Software Engineer, Marathoner, Snowboarder & SDE @ Amazon Web Services, Inc.

LinkedIn and its obsession with Harry Potter

February 6, 2014

It’s our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” - Albus Dumbledore

I started year 2014 with reading quite a lot research papers on systems courtesy of CSE536 Advanced Operating System. I will be writing about my experience of this course and the story of those brave 13 souls who are on an adventurous journey with this course in another post. This post is not about the course, rather I am writing this post wondering, “Why LinkedIn is so obsessed with Harry Porter?”

As a part of the course structure, we are supposed to reproduce the results of a research paper of our choice which we need to pick from the list of 24 “awesome” research papers. When I say “awesome”, I really mean it. All of the papers are unique and challenge different areas of operating systems.

The paper which I picked was on how to efficiently bulk load and serve the data using Voldemort DB. Why I picked this paper? There were two reasons, first that I have interest in databases and distributed systems, and second, I am a Harry Porter fan (Taddaa!!). Any research paper with “Voldemort” in it’s title has to be awesome. And this paper really kept its promises and explained the problem that LinkedIn faced and what made them develop yet another NoSQL database (I mean, aren’t there so many of them already!).

So I started moving on with the task and was browsing LinkedIn’s open source projects, and the first thing which I noticed was the traces of Harry Potter on their site: Voldemort, Azkaban and Norbert.

Voldemort: A distributed key/value database.
Azkaban: A job scheduler to run Hadoop jobs.
Norbert: A cluster management and networking layer built on Zookeeper.

I liked the way their open source projects bear a connection with Harry Potter. Now I can throw some swag while speaking with my PhD friends, “I’m working with Voldemort”. [Ha Ha]