Silas Brazil, Developer in Seattle, WA, United States
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Silas Brazil

Verified Expert  in Engineering

Large Scale Distributed Systems Developer

Seattle, WA, United States
Toptal Member Since
January 5, 2017

Silas is a full-stack developer with eleven years of experience with industry leaders like Amazon, Microsoft, and Boeing. He delivers results and provides professional guidance at every tech level, from databases, server architecture, front-end UX, and highly scalable distributed systems to mobile app development, operations, testing, and project planning. He loves working in fast-paced teams on challenging projects.


Staples, Inc.
Docker, Kubernetes, Spring, Apache Tomcat, Java
reTXT Labs, LLC
Amazon Web Services (AWS), Docker, PostgreSQL, Hazelcast, CDI, Java
Android, Java, Microsoft SQL Server, C#, Angular, JavaScript




Preferred Environment

Eclipse, Android Studio, Visual Studio

The most amazing...

...professional experience I've had was working with principal architects at Amazon to design the failure tolerance system for AWS's relational database service.

Work Experience

Principal Software Engineer

2017 - PRESENT
Staples, Inc.
  • Led architecture and technology selection for a new cloud-based product recommendations platform at Staples.
  • Managed and mentored junior engineers and a team of 5 contractors in India through the process of standing up a new production-ready, web-scale set of services in Azure.
  • Leveraged popular tools and frameworks such as Kubernetes, Spring Boot, Grafana, Docker, and Splunk in the ground-up creation of new SaaS offerings.
  • Guided the migration of existing Staples software stacks into the cloud, adopting open source alternatives to in-house and proprietary tools wherever possible.
  • Worked with product managers, project managers, directors, and senior leadership to define requirements for the SparX personalization platform.
Technologies: Docker, Kubernetes, Spring, Apache Tomcat, Java

Senior Software Engineer

2017 - 2017
reTXT Labs, LLC
  • Wrote distributed server-side Java features and tests for a secure text messaging startup.
  • Audited system architecture for scalability and cloud readiness; wrote a twelve page whitepaper detailing comprehensive system changes required to achieve 100-million+ user scale.
  • Designed and developed performance tests to exercise Hazelcast IMDG storage and processing at scale.
  • Developed AWS-based deployment templates for automated creation of complete back-end stacks in the cloud, using ECS, ELB, RDS, AutoScaling, Route53, CloudFormation, and ECR Docker registry.
Technologies: Amazon Web Services (AWS), Docker, PostgreSQL, Hazelcast, CDI, Java

Software Development Engineer

2013 - 2015
  • Worked as a member of the SPARTANS (Special Projects And Resources Team), a group of pinch-hitter engineers who are injected into problem areas for short term (2-4 month) engagements.
  • Developed real-time service health and availability monitoring/alerting for BingAds live-site customer and ad campaign management services.
  • Built the initial version of BingAds Android SDK (BingAds' version of Google's AdMob SDK).
  • Embedded in BingAds client/customer/account management services team, working on day-to-day dev tasks and operations.
  • Built Skype’s next-gen internal metrics dashboard (an in-browser data visualizer for metrics such as call length, dropped calls, active users, network partitions, etc).
Technologies: Android, Java, Microsoft SQL Server, C#, Angular, JavaScript

Software Development Engineer

2008 - 2012
  • Co-created the initial MySQL debut of AWS's RDS over the course of two years. Wrote highly scalable and highly available distributed systems in Java for RDS instance monitoring, failover, and event processing.
  • Worked directly with principal engineers on a day-to-day basis to create solutions for server fault tolerance at massive scale. Solutions include detection of and recovery from WAN network partitioning, hardware failure detection, node presence, and health monitoring.
  • Designed for monitoring and event processing in the cloud; was co-awarded patent 2011/0099,146 (reference ).
  • Leveraged various existing AWS cloud offerings in both production and test software, including SDB, S3, EBS, EC2, CloudWatch, AutoScale, ELB, IAM, SWF, and SQS.
  • Designed, developed, tested, and maintained several large-scale SOA services that comprised the core platform for Amazon's TradeIn program.
  • Owned SDLC from requirements gathering to product definition, architecture design and documentation, coding, systems integration, test, and support, all the way to global expansion. All engineering was performed in a dynamic, results-driven Agile development environment.
  • Gained experience in Oracle BI and data warehousing/ETL, large scale data management, data partitioning, data mining and analytics, relational DB schema design, and SQL tuning.
  • Proved hands-on project management skills, long term schedule planning and task management, status, progress, and risk reporting, customer interfacing, and requirements documentation.
Technologies: Oracle PL/SQL, MySQL, Perl, Linux, Apache Tomcat, Java

Embedded Software Engineer

2004 - 2008
Boeing Integrated Defense Systems
  • Worked on various teams as part of the US Air Force AWACS project.
  • Designed, developed, and supported infrastructure software libraries and applications in C++ and Java for deployment to Windows, Linux, Solaris, and VxWorks platforms.
  • Negotiated requirements, defined use cases, and interfaced with numerous product teams program-wide to coproduce and maintain ‘The Deployment Factory’ – a Java application that installs AWACS software components.
  • Contributed to the development and integration of satellite communications simulation software for the Integrated Broadcast System military intelligence network.
  • Evaluated, analyzed, and reported on the temporal performance of Mission Computing software and incorporated COTS products.
Technologies: VxWorks, Windows, Linux, C++, Java

Patents: Amazon (AWS) Relational Database Service
Relational databases in the cloud! I worked primarily on RDS instance provisioning, monitoring, and fault tolerance. Design work was awarded the patents below:

Skype Metrics Visualizer

Along with four other fantastic developers, I helped define and write "ARIA," the next generation data visualizer used by Skype. This is an Angular-based SPA website that allows Skype engineers, technicians, PMs, and managers to query, view, manipulate, share, and control internal worldwide metrics data (e.g., call length, dropped calls, or bandwidth usage).

This was my first professional exposure to AngularJS, and it spawned an instant love for front-end web development. I look forward to diving into more large-scale Angular projects in the near future!

Patents: TradeIn
Trade in your goods for an Amazon gift card!

I helped bring this project from inception to a multi-million dollar revenue stream, contributing on every level from web-facing widgets to back-end data mining. I earned the following patents along the way:

BingAds for Android

Along with two other engineers, I helped produce the BingAds library for Android devices. This is an ORMMA-compliant Java library that allows Android developers to monetize their apps using ads served by Bing, as an alternative to Google's AdMob.

Key features that I contributed to include customer geotargeting using Bing Maps (e.g., if a customer clicks on an ad for Pizza Hut, we offer the ability to open a map showing the nearest franchise), click debouncing, pixel tracking, and impression metrics, and ORMMA (Open Rich Media Mobile Advertising) spec'd hooks for advertisers to interact with device hardware (e.g., rotating an ad for a new car in response to signals from the device's accelerometer).

Trade-In Past Purchases
At's Trade-In page, you may find recommendations to trade in items that you have previously purchased at Amazon. I designed and implemented this feature entirely, including daily offline data mining of hundreds of millions of customer purchases (terabytes worth) stored in Amazon's data warehouse, to automated deployment of result data to backend servers (in the form of multi-GB BDB database files), to distributed caching of past purchase information with memcached across server clusters in multiple data centers, to the fully internationalized and localized Perl/Mason/JS/CSS front-end code that displays past purchases to customers.

Beyond the technical contributions, I worked directly with product managers, advertisers, business development, and senior management to craft requirements and bring this feature from concept to reality. 4+ years later, the software is still running strong and generating revenue for Amazon every day!

US AWACS Deployment Factory
The AWACS is a US Air Force jumbo jet outfitted with long range radar and sensor capabilities, and it functions as a mobile command and control center in the sky. Between sensor integration, communications management, and battlespace control, the software that powers the AWACS is diverse and significantly complex.

At Boeing Integrated Defense Systems, I partnered with two PhDs to create a tool that deploys and configures the multitude of AWACS software components in laboratories, ground bases, and in the aircraft itself. With dozens and dozens of systems running on at least five different operating systems across many servers and workstations, ensuring that the whole system functioned correctly was no small integration task.

The tools that I wrote used Java, Awk, and Ant build scripting to provide a graphic control interface for installing AWACS software in a number of environments. I'm proud to say that my toolset is responsible for the properly functioning deployment of the AWACS software flown by the US Air Force today!


Java, CSS3, CSS, HTML, C#.NET, SQL, Bash, JavaScript, HTML5, C, T-SQL (Transact-SQL), C#, ECMAScript (ES6), Less, Perl, C++, AWK


Angular, .NET 4, Android SDK, Bootstrap, AngularJS, .NET, Bootstrap 3, Spring, Express.js, Spring JDBC


REST APIs, Node.js, jQuery, AngularUI, React, React Redux


Eclipse IDE, Visual Studio 2015, Apache Tomcat, Android Studio, Visual Studio


REST, Requirements Analysis, Agile, Functional Programming


Linux, Java EE, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Android, NetBeans, Docker, Eclipse, VxWorks, Kubernetes, Windows, JEE


Back-end, Web Services, Distributed Systems, Large Scale Distributed Systems, Web Development, Ajax, Front-end, Data Mining, Data Modeling, CDI, Data Warehouse Design, Data Warehousing, IIS, Cordova


MySQL, Hazelcast, Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle PL/SQL, PL/SQL, PostgreSQL

2001 - 2004

Bachelor of Science Degree in Computer Engineering

University of Washington - Seattle, Washington

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