Brian Benz At Scala Days 2018 Interview

Brian Benz at Scala Days: “Scala and Akka solve important problems at cloud scale.” by Scala Days

Brian Benz At Scala Days 2018 Interview

This time next week Scala Days New York will be in full swing! Don't forget to sign up to the workshops including the workshop which will be presented by Senior Developer Advocate for Microsoft, Brian Benz which will be on “Understanding Akka Cluster Through Raspberry-Pi Cluster Visualization”. In advance of this check out this interview Scala Days had with Brian on his career highlights, his background and more. 


'A Senior Developer Advocate for Microsoft, Brian Benz wants to win the hearts and minds of Scala developers by showing them first class cloud features. He’s focused on showing  how Microsoft Azure is delivering first class IoT features for distributed systems.

In advance of the workshop, “Understanding Akka Cluster Through Raspberry-Pi Cluster Visualization”, we spoke to Brian about his developer journey and asked some questions about his workshop at Scala Days New York.


What’s your background and what does your current role involve?

I’m a Senior Cloud Developer Advocate at Microsoft, helping Java and Scala developers to get the most out of Azure. Before Joining Microsoft, I was a solution architect, consultant, developer, author and presenter at IBM, Deloitte, and other companies. This background helps me to better understand the requirements from developers for cloud infrastructures.

What’s the biggest highlight of your career so far?

Working at Microsoft on Azure – I’m amazed that Microsoft has been able to adapt to the new world of open source and the cloud while successfully maintaining their traditional businesses and customers.  I’m thrilled to be a small part of that transformation so far, and look forward to developments in the future. While Microsoft continues to reinvent itself and actively embraces open source communities and various programming languages I enjoy having the opportunity to show how our technological advances help to put successful projects into production.

Why did you pick Scala and Akka and what kind of problems do they solve for you?

Cloud infrastructures embrace distributed systems to the very core. Abstracting location of physical resources away from developers while providing additional services that integrate container orchestration, security, IoT adapters, and many other services is something I consider the ideal runtime. With Akka and Scala we are looking at the ideal building blocks of modern distributed systems. While Akka is the toolkit for building highly concurrent, distributed, and resilient message-driven applications, Scala combines object-oriented and functional programming in one concise, high-level language. Scala’s static types help avoid bugs in complex applications, and its JVM and JavaScript runtimes let you build high-performance systems with easy access to huge ecosystems of libraries.

What’s the most important challenge Scala and Akka developers are facing today?

I think that more generally the biggest challenge of application developers today is to choose a runtime and deployment platform that fits their needs. While application servers or other centralized infrastructures provided a lot of infrastructure services and SPIs to developers, they are not the ultimate runtime for distributed microservices. -There is a gap that has to be closed between development, platforms, frameworks, and additional cloud services. Finding the right mix that is cost effective and reliable is a challenge; that also applies to Reactive Systems built on Akka with Scala. This gets even more complicated with additional external systems or devices like IoT infrastructures require.

Who should attend your workshop at Scala Days and why?

I’ve talked about distributed cloud systems before. The fact that applications need to provide a fault-tolerant decentralized peer-to-peer based cluster on top has many developers struggling about how to implement it. In the workshop at Scala Days New York, Eric, Kiki and I explain the inner workings of Akka Cluster and help you build a strong understanding of clustering with the help of a powerful visualization on a real RasberryPi cluster. On top we’re going to use the Azure IoT Hub and integrate it with Akka Streams.
Don’t miss Brian Benz and his workshop “Understanding Akka Cluster Through Raspberry-Pi Cluster Visualization” with Kiki Carter, Principal Enterprise Architect at Lightbend, Inc. and Brian Benz, Sr. Cloud Developer Advocate at Microsoft, on June 19th at Scala Days in New York. Workshop spaces are limited, so book your ticket now.'
This article was originally written by Scala Days and posted on