes, hosting your new web or mobile app in the cloud may not be an option, and you'll be faced with the challenge of building your own infrastructure and hosting it somewhere. Being a startup, chances are you are short on cash, already wearing several hats, and inexperienced with the hard stuff. How do you go about designing, sizing, specifying, procuring, implementing, deploying and monitoring the infrastructure for your new app, with a limited budget, and without compromising its ability to scale when your new service takes off? Practical advice, proven configurations and common pitfalls are covered in this talk.

Deon designs and builds infrastructure, and has extensive experience in deploying and integrating bespoke platforms into all kinds of environments. Largely focused on networking, firewalls, storage and virtualisation, he sometimes pretends to know stuff about Oracle, Solaris and Linux. He holds an Asterisk certification issued by Digium themselves, but intensely dislikes telephony and being telephoned. Lately he has been dabbling in application delivery networking voodoo and cultivating tasty vegetables for own consumption.

Scaling a mobile social network

Ashley Peters

2go has developed a hugely successful mobile social network around its 2go Messenger; a network that has grown to 15 million users across Africa in just a few years. If rapid infrastructure scaling doesn't present enough challenges, doing so in an emerging market only makes it more interesting. Ashley will share techniques used and lessons learned during 2go's growth and what is planned for the future.

Ashley co-founded 2go while studying at university. Since then he has helped grow and scale one of Africa's most popular social networks. His time is spent scaling the company and technology behind 2go. Ashley is passionate about creating things, breaking things and connecting with people.

Learning to Fail

Simon de Haan
Chief Engineer
Praekelt Foundation

Building applications for scale in emerging markets such as Africa, while terribly exciting, can be an incredibly uncomfortable exercise. Not only from a perspective of the technical challenges but just as much from a team perspective. One of the keys to staying sane is admitting that we all write terrible code, dreadfully hacky workarounds and resort to incredibly poor solutions all the time. I'll be talking about our experience in failure at Praekelt and how that adds value to what we do and the impact we aim to have.

Growing up in the Middle East left an indelible impression on Simon and sparked a passionate interest in community development, entrepreneurship and technology. After completing a B.Eng in Media Technology in the Netherlands Simon worked for several prominent digital agencies before being appointed CTO of a promising internet startup in Amsterdam. In 2009 Simon moved to South Africa to focus on community development work through the use of technology to improve lives of the less privileged.

Software Architecture and building E-Commerce Websites

Wesley Lynch
Founder and CEO

Driven by a passion for software and problem solving, Wesley Lynch founded Realmdigital in 1999. Wesley, a technology entrepreneur, has over a decade of experience in the financial, business and software development industries; gained both locally and during his time in the UK. He is deeply involved in producing innovative technology solutions for African and international businesses and regularly shares his knowledge and experience through participation in various industry events.

Mark Phillips
Community Manager
Basho Technologies

Distributed systems aren't limited to the world of computing. Companies and communities, for example, are also distributed networks of resources. In this talk, we'll take a high-level look at computers, companies, and communities as distributed systems and examine why maintaining their health is crucial if they are to scale.

Mark is the Community Manager at Basho Technologies, the company that leads development on software like Riak, Webmachine, and Rebar. Mark is passionate about open source software, community building, and Hall & Oates. He's also dedicated to bringing scalable, distributed systems to the masses.

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