Past Meetup

#9 Camille Fournier on The Chubby lock service for loosely-coupled dist. systems

This Meetup is past

127 people went

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We're excited to have Camille Fournier , CTO at Rent the Runway (, presenting on The Chubby lock service for loosely-coupled distributed systems ( by Mike Burrows.


Distributed consensus is often discussed in terms of algorithms: Paxos, ZAB, RAFT, etc. But while the algorithms may be more or less mind-bending, for me the more interesting aspect of distributed consensus is creating systems that support it for the general use case. This paper, on Google's Chubby lock service, is the story of happens when a system stops being a polite theory, and starts getting real-world use.

To anyone who has worked in depth as a distributed systems engineer, Chubby is a beautiful paper. It is not a paper about algorithms and their limits, or a toy fringe system created by grad students to test a hypothesis. It is a paper that describes the real tradeoffs that real systems engineers make when designing something to solve a large set of problems well enough. This paper shows the key insights that the authors had as to how such a system might be used, and awareness of what it should do well, and what it should not try to do well. It details how Chubby was designed, but then goes further to describe how it ended up being used when released to the wild, and the surprises and consequences of these design decisions.


Camille Fournier (@skamille ( is the CTO at Rent the Runway. In her limited spare time, she works on various open source projects including Apache ZooKeeper.


Doors open at 7 pm; the presentation will begin at 7:30 pm; and, yes, there will be beer, water, and pizza.

After Camille presents the paper, we will open up the floor to discussion and questions.

We hope that you'll read the paper before the meetup, but don't stress if you can't. If you have any questions, thoughts, or related information, please visit our *github-thread (* on the matter.

Additionally, if you have any papers you want to add to the repository above (papers that you love!), please send us a pull request ( Also, if you have any ideas/questions about this meetup or the Papers-We-Love org, just open up an issue.