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Database Performance at Scale: Free Book & Masterclass

Discover new ways to optimize database performance – and avoid common pitfalls  – with this free book and  a video crash course by the authors

In case you haven’t heard, we wrote a book on database performance – and you can get it for free! A quick look at some of the buzz  so far:

The 270-page book stems from an unconventional global collaboration between Felipe Cardeneti Mendes, Piotr Sarna, Pavel Emelyanov, and myself. Fun fact: we produced the entire book without a single all-author virtual meeting – and we’ve never all met in person.

We wrote the book to share our collective experience with performance-focused database engineering as well as performance-focused database users. It represents what we think teams striving for extreme database performance — low latency, high throughput, or both—should be thinking about, but often overlook. This includes the nuances of DB internals, drivers, infrastructure, topology, monitoring, and quite a lot more.

Digital Download + Request Printed Book

Although it was written by people from ScyllaDB, it’s not a book “about” ScyllaDB per se. We wanted to explore the topic of database performance at a broader level so the book would be relevant even beyond the ScyllaDB community. It doesn’t matter what database you’re currently using (MongoDB, MySQL, Postgres, Cassandra, DynamoDB…). If you’re experiencing some pain related to database latency and/or throughput – or you fear you will suffer soon – this is a book for you. And if you’re considering or already using ScyllaDB, you’ll definitely want to look at this book.

We invite you to dive into the book and to share your brutally honest feedback with us (find us on the socials). But we also know that not everyone has time to read a book these days. So, the authors – plus one of our tech reviewers – recently came together to deliver a Database Performance at Scale masterclass sharing key points from the book in just a couple of hours.

If you weren’t among the thousand people who attended live, you missed your chance to get your burning database performance questions during the author panel. But, you can still watch the sessions on-demand for a crash course on database performance at scale. We covered how to:

  • Navigate the top performance challenges and tradeoffs that you’re likely to face with your project’s specific workload characteristics and technical/business requirements (Felipe Cardenti Mendes)
  • Understand the impact of database internals – specifically, what to look for if you need latency and/or throughput improvements (Pavel Emelyanov and Botond Dénes)
  • Explore the critical role drivers play in performance, some of the commonly-overlooked pitfalls, and strategies to apply when things go wrong (Piotr Sarna)

And then came the panel discussion. With Felipe doing double duty as moderator and participant, the group covered a range of topics including:

  • The inspiration for the fantastic tales of Joan and poor Patrick, featured in Chapter 1
  • Why we don’t see DPDK used more often
  • A look at concepts of scheduling groups and isolation in Seastar
  • What key performance metrics organizations teams should be monitoring and why
  • How Piotr is thinking about distributed database embeddability over at Turso
  • The most important factor related to database performance

You can watch how it all plays out here:

If you want to explore the three core videos, plus test your knowledge with our certification exam, access the full masterclass (it’s just 90 minutes).

Access the Masterclass

Keep Learning: Podcasts with Book Authors

Piotr Sarna and Felipe Cardeneti Mendes were recently invited to share their insights on various tech podcasts.

Piotr on The Distributed Fabric Pod

Piotr started the podcast ball rolling with an appearance on The Distributed Fabric Pod, where host Vipul Vaibhaw explores the fascinating world of distributed systems, database internals, deep learning, programming languages etc. In this episode, Vipul and Piotr chatted about the book, database drivers and database internals, Zig vs Rust, the broader challenges of distributed systems, and advice for new engineers.


Felipe on The Geek Narrator

Felipe kept the podcast momentum going with The Geek Narrator (Kaivalya Apte), who just kicked a new series focused on database internals – featuring ScyllaDB as well as DynamoDB, Cassandra, CockroachDB, DuckDB, Neo4J, TiDb, Clickhouse, and more. Kaivalya and Felipe took a deep dive into ScyllaDB’s unique close-to-the-hardware design, with an emphasis on why design decisions like our shard-per-core architecture, specialized cache, and IO scheduling matter for database users who require predictable performance at scale.

About Cynthia Dunlop

Cynthia is Senior Director of Content Strategy at ScyllaDB. She has been writing about software development and quality engineering for 20+ years.