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Presentation: Architectures That Scale Deep - Regaining Control in Deep Systems

Track: Architectures You've Always Wondered About

Location: Ballroom A

Duration: 1:40pm - 2:30pm

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We often hear about architectural "scale" as if it's one-dimension and linear. In fact, it is neither, and that's breaking our tools and processes. Where modern, microservice-based architectures are concerned, "large-scale systems" aren't simply larger versions of "small-scale" systems – they are something completely different. Enter the "Deep System."  

In this talk, we first develop a shared intuition and formal definition for "Deep Systems" and their common properties: they are layered, distributed, concurrent, multi-tenant, change continuously, and are a beast to manage with conventional tools! We then re-introduce the fundamentals of control theory from the 1960s, including the original conceptualizations of Observability and its conceptual cousin, Controllability. Finally, we use examples from Google and other organizations to illustrate how deep systems have damaged our ability to observe software, and what we need to do in order to regain confidence and control.

Speaker: Ben Sigelman

CEO and co-founder @LightStepHQ, Co-creator @OpenTracing API standard

Ben Sigelman is a co-founder and the CEO at LightStep, a co-creator of Dapper (Google’s distributed tracing system), and co-creator of the OpenTracing and OpenTelemetry projects (both part of the CNCF). Ben's work and interests gravitate towards observability, especially where microservices, high transaction volumes, and large engineering organizations are involved.

Find Ben Sigelman at