Spiral
Spiral (source: Pxhere.com)

We received more than 200 abstracts for talks for the 2018 O'Reilly Software Architecture Conference in London—on both expected and surprising topics. We continue to see strong interest in microservices and its related ecosystem, including topics like DevOps and tools like Kubernetes. The quality of the abstracts led to a stellar lineup of speakers, talks, and keynotes.

Two of the outstanding features of the O'Reilly Software Architecture Conference are the depth and breadth of our content. While most conferences have a single software architecture track, our whole conference revolves around software architecture. That means we can go much deeper, covering topics that would be too rarefied for other conferences. That also means we can spread out, tackling subjects critical to success as an architect (like soft skills) but too broad for most developers conferences. To showcase our depth and breadth, I've chosen a few sessions to highlight, illustrating the astounding variety of topics and perspectives on display this year.

Introduction to Chaos Architecture: Gaining from Learning Loops and System Weaknesses, by Russ Miles, ChaosIQ.io

Chaos engineering and the attendant architectural concerns is a red-hot topic—we had a lot of interesting talks at the Software Architecture Conference in New York this year, too. In the talk linked here, Russ Miles asks the pointed question: "What happens when (not if) something in your system breaks? How will you handle it?" Pioneered by Netflix, chaos engineering represents a great example of continuing innovation in software engineering practices.

Technology Strategy Patterns for Architects, by Eben Hewitt, Sabre

This is cheating, as both this and the previous talks happen at the same time, but I can't not mention both! I had the privilege to review Hewitt's upcoming O'Reilly book by the same title. A great example of our breadth, this talk exposes the uninitiated to the seemingly arcane world and nomenclature of strategy consultants. Architects must often participate in these types of meetings, so understanding the building blocks and approaches of these consultants allows architects to participate and contribute. A highly recommended talk in an area almost never covered at technology conferences.

7 Years of DDD: Tackling Complexity in Large-Scale Marketing Systems, by Vladik Khononov, Naxex

We get a huge number of excellent case studies at the O'Reilly Software Architecture Conference, which we like because it gives attendees insight into real-world problems and solutions; this one is an outstanding example. Many organizations think about embracing the domain-driven design (DDD) philosophy but wonder about the long game—where will we be seven years from now? This talk provides useful perspective of the long-term implications, problems, and solutions inherent in fully embracing a technique like DDD.

Observable Microservices, by Maria Gomez, ThoughtWorks

Like peanut butter and chocolate, monitoring and microservices are a natural combination. This talk delves into the nuances of building microservices that incorporate sophisticated monitoring and fitness functions for a better understanding of the runtime characteristics of your system.

Beyond the Technical—Succeed at Leading a Software Architecture Team, by Maggie Carroll, Ausley.us

Many architects are shocked when they realize how many non-technical skills are required to be successful at their jobs, and team leadership tops the list. This talk covers critical skills and perspectives for architects to embrace to help team building.

Architecting for Data-Driven Reliability, by Yaniv Aknin, Google Cloud

Data is often ignored in architecture talks as a messy inconvenience, but the real world doesn't allow that luxury. As architectures become more distributed, data reliability becomes a critical concern. This talk covers how to design an architecture to ensure modern capabilities while still maintaining old-school reliability.

Event Streaming as a Source of Truth, by Benjamin Stopford

As teams build more sophisticated distributed systems, they sometimes move to event streams rather than databases as the source of truth. However, architects must deal with numerous issues and considerations when making such a fundamental shift. This talk covers the pros and cons, along with some best practices and warnings.

Distributed Systems Are a UX Problem, by Tyler Treat, Real Kinetic

No matter how distributed many architectures become, they still re-unify at a monolithic user interface. Many architects struggle reconciling a highly distributed microservices architecture with a monolithic user interface; this talk covers many of the issues and offers some solutions.

Sundhed.dk's Journey From Monolith to GDPR-Compliant Microservices, by Tobias Uldall-Espersen and Thomas Krogsgaard Holme, Sundhed.dk

This journey is another great case study. Many attendees find themselves on the same journey of restructuring a monolithic application to microservices, and many have been recently blindsided by GDPR. This talk offers great real-world insight into how to migrate and mitigate architectural concerns simultaneously.

Using Continuous Delivery with Machine Learning to Tackle Fraud, by Sarah LeBlanc and Hany Elemary, ThoughtWorks

This talk is a great mashup of ideas that could only find a home at a software architecture conference! Yet another case study-based talk, it covers a real-world concern that many companies struggle with by combining state-of-the-art engineering practices, machine learning, and security, and tying it all together with architecture.


As the O'Reilly Software Architecture Conference has grown over the last couple of years, the quality of talks continues to rise. The big problem is choosing between what’s on offer in every time slot.

Article image: Spiral (source: Pxhere.com).