Akmal Chaudhri helps build global developer communities and raise technology awareness through presentations and technical writing. With over 25 years of experience in IT, he has previously held roles as a developer, consultant, product strategist, evangelist, technical writer, and technical trainer with several blue-chip companies and big-data startups. He has regularly presented at international conferences and served on the program committees for major conferences and workshops. He has published widely and edited or co-edited ten books. He holds a BSc (1st Class Hons.) in Computing and Information Systems, an MSc in Business Systems Analysis and Design, and a PhD in Computer Science. He is also a member of the British Computer Society (MBCS) and a chartered IT professional (CITP).

In an interview with Eventible, he talks about his background, his involvement in the field of technology and database management, his experience attending Conf42, and much more!

  1. Can you tell us about your background and how you became involved in the field of technology and database management?

I started my career working for Reuters in London on real-time systems. I was fortunate to work with some of the smartest people I have ever met. A few years later, I was offered the opportunity at a University to pursue research in database systems. These research opportunities only come up sometimes in a lifetime, so I decided to pursue them. In my research, I worked on database performance benchmarks on the hot technology of the day: object database management systems. I struggled for a while as I wanted to work with the industry to understand how this new database technology was used in practice. In the end, I was able to obtain six case studies. I also started publishing at the time to raise my profile and help me finish my research work. From then on, I continued working with database technology in many other professional roles.

  1. What drew you to SingleStore and excited you the most about your work as a Senior Technical Evangelist?

SingleStore has fantastic technology and is a grown-up company. It has a very strong technology offering, a “best-kept secret” kind of thing. And while SingleStore is a solid relational database, it can do so many other things, like supporting transactions and analytics, JSON, time series data, geospatial data, vector data, and more. Today, it is a data platform that can serve many applications beyond purely relational — with SingleStore; you can get all the capabilities you need without having to glue together multiple pieces, which is painful for developers and executives.

  1. SingleStore is a distributed SQL database. Could you explain its key features and advantages over traditional relational databases?

SingleStore is designed for distributed computing environments, allowing it to scale horizontally across multiple nodes seamlessly. This architecture ensures high availability, fault tolerance, and the ability to handle large volumes of data without sacrificing performance.

SingleStore uses in-memory processing to cache and accelerate data access and query performance. Storing frequently accessed data in memory reduces disk I/O and latency, leading to faster query execution.

SingleStore utilizes a hybrid storage model that combines row-based and columnar storage. This approach optimizes data storage and query performance for various workloads, including Online Transaction Processing and Online Analytical Processing.

SingleStore supports SQL, making it easy for developers and database administrators familiar with SQL to work with the platform.

SingleStore is well-suited for real-time analytics and operational analytics use cases. Its ability to process high-velocity data streams and execute complex analytical queries in real time enables organizations to make data-driven decisions quickly.

SingleStore’s distributed architecture allows for seamless scalability. Organizations can easily add or remove nodes to accommodate changing workload demands without downtime, ensuring elasticity and cost-efficiency.

SingleStore integrates with various data pipelines and frameworks, such as Apache Kafka and Apache Spark. These integrations provide real-time data ingestion, processing, and analytics workflows, enabling organizations to build end-to-end data pipelines efficiently.

SingleStore is known for its high performance, achieving low latency and high throughput even under heavy workloads. Its parallel processing capabilities and efficient query optimization contribute to its impressive performance.

  1. How do you see the role of distributed databases evolving in the context of modern applications and cloud computing?

Distributed databases play a crucial role in modern applications and cloud computing by providing scalability, high availability, global data distribution, real-time analytics, support for microservices architectures, and alignment with cloud-native infrastructures. As applications evolve and use cloud technologies, distributed databases will remain essential for meeting the growing demands of data-intensive workloads.

  1. Could you share some real-world use cases or success stories where SingleStore has significantly impacted businesses or organizations?

There are just too many to list. A good place to start is on our website:

  1. What are some common challenges organizations face when migrating from traditional databases to SingleStore, and how does SingleStore address these challenges?

Migrating large volumes of data from traditional databases can be complex and time-consuming. To streamline the data migration, SingleStore offers various tools, such as SingleStore Pipelines and Change Data Capture. These tools provide real-time or batch data ingestion from existing databases into SingleStore with minimal downtime and ensure data consistency during the migration.

Applications built on traditional databases may rely on specific SQL dialects, features, or proprietary extensions that are not directly compatible with SingleStore. SingleStore supports standard SQL and offers compatibility layers for popular database systems like MySQL and MongoDB. SingleStore also provides comprehensive documentation, migration guides, and compatibility testing tools to assist organizations in ensuring a smooth transition without disrupting existing applications.

Optimizing applications’ performance after migrating to SingleStore requires careful tuning of queries, indexing strategies, and database configuration settings. SingleStore’s query optimizer and distributed query execution engine automatically optimize SQL queries for efficient execution across distributed clusters. SingleStore also offers monitoring and diagnostic tools, such as SingleStore Studio, to identify performance bottlenecks and fine-tune database settings for optimal performance.

Ensuring high availability and disaster recovery capabilities are critical considerations for organizations migrating mission-critical workloads to SingleStore. SingleStore provides built-in features like automatic data replication, failover management, and data durability guarantees to ensure high availability and data resilience. Additionally, SingleStore supports backup and restore functionality, enabling organizations to implement robust disaster recovery strategies and meet stringent Service Level Agreements.

Migrating to SingleStore may require organizations to upskill their staff and database administrators to manage and operate the new platform effectively. SingleStore offers comprehensive training programs, certifications, and online resources to help organizations onboard their teams and acquire the necessary skills to effectively deploy, manage, and optimize SingleStore clusters.

  1. With the increasing demand for real-time analytics and data processing, how does SingleStore enable businesses to achieve high performance and scalability?

We discussed these features and capabilities earlier.

  1. What advice would you give developers and IT professionals who are considering adopting SingleStore for their projects or migrating their existing infrastructure?

Before adopting SingleStore, thoroughly understand your use case and requirements. Identify your specific data management and analytics challenges and evaluate how SingleStore’s features and capabilities align with your needs. Whether you’re handling real-time analytics, high-throughput transaction processing, or a combination of both, ensure that SingleStore is well-suited to address your use case.

Conduct performance benchmarks and scalability tests to evaluate SingleStore’s performance under your workload conditions. Test scenarios, including data ingestion rates, query complexity, and concurrent user loads, to assess SingleStore’s ability to meet your performance and scalability requirements. Consider SingleStore’s free trial or proof-of-concept offerings to validate its suitability for your project.

Develop a comprehensive migration strategy if you’re migrating existing infrastructure to SingleStore. Assess your current database schema, data volume, and application dependencies to determine the scope and complexity of the migration. Plan for data migration, schema conversion, application refactoring, and compatibility testing to ensure a smooth transition to SingleStore. Consider using SingleStore’s migration tools and consulting services to streamline the migration process.

Invest in training and education for your development and IT teams to familiarise them with SingleStore’s architecture, features, and best practices. SingleStore offers various training resources, including documentation, tutorials, webinars, and certification programs, to help you upskill your teams and accelerate adoption. Ensure your teams are proficient in SQL, distributed systems concepts, and database administration to use SingleStore’s capabilities effectively.

Use SingleStore’s community forums, user groups, and support channels to seek guidance, share experiences, and collaborate with other users. Engage with SingleStore’s customer support and professional services teams to access expert advice, troubleshooting assistance, and best practice recommendations. Use SingleStore’s support offerings to address technical challenges and optimize your deployment for success.

Start with a small pilot project or use case to evaluate SingleStore in a controlled environment before scaling to larger deployments. Iterate and refine your deployment based on feedback, performance metrics, and user experiences. Continuously monitor and optimize your SingleStore deployment to ensure ongoing performance, scalability, and reliability as your workload and data volumes grow.

  1. As a technical evangelist, how do you stay updated with the latest trends and developments in the database and technology industry, and how do you incorporate this knowledge into your advocacy for SingleStore?

Engaging with the community through publications and presentations, gaining lots of hands-on experience, collaborating internally, creating compelling content, and using customer feedback. 

  1. How was your experience attending Conf42, and what was your biggest takeaway?

The conference was great, and I was immensely impressed with the event’s organizers.

  1. Looking ahead, what do you envision for the future of distributed databases, and how does SingleStore plan to innovate and stay ahead in this rapidly evolving landscape?

SingleStore is committed to driving innovation and staying ahead in the rapidly evolving landscape of distributed databases and data platforms by continuously enhancing its technology with cutting-edge features, capabilities, and integrations to meet the changing needs of modern applications and data-driven businesses. Through ongoing research, development, and collaboration with customers and partners, SingleStore aims to remain at the forefront of distributed database technology and give organizations the means to unlock the full potential of their data.

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