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15 Books by P99 CONF Speakers: Go, Wasm, eBPF, Databases & More

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P99 CONF 2023 is now a wrap! You can (re)watch all videos and access the decks now.


If you’ve seen the P99 CONF agenda, you know that the stars have aligned nicely this year. In just two half days, from anywhere you like, you can learn from 60+ outstanding speakers – all sharing performance insights from a broad range of perspectives. Front-end/back-end. Rust/Zig/C++/Java/WebAssembly. SQL/NoSQL…

As we were posting their bios, we noticed – not surprisingly – that our speakers have amassed a rather impressive list of publications, including quite a few books. This blog highlights 15 of those P99 speaker books, which we highly encourage you to read.

Also – if you registered for P99 CONF, you should have 30-day full access to the complete O’Reilly library (thanks to O’Reilly, the conference’s media sponsor). In addition to the iconic O’Reilly animal books, this also includes access to books by Apress, Manning, No Starch Press, and more.


How to Make Things Faster

By Cary Millsap
June 2023 | Amazon | O’Reilly

Slow systems are frustrating. They waste time and money. But making consistently great decisions about performance can be easy, if you understand what’s going on. This book explains in a clear and thoughtful voice why systems perform the way they do. It’s for anybody who’s curious about how computer programs and other processes use their time and about what you can do to improve them.

Through a mix of personal vignettes and technical use cases, Cary Millsap reviews the process of improving performance and provides best practices for optimizing systems efficiently. You’ll learn how to identify the information needed to improve a system, how to find the root causes of performance issues, and how to fix them. You’ll also learn how performance optimization is both a skill set and a mindset, and how to develop both over time.

If you’re a computer professional whose success relies on software that goes fast, by the end of this book you’ll be able to identify, view, scope, analyze, and remedy performance issues with consistency and confidence.

Cary is presenting “The History of Tracing Oracle” at P99 CONF.

Database Performance at Scale

By Felipe Cardeneti Mendes, Piotr Sarna (P99 CONF speaker), Pavel Emelyanov, and Cynthia Dunlop
October 2023 | Amazon | ScyllaDB (free book)

Discover critical considerations and best practices for improving database performance based on what has worked, and failed, across thousands of teams and use cases in the field. This book provides practical guidance for understanding the database-related opportunities, trade-offs, and traps you might encounter while trying to optimize data-intensive applications for high throughput and low latency.

Whether you’re building a new system from the ground up or trying to optimize an existing use case for increased demand, this book covers the essentials. The ultimate goal of the book is to help you discover new ways to optimize database performance for your team’s specific use cases, requirements, and expectations.

  • Understand often overlooked factors that impact database performance at scale
  • Recognize data-related performance and scalability challenges associated with your project
  • Select a database architecture that’s suited to your workloads, use cases, and requirements
  • Avoid common mistakes that could impede your long-term agility and growth
  • Jumpstart teamwide adoption of best practices for optimizing database performance at scale

Piotr is presenting “Less Wasm” at P99 CONF.

Learning eBPF

By Liz Rice
March 2023 | Amazon | O’Reilly | Isovalent

What is eBPF? With this revolutionary technology, you can write custom code that dynamically changes the way the kernel behaves. It’s an extraordinary platform for building a whole new generation of security, observability, and networking tools.

This practical book is ideal for developers, system administrators, operators, and students who are curious about eBPF and want to know how it works. Author Liz Rice, chief open source officer with cloud native networking and security specialists Isovalent, also provides a foundation for those who want to explore writing eBPF programs themselves.

  • Learn why eBPF has become so important in the past couple of years
  • Write basic eBPF code, and manipulate eBPF programs and attach them to events
  • Explore how eBPF components interact with Linux to dynamically change the operating system’s behavior
  • Learn how tools based on eBPF can instrument applications without changes to the apps or their configuration
  • Discover how this technology enables new tools for observability, security, and networking

Liz Rice is presenting “eBPF vs Sidecars” at P99 CONF.

Efficient Go: Data-Driven Performance Optimization

By Bartlomiej Plotka
January 2023 | Amazon | O’Reilly

Software engineers today typically put performance optimizations low on the list of development priorities. But despite significant technological advancements and lower-priced hardware, software efficiency still matters. With this book, Go programmers will learn how to approach performance topics for applications written in this open source language.

How and when should you apply performance efficiency optimization without wasting your time? Author Bartlomiej Plotka provides the tools and knowledge you need to make your system faster using fewer resources. Once you learn how to address performance in your Go applications, you’ll be able to bring small but effective habits to your programming and development cycle.

  • Continuously monitor for performance and efficiency regressions
  • Find the root cause of performance bottlenecks using metrics, logging, tracing, and profiling
  • Use tools like pprof, go test, benchstat and to create reliable micro- and macro-benchmarks
  • Improve and optimize your code to meet your goals without sacrificing simplicity and readability
  • Make data-driven decisions by prioritizing changes that make a difference
  • Introduce basic “performance hygiene” in day-to-day Go programming and testing

Bartlomiej Plotka is presenting “The Art of Macro Benchmarking: Evaluating Cloud Native Services Efficiency” at P99 CONF.

100 Go Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

By Teiva Harsanyi
September 2022 | Amazon | O’Reilly

100 Go Mistakes and How to Avoid Them shows you how to replace common programming problems in Go with idiomatic, expressive code. In it, you’ll explore dozens of interesting examples and case studies as you learn to spot mistakes that might appear in your own applications. Expert author Teiva Harsanyi organizes the error avoidance techniques into convenient categories, ranging from types and strings to concurrency and testing.

  • Identify and squash code-level bugs
  • Avoid problems with application structure and design
  • Perfect your data and control structures
  • Optimize your code by eliminating inefficiencies

Teiva is presenting “Running a Go App in Kubernetes: CPU Impacts” at P99 CONF.

WebAssembly: The Definitive Guide

By Brian Sletten
December 2021 | Amazon | O’Reilly

WebAssembly: The Definitive Guide is a thorough and accessible introduction to one of the most transformative technologies hitting our industry. What started as a way to use languages other than JavaScript in the browser has evolved into a comprehensive path toward portability, performance, increased security, and greater code reuse across an impressive collection of deployment targets.

Author Brian Sletten introduces elements of this technology incrementally while building to several concrete, code-driven examples of practical, cutting-edge WebAssembly uses. Whether you work with enterprise software or embedded systems, or in entertainment, scientific computing, or startup environments, you’ll learn how WebAssembly can have a positive impact on the way you develop software.

  • Use WebAssembly to increase code portability across platforms
  • Reuse more of your software assets in a wider number of deployment targets
  • Learn how WebAssembly increases protection against prominent security attacks
  • Use WebAssembly to deploy legacy code in web environments
  • Increase your user base across languages and development environments
  • Integrate JavaScript code with other languages and environments to improve performance, security, and productivity
  • Learn how WebAssembly will affect your career as a software developer

Brian is presenting “HTTP 3: Moving on From TCP” at P99 CONF.

Apache Pulsar in Action

By David Kjerrumgaard
December 2021 | Amazon | O’Reilly

Apache Pulsar in Action is a comprehensive and practical guide to building high-traffic applications with Pulsar. You’ll learn to use this mature and battle-tested platform to deliver extreme levels of speed and durability to your messaging. Apache Pulsar committer David Kjerrumgaard teaches you to apply Pulsar’s seamless scalability through hands-on case studies, including IOT analytics applications and a microservices app based on Pulsar functions.

  • Publish from Pulsar into third-party data repositories and platforms
  • Design and develop Apache Pulsar functions
  • Create an event-driven food delivery application

David is presenting “Segment-Based Storage vs. Partition-Based Storage: Which is Better for Real-Time Data Streaming?” at P99 CONF.

Kafka: The Definitive Guide, 2nd Edition

By Gwen Shapira (P99 CONF speaker), Todd Palino, Rajini Sivaram, Krit Petty
November 2021 | Amazon | O’Reilly

Engineers from Confluent and LinkedIn responsible for developing Kafka explain how to deploy production Kafka clusters, write reliable event-driven microservices, and build scalable stream processing applications with this platform. Through detailed examples, you’ll learn Kafka’s design principles, reliability guarantees, key APIs, and architecture details, including the replication protocol, the controller, and the storage layer.

  • Best practices for deploying and configuring Kafka
  • Kafka producers and consumers for writing and reading messages
  • Patterns and use-case requirements to ensure reliable data delivery
  • Best practices for building data pipelines and applications with Kafka
  • How to perform monitoring, tuning, and maintenance tasks with Kafka in production
  • The most critical metrics among Kafka’s operational measurements
  • Kafka’s delivery capabilities for stream processing systems

Gwen is presenting “High Performance on a Low Budget” at P99 CONF.

The Hitchhiking Guide To Load Testing Projects: A Fun, Step-by-Step Walk-Through Guide

By Leandro Melendez
September 2021
Amazon | AbeBooks

Here comes the book that will help everyone who always wanted to learn, understand, and deliver load test projects.

You will be guided through every phase and sub phase of a traditional load testing project. Holding your hand at every step of the journey, explaining what you should do, the required items, how to gather them, and how to use them.

It’s all explained through fun examples that will help you understand all the complicated technical terms. They will be useful analogies to explain the work to management (or learn it if you are a manager). Each paired up with a translation into the technical boring terms, so you can learn and use the official lingo.

Leandro Melendez is presenting “Chihuahua-Sized Load Tests!” at P99 CONF.

PostgreSQL Query Optimization: The Ultimate Guide to Building Efficient Queries

By Henrietta Dombrovskaya (P99 CONF speaker), Boris Novikov, Anna Bailliekova
April 2021 | Amazon | O’Reilly

This book helps you write queries that perform fast and deliver results on time. You will learn that query optimization is not a dark art practiced by a small, secretive cabal of sorcerers. Any motivated professional can learn to write efficient queries from the get-go and capably optimize existing queries. You will learn to look at the process of writing a query from the database engine’s point of view, and know how to think like the database optimizer.

  • Identify optimization goals in OLTP and OLAP systems
  • Read and understand PostgreSQL execution plans
  • Distinguish between short queries and long queries
  • Choose the right optimization technique for each query type
  • Identify indexes that will improve query performance
  • Optimize full table scans
  • Avoid the pitfalls of object-relational mapping systems
  • Optimize the entire application rather than just database queries

Henrietta is presenting “ORM is Bad, But is There an Alternative?” at P99 CONF.

Container Security: Fundamental Technology Concepts that Protect Containerized Applications

By Liz Rice
April 2020 | Amazon | O’Reilly

To facilitate scalability and resilience, many organizations now run applications in cloud native environments using containers and orchestration. But how do you know if the deployment is secure? This practical book examines key underlying technologies to help developers, operators, and security professionals assess security risks and determine appropriate solutions.

Author Liz Rice, Chief Open Source Officer at Isovalent, looks at how the building blocks commonly used in container-based systems are constructed in Linux. You’ll understand what’s happening when you deploy containers and learn how to assess potential security risks that could affect your deployments. If you run container applications with kubectl or docker and use Linux command-line tools such as ps and grep, you’re ready to get started.

  • Explore attack vectors that affect container deployments
  • Dive into the Linux constructs that underpin containers
  • Examine measures for hardening containers
  • Understand how misconfigurations can compromise container isolation
  • Learn best practices for building container images
  • Identify container images that have known software vulnerabilities
  • Leverage secure connections between containers
  • Use security tooling to prevent attacks on your deployment

Liz Rice is presenting “eBPF vs Sidecars” at P99 CONF.

Time Is Money: The Business Value of Web Performance

By Tammy Everts
June 2016 | Amazon | O’Reilly

If you want to convince your organization to conduct a web performance upgrade, this concise book will strengthen your case. Drawing upon her many years of web performance research, author Tammy Everts uses case studies and other data to explain how web page speed and availability affect a host of business metrics. You’ll also learn how our human neurological need for quick, uncomplicated processes drives these metrics.

  • What happens neurologically when people encounter slow or interrupted processes
  • How page speed affects metrics in retail and other industries, from media sites to SaaS providers
  • Why internal applications are often slower than consumer apps, and how this hurts employee morale and productivity
  • Common performance problems and the various technologies created to fight them
  • How to pioneer new metrics, and create an organizational culture of performance

Tammy is presenting “Performance Budgets for the Real World” at P99 CONF.

Go in Action

By William Kennedy (P99 CONF speaker), Brian Ketelsen, and Erik St Martin
November 2015 | Amazon | O’Reilly

Go in Action is for any intermediate-level developer who has experience with other programming languages and wants a jump-start in learning Go or a more thorough understanding of the language and its internals. This book provides an intensive, comprehensive, and idiomatic view of Go. It focuses on the specification and implementation of the language, including topics like language syntax, Go’s type system, concurrency, channels, and testing.

  • Language specification and implementation
  • Go’s type system
  • Internals of Go’s data structure
  • Testing and benchmarking

William is presenting “Practical Go Memory Profiling” at P99 CONF.

High Performance MySQL: Optimization, Backups, and Replication

By Peter Zaitsev
April 2012
Amazon | O’Reilly

How can you bring out MySQL’s full power? With High Performance MySQL, you’ll learn advanced techniques for everything from designing schemas, indexes, and queries to tuning your MySQL server, operating system, and hardware to their fullest potential. This guide also teaches you safe and practical ways to scale applications through replication, load balancing, high availability, and failover.

This book not only offers specific examples of how MySQL works, it also teaches you why this system works as it does, with illustrative stories and case studies that demonstrate MySQL’s principles in action. With this book, you’ll learn how to think in MySQL.

  • Learn the effects of new features in MySQL 5.5, including stored procedures, partitioned databases, triggers, and views
  • Implement improvements in replication, high availability, and clustering
  • Achieve high performance when running MySQL in the cloud
  • Optimize advanced querying features, such as full-text searches
  • Take advantage of modern multi-core CPUs and solid-state disks
  • Explore backup and recovery strategies – including new tools for hot online backups

Peter Zaitsev is presenting “MySQL Performance on Modern CPUs: Intel vs AMD vs ARM” at P99 CONF.

Expert Oracle Exadata

By Kerry Osborne (P99 CONF speaker), Randy Johnson, Tanel Pöder (P99 CONF speaker)
August 2011 | Amazon | O’Reilly

Expert Oracle Exadata will give you a look under the covers at how the combination of hardware and software that comprise Exadata actually work. Authors Kerry Osborne, Randy Johnson, and Tanel Pöder share their real-world experience, gained through multiple Exadata implementations with the goal of opening up the internals of the Exadata platform. This book is intended for readers who want to understand what makes the platform tick and for whom—”how” it does what it does is as important as what it does. By being exposed to the features that are unique to Exadata, you will gain an understanding of the mechanics that will allow you to fully benefit from the advantages that the platform provides.

  • Configure Exadata from the ground up
  • Optimize for mixed OLTP/DW workloads
  • Migrate large data sets from existing systemsConnect Exadata to external systems
  • Support consolidation strategies using the Resource Manager
  • Configure high-availability features of Exadata, including real application clusters (RAC) and automatic storage management (ASM)
  • Apply tuning strategies utilizing the unique features of Exadata

Kerry Osborne is presenting “How to Improve Your Ability to Solve Complex Performance Problems” at P99 CONF.

Tanel Pöder is presenting “Always-on Profiling of All Linux Threads, On-CPU and Off-CPU, with eBPF & Context Enrichment” at P99 CONF.


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P99 CONF OCT. 18 + 19, 2023

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