Summer 2016 Hackathon Report

Summer at Delphix is a time for many fun activities including the annual Delphix Summer Hackathon. Originally started in 2015, it has become one of the events that both employees and summer interns look forward to the most. This years hackathon included a wide variety of projects including a Raspberry Pi coffee pot tracker and a game to entertain users who hit unexpected 404 error pages. The judges spent a long time deliberating and chose the following winners:

Best Product Hack: Andrew Nguyen for Conditional Table Partitioning for a Masking Job
The current process of creating multiple masking jobs that each differently partition a single database table is incredibly tedious and error-prone. This project was an exploration of the masking engine’s capacity to internally generate multiple input streams–within a single masking job–that each correspond to a different condition for partitioning the same table.

Best Internal Hack: Jim Chiang for Solaris Oracle databases on dCenter
He built Solaris x86 Oracle database virtualization images that integrate with our internal test infrastructure. This allows us to:

  • Increase automated regression coverage for one of our top 3 supported platforms
  • Improve heterogenous platform support for our regression infrastructure/suites
  • Relieve maintenance loads on static test labs

Best Culture Hack: DJ Hoffman and Chris Williamson for Removing gender specific language from Delphix OS/app and comments
We used grep to go through our OS and application code and searched for all uses of gendered pronouns. We replaced them in the contextually appropriate manner with singular “they” for references to people and “it” for references to inanimate code or objects. At Delphix we value ensuring that everyone regardless of gender identity feels included as part of our development team. Moreover, we believe strongly that the language used should be descriptive of the system at hand. Using “he” to describe a piece of code is fundamentally non-descriptive as code is not human. The Delphix product isn’t “sexy” as it doesn’t have sexual characteristics, our coders aren’t “rockstars” because it is not a part of our job to make music. Similarly, our code is not a “he” because it is inanimate. This hack is necessary because it makes our comments more descriptive and inclusive, and we should continue to strive for those ideals in our documentation, application, and professional communication.

Audience Choice: Prachetaa Raghavan for Dockerizing databases to allow testing anywhere
Currently, we use VMs for upgrade testing where the environment hosts are quite heavy on resources. We have multiple databases platforms running on one VM and use another VM as the target host. Just for upgrade, we require 6 VMs for testing and this puts a large strain on the infrastructure. So this project was to dockerize the databases being used (done for only postgres containers) and reduce the resource usage on the infrastructure and also allow us to spin up containers very quickly. Further, this allows us to spin up test environments on other devices like laptops or AWS and move QA away from overloaded infrastructure at times of high load.

Congratulations to all the winners and I look forward to even more interesting projects at our upcoming Fall Hackathon.

Cross posted from the Delphix Blog.

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