26 October 2017 Culture

Elastic{ON} Tour Stops and Their AMA Heroes

By Tony Sleva

“The AMA is worth the price of admission, as far as I’m concerned.” 
— Michael Alexander, Senior Software Engineer

After attending my first Elastic{ON} Tour event, the above quote may most accurately encapsulate my takeaway from the Seattle tour stop. For all that the event offered, including talks by Shay, multiple Elastic product managers, and special guests from X-Box, the highlight for many attendees was the Ask Me Anything booth staffed by authentic Elastic software engineers.

I should stop for a moment. You likely already know about Elastic{ON}, but there’s a chance you haven’t heard of the Elastic{ON} Tour. Elastic{ON} Tour stops are one-day events in cities around the world (50% of this year’s stops are outside of the U.S.) that offer a localized Elastic{ON} experience — content tailored to your region with users and engineers from your local community. Each tour stop is made up of a series of speaker sessions (roadmap, best practices, use case success stories, etc.) with breaks interspersed throughout to allow for mental digestion and professional networking.

But while all that is going on, away from the presentations, closer to the food spreads, is a table stocked with Elastic engineers. Specifically, Elastic engineers that know a whole lot about the Elastic Stack (because they helped build it). Even more specifically, Elastic engineers that will answer any question you can think of because their only job for the day is to answer your questions about Elastic. Go ahead, ask them anything. I dare you.

Seattle AMA

Not sure where to start? Here are just some of the many questions that could be overheard in Seattle:

  • What are some best practices for handling misspelled searches?
  • What’s wrong with my custom analyzer (and tokenizer, while I have you)?
  • Does Elastic ever limit plugin development?
  • Am I better off with large indices or a large number of indices?
  • What are the big technical differences between Search After and Scroll?
  • What are your thoughts on how I should index DLLs and other binary data?
  • What can you tell me about scaling my multi-terabyte clusters?
  • How can I optimize my nested aggregations? (time passes…) Cool, now how do I use them in Kibana?
  • I’d like to install on an unsupported OS. What’s the worst that could happen?
  • What time is the cocktail hour and will you still be answering questions?

Those are all questions that would usually be directed towards our support team by customers with a commercial subscription. But at Elastic{ON} (and its tour stops), our AMA engineers are available for your questions all event long — no subscription required.

And the Seattle attendees, knowing that this would be the case, weren’t about to let an opportunity this good slip through their fingers. Here’s what some of them had to say of their AMA experience:

“It was really helpful to be able to talk to an actual developer from Logstash. They were able to quickly fix a problem that had been going on for two to three weeks.” — Jonathan Li, Software Engineer
“An initial index design, while functional, was not scaling well due to the mapping and high number of deletes. The AMA engineers really helped and gave me some great ideas on how to approach re-architecting.”  Simon Trigona, Software Developer

Look at that. Real-time answers from real-life Elastic engineers. How couldn’t you leave happy?

I learned a lot standing around that table. The first thing I learned was that our AMA engineers fear no question, and they will talk Elastic for hours (days, maybe). Next, I learned that a lot of answers start with, “it depends,” which is a pretty good indicator to take a seat, because you’re about to dive deep into a use case exploration. Finally, and most importantly, I learned that AMAs are an invaluable resource for Elastic{ON} (and Tour) attendees, are supremely appreciated by all who stop by, and in some cases, the driving impetus for attendance.

Want to have an engineer's ear at the AMA booth? Find the Elastic{ON} Tour stop closest to you. Not close enough? Sign up for Elastic{ON} updates so you'll know when we're nearby.