We’re privileged to have some amazing local talent who are willing to give up their free time to speak at our meetups. We asked Derek a few questions prior to his upcoming talk on Loading Balancing ….
What motivates you to do what you do?
Really simply put, I just really enjoy working on DSP, codecs, and video problems; they involve a lot of fun maths and statistics. It’s a hobby that turned into a job.
How do you start your mornings?
I don’t! Most of my team is in New York, so I shift my whole day by around 4-5 hours. When I do get going, I grab a flat white and chill for a bit at The Exploding Bakery, then hop on Slack/IRC/whatever.
What does a ‘typical’ work day look like?
Around 1-2pm, do a bug and failed transcode triage, see if there is anything interesting from the night before, and spend some time coding on whatever project(s) before the Americans get in. Depending on the sort of thing I’m on at the moment (e.g. R&D, fixes, etc.), have a quick (but rare) video chat, and spend the next N hours in vim/Slack — it varies a lot by what happens to be going on at the time, e.g. AV1 R&D work is a lot different than CDN work.
Who do you lunch with?
Most of the time: Myself, at home, or friends around Exeter. I’m not really much of a lunch guy — I guess I got that from many of American co-workers who all eat at their desks, sadly.
When are you most productive?
The “morning”, before many co-workers are around, and probably 4-8pm. It depends. If a problem is super interesting, I might work on it quite late, but start work later the next day; it’s not very consistent.
What one thing do you try to do every day?
Work: Check with the community team to see if any interesting has been reported.
Life In General: Consume speciality coffee.
What is your talk about?
Vimeo’s edge video packager serves more than billion DASH and HLS requests per day — but scaling it up to this level was not a cakewalk. Bounded-load consistent hashing eliminated a large bottleneck in our video delivery infrastucture, and it’s now open for everyone to use.
What is the best resource for people who want to dive in deeper?
For consistent hashing specifically: The original paper, our writeup, and the haproxy git repo. For video stuff in general: dspguide.com is a good “start from nothing” point.
What is the biggest challenge in the [field/topic/industry] at the moment?
I’m not qualified enough to comment on the biggest problems in the CDN world, I think. It’s probably similar to the biggest problem in the (internet) video world: Video uses a crapload of bandwidth, and costs a lot, but ‘modern’ codecs, while they may offer decent gains in bandwidth reduction, currently require ridiculous amounts of resources to encode in the first place — AV1 encoding is currently measured in minutes-per-frame, at best — and that negates the cost savings from lower bandwidth usage for almost all usage.
Thank you so much Derek for your answers! If you want to find out more, come along to our meetup: