Meet this week’s Couchbase Community Champion – Abbas Ahmed from Rentalcars.com in Manchester!

abbas ahmed

Where are you based and what do you like to do in your spare time?

I am based in Manchester, U.K., which is also my birthplace and I like it a lot (discounting the weather). I am a dad of two beautiful kids and have a wonderful wife. The family gets a lot of my time, but if I manage to find any spare time it goes into my hobby of electronics. I’ve got an IoT network of Raspberry Pi’s, Arduinos and sensors at home that I like to add features to when I have a chance. I enjoy public speaking and have presented at Couchbase Manchester meetups and at Percona Live Amsterdam 2016. I also run regular internal training courses at Rentalcars.com.

Tell us about yourself and what you do in your daily role.

I got into computing through electronics, and started my career as a university lecturer with a great interest in databases and embedded systems. My first database was dBase III Plus, then I worked with FoxPro, MS Access, MS SQL Server and Oracle 6, 7 and 8. In 2000, during my first job after university, I started using MySQL and just fell in love with it. I had the opportunity to introduce MySQL cluster as a solution at my previous job in the Telco sector. I also had a chance to work with analytics data stores like InfiniDB and Infobright. On a typical day, I am working on planning and executing new projects for the Rentalcars.com Database Engineering team. I am mostly involved with application architects and make recommendations on how we can best implement database layers for new systems. Most of the new work is centered around microservices. We also have a DevOps culture, so there is a lot of focus on ensuring recurring tasks are automated.

What made you choose Couchbase?

Towards the end of 2013 Rentalcars.com was looking to add a new caching layer to some of our applications. We also had some upcoming JSON document database use cases that led us to study the available solutions. Couchbase offered us a cache without the cold cache problem, and it offered a decent document and K/V solution that had a clear roadmap for further improvement. Furthermore, the ease of management and effortless scaling of clusters were the decisive factors that made us choose Couchbase over the competition.

What have you accomplished using Couchbase?

We have managed to improve our user experience by a huge margin when it comes to page load times, and in terms of users not losing sessions when we decide to shift them from one data centre to another. We have also implemented caching using Couchbase to reduce the load on our supplier partners. We also have a couple of document use cases where we keep a massive collection of linked historical documents, so we have enjoyed brilliant availability with amazing performance characteristics. Couchbase Support have been stellar at making this all possible.

What one feature of Couchbase do you use and what should people know about it?

We use rack awareness (RA), which is a cool feature that ensures that no two copies of your data live in the same rack or blade chassis, hence guarding against data loss in case we lose a whole rack.

If you could have three wishes for Couchbase what would they be?

  1. Partial updates on XDCR.
  2. An official, supported NagiOS/statsd plugin to monitor all available Couchbase stats.
  3. Support for Graph structures (an official Titan add-on maybe).

What is your favorite book or author, and why?

Next Generation Databases by Guy Harrison is a book I read some time ago and I found it really well-written, with all the necessary concepts laid out in a pedagogical fashion. I don’t really have one favourite author, there are so many amazing people sharing their knowledge with us in the shape of books. For example: Deitel & Deitel, William Stallings, Andrew S. Tanenbaum, Albert Paul Malvino, and the list goes on.

Couchbase Champion

Posted by Laura Czajkowski, Developer Community Manager, Couchbase

Laura Czajkowski is the Snr. Developer Community Manager at Couchbase overseeing the community, our incentive programs, Experts and Champions group, meetups, and defining our presence at developer events. She’s also responsible for our monthly developer newsletter and engaging with our community in various forms. Laura has been active in Open Source communities since 2000 and has been involved in various activities, including leading and organising conferences on software testing, documentation, and advocacy. Laura is an Open Source advocate and regular conference speaker who is passionate about getting people – everyone from primary school students to technology professionals – involved in Open Source communities both on IRC and in face-to-face discussions, she is easily found online at @czajkowski on twitter and on freenode.

Leave a reply