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An interview with Cloudera’s Kathleen Ting - ZooKeeper aficionado

JAX - Can you sum up your JAXConf session in 140 characters? 

KT - Configure ZooKeeper correctly and it’ll be as impenetrable as a distributed system allows.

JAX - Why is the theme of your session important to developers right now?

KT - ZooKeeper is the unsung hero. Although a critical component, ZooKeeper is often noticed only after it’s missing. In this presentation, we’ll talk about how to efficiently resolve some of the common issues that can cause ZooKeeper’s unavailability. An impenetrable ZooKeeper makes for a healthy cluster.

JAX - Why did you start coding?

KT - When I was growing up I wanted to be just like my older brother, an attorney. That was until my sophomore year of high school when on a whim, I attended an engineering camp hosted by Santa Clara University.I found myself happily holed up in the computer lab coding functional programming exercises in LISP. (Tiger got to hunt. Bird got to fly.

Lisper got to sit and wonder, (Y (Y Y))? – with apologies to Kurt Vonnegut and hat tip to Darius Bacon.)

JAX - What in the development world (project or otherwise) is really interesting you at the moment?

KT - In a former life, I wrote software for storage on the mainframe, and in those days, you needed really deep pockets for pricey software and a lot of expensive big iron to get much value from your data. But now, with Apache Hadoop serving as the “Great Equalizer” for storing and processing Big Data, many, many more companies have the ability to do the same thing a lot more economically using open-source software and industry-standard hardware. I think the time is now for Big Data – there are more and more use cases every day, and for that reason, everyone wants a piece of the action. It’s an exciting time to be involved!

JAX - Who are your tech heroes?

KT - @cutting, @BigDataBorat, @DEVOPS_BORAT, @aprabhakar, @aaron_kimball, @gstein, @noirinp, @saintstack, @awadallah, @QwertyManiac, @jmhsieh, @tlipcon, @atm, @esammer, @elicollins, @mikeolson, @cbisciglia, @hackingdata, @otrajman, @esteban

JAX - What does the future hold for Java and/or the JVM?

KT - Big data platforms are written in Java. Big data is going places. Java’s along for the ride.


JAX - What’s the soundtrack to your work?

KT - Come Sail Away by the Styx

JAX - Would you rather fight one horse-sized duck or 100 duck-sized horses? Explain your reasoning.

KT - One horse-sized duck. Never underestimate distributed power - computing or otherwise.

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