Most Active Speaker

Dave McAllister

Dave McAllister

NGINX, Sr. Open Source Technologist

Redwood City, California, United States

At NGINX, Dave works with open source projects to promote the advantages of modern architectures and orchestration to solve large-scale distributed systems challenges, especially for today's fast-moving cycles.

Dave has been a champion for open systems and open source from the early days of Linux to today's world of clouds and containers. He speaks on topics such as the real-world issues associated with emerging software architectures and practices. Currently, his driving interests is app management, observability and service mesh.

Dave was named as one of the top ten pioneers in open source by Computer Business Review, having cut his teeth on Linux and compilers before the phrase "open source" was coined.


  • Most Active Speaker 2023

Area of Expertise

  • Information & Communications Technology


  • DevOps & Automation
  • Monitoring
  • open source communities
  • Open Source Software
  • IoT

Know your data: The Stats behind the Alerts

Quick, what's the difference between the mean, the mode and the median? Do you need a Gaussian or a normal distribution And does your choice impact the alerts and observations you get from your observability tools?

Come get refreshed on the impact some basic choices in statistical behavior can have on what gets triggered. Learn why a median might be the choice for historical anomaly or sudden change. Jump into Gaussian distributions, data alignment challenges and the trouble with sampling. Walk out with a deeper understanding of your metrics and what they might be telling you.

Adding OpenTelemetry to Modern Apps: Lessons Learned

Observability is increasingly important in our modern apps/cloud-native world. However, when adding observability to existing production apps, there are a number of tradeoffs in approaches and in tools. Often, these tradeoffs are an exercise in confusion, leading to decision paralysis.

We took on the challenge of adding observability to NGINX MARA, investigating choices, discovering and addressing challenges while keeping to open source solutions whenever possible.

Come learn from our experience in dealing with OpenTelemetry and related tools, from traces, metrics and logs, in working with production class apps and discover what approach finally worked for us.

The Murphy's Laws of Observability

We’re all familiar with Murphy’s Law. “Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.” And over time, Murphy’s Law has been extended, abstracted and applied to numerous disciplines.
Within Observability, the extension of data and monitoring focused on deep insights in our complex apps and environments, Murphy’s Law also reigns supreme. But what laws apply and how do we mitigate impact of points like:
- Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong, at the worst possible time.
- Computers always side with the hidden flaw
- You can never run out of things that can go wrong
- Availability is a function of time

We’ll look into examples of the laws in practice and highlight practices that might just give you the one-up on Murphy.

The OSS Maturity Model: Is the Project Ready for You?

Open source projects are often driven by the need to scratch a software itch. But while innovative, exciting and available, they may not be ready for prime-time, especially in your applications. You should consider the long term impact of using just any project in your code or environment. That’s where tools such as maturity models can help you understand the risk/reward of projects, from different dimensions like stability, activity and support.

However since the first widely viewed OSS maturity models appeared back in 2002, you can imagine there are now a lot of them. So what are the mature elements of such models, and how can you safely understand and align projects to your needs?

Come find out what you need to know when looking at OSS projects for your applications and environments.

The What's and Why's of Distributed Tracing

Tracing can be very powerful. It gives the ability to connect the customer experience to the backend services several hops away. This comes down to what information is in your traces. There isn't one standard set of tags to add for EVERY application. It comes down to how traces are used and what matters to your organization. During this session we will discuss the need for tracing, dive into the why (and what) you would want to trace via distributed tracing, and delve into the OpenTelemetry specs and architecture on how we can tailor (or tag) our traces. You’ll leave with an understanding of the semantic context in OpenTelemetry and how it might help you understand your applications.

Open Source Experience 2023

December 2023 Paris, France

2023 All Day DevOps

October 2023

WTF is SRE? A Conference by SREs for SREs 2023

May 2023 London, United Kingdom

Nashville DevOpsDays 2023

April 2023 Nashville, Tennessee, United States

CodeStock 2020

April 2020 Knoxville, Tennessee, United States

DeveloperWeek 2020

February 2020 Oakland, California, United States

Dave McAllister

NGINX, Sr. Open Source Technologist

Redwood City, California, United States