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How We Scale Our Push Notification System with Akka: NYMAD Comes to Gilt

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On Tuesday night Gilt hosted the New York Mobile App Developer meetup’s March event: a technical talk delivered by our very own Principal Software Engineer, Adam Kaplan! More than 100 engineers from Twitter, Getty Images, Bloomberg, the New York Timesand other companies joined us for Adam’s talk, which highlighted the ways we’ve been using Akka to scale our massive push notification system. How massive? Three-million-messages-in-less-than-60-seconds massive!

In his presentation, Adam described his team’s work building a distributed architecture built with Scala, Akka, ZooKeeper, and other technologies. He explained how Akka’s clustering capabilities not only make mass messaging possible, but also promote overall system integrity, scalability, and better performance (and, on the business side of things, higher revenues!). He also placed push notifications in the context of Gilt’s general engineering culture, which emphasizes a micro-services architecture, fault tolerance, and (the good kind of) redundancy. 

Some highlights from the meetup:

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Gilt Recruiting Coordinator Tineshsia Matthew helps one of our guests at the check-in station.

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Gilt Software Engineers Asha Seetheram and Dave Singh have some drinks …

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while Gilt Engineer Andres Pereira and some of our guests dig in to the Num Pang sandwiches!

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After a quick intro to Gilt by VP Mobile & Global Engineering Yonatan Feldman, Adam and his laptop took to the podium. Adam started things off by asking the audience a few questions. (That’s Typesafe Tech Lead Console, ex-Akka team member and recent NYC transplant Henrik Engström on the left!)

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The audience listens …

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Many guests stayed long after Adam’s talk and Q&A to ask questions, grab another drink and mingle with Gilt technologists and other attendees.

Thanks to NYMAD and all of our guests for a great night! Our next tech event will be a panel on Docker on April 29; more details to come!

All photos by Craig Wililston/QoolFoto

Gilt 340 Gilt Groupe 282 Gilt Tech 287 Akka 20 Adam Kaplan 2 software engineering 66 Scala 79 distributed systems 4 presentations 42 tech talks 7 ZooKeeper 2 Num Pang sandwiches 1 events 27