Past Meetup

Using Akka to Scale Gilt's Massive Push Notification System

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In this technical talk, Gilt Principal Software Engineer Adam Kaplan will describe the engineering behind Gilt's push notification system, which can send three million messages in less than 60 seconds. Adam will give a brief history of push notifications at Gilt, then focus on the development of his team's current system: a distributed architecture built with Scala, Akka, ZooKeeper, and other technologies. He'll explain 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'll place 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. Finally, he'll give a forward-looking view of where push at Gilt is going -- and how the work his team performs ensures that all of those millions of messages stay on the right side of that line between "push notifications" and "spam."


Adam Kaplan is a principal software engineer at Gilt, where he works on a variety of initiatives including push notifications, wait list and the mobile app. Prior to joining Gilt, Adam--who considers himself a generalist--was a software architect at The New York Times, where he built their first iPhone and iPad news apps. At the NYT, he worked directly with Steve Jobs and the Apple executive team to code one of the first apps for the iPad prior its release. A graduate of Northeastern University, Adam is a native New Yorker and a recently minted private pilot. When he's not tackling challenging problems at work, Adam enjoys sunset flights along the coast and rock climbing.