|By Jason Bloomberg||
|February 2, 2013 10:00 AM EST||
The problem with Big Data is that, well, Big Data are big. Really big. We’re talking terabytes. Petabytes. Zettabytes. Whatever’s-even-bigger-bytes. And of course, we want to solve all our Big Data challenges in the Cloud. If only we could get those gigando-bytes into the Cloud in the first place. And there’s the rub.
Uploading Big Data from our internal network to the Cloud via an Internet connection is as practical as filling a swimming pool through a drinking straw. It doesn’t matter how sophisticated our Big Data analytics, how super-duper our Hadoopers. If we can’t efficiently get our data where we need them when we need them, we’re stuck.
Optimize the Pipe
Fortunately, the Big Data upload problem isn’t new. In fact, it’s been around for years, under the moniker Wide Area Network (WAN) Optimization. Fortunate for us because vendors have been working on WAN Optimization techniques for a while now, and now several of them are repurposing those techniques to help with the Cloud.
For example, Aryaka has been peddling WAN Optimization appliances for several years. Put one appliance in your local data center, a second in the remote data center, and proprietary technology moves data from one to the other at a rapid clip. Now that the Cloud has turned their world upside down, they are providing a distributed service at the remote end, a “mesh of network connections” better suited to the Cloud. In other words, Aryaka is building an offering similar to Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) like Akamai.
RainStor, in contrast, focuses primarily on a proprietary compression algorithm that promises to squeeze data into one fortieth their original size. Furthermore, RainStor’s compressed data remain directly accessible using standard SQL or even MapReduce on Hadoop with no storage-eating, time-consuming reinflation.
Then there’s Aspera, who’s found a sophisticated way around the limitations of the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) itself. After all, TCP’s tiny packets and penchant for resending them are a large part of the reason uploading Big Data over the Internet runs like such a dog in the first place. To teach this dog a new trick or two, Aspera transfers use one TCP port for session initialization and control, and one User Datagram Protocol (UDP) port for data transfer.
UDP is an older, fire-and-forget protocol that doesn’t perform the retries that provide TCP’s reliability, but by combining the two protocols, FASP achieves nearly 100% error-free data throughput. In fact, FASP reaches the maximum transfer speed possible given the hardware on which you deploy it, and maintains maximum available throughput independent of network delay and packet loss. FASP also aggregates hundreds of concurrent transfers on commodity hardware, addressing the drinking straw problem in part by supporting hundreds of straws at once.
CloudOpt is also a player worth mentioning. Their JetStream technology takes a soup-to-nuts approach that combines compression and transmission protocol optimization with advanced data deduplication, SSL acceleration, and an ingenious approach to getting the most performance out of cached data. Or Attunity Cloudbeam, that touts file to Cloud upload, file to Cloud replication, and Cloud to Cloud replication. Attunity’s Managed File Transfer (MFT) incorporates a secure DMZ architecture, security policy enforcement, guaranteed and accelerated transfers, process automation, and audit capabilities across each stage of the file transfer process.
Finally, there’s Amazon Web Services (AWS) itself. Yes, most if not all of the vendors discussed above can firehose data into AWS’s various storage services. But AWS also offers a simple, if decidedly low-tech approach as well: AWS Import/Export. Simply ship your big hard drives to Amazon. They’ll hook them up, copy the data to your Simple Storage Service (S3) or other storage service, and ship the drive back when you’re done. This SneakerNet or “Forklifting” approach, believe it or not, can even be faster than some of the over-the-Internet optimizations for certain Big Data sets, even considering the time it takes to FedEx AWS your drives.
On Beyond Drinking Straws
The problem with most of the approaches above (excepting only Aspera and Amazon’s forklift) is that they make the drinking straw we’re using to fill that swimming pool better, faster, and bigger – but we’re still filling that damn pool with a straw. So what’s better than a straw? How about many straws? If any optimization technique improves a single connection to the Internet, then it stands to reason that establishing many connections to your Cloud provider in parallel would multiply your upload speed dramatically.
Fair enough, but let’s think out of the box here. A fundamental Big Data best practice is to bring your analytics to your data. The reasoning is that it’s hard to move your data but easy to move your software, so once your data are in the Cloud, you should also run your analytics there.
But this argument also works in reverse. If your data aren’t in the Cloud, then it may not make sense to move them to the Cloud simply to run your software there. Instead, bring your software to your data, even if they’re on premise.
Perish the thought, you say! We’re sold on Big Data in the Cloud. We’ve crunched the numbers and we know it’s going to save us money, provide more capabilities, and facilitate sharing information across our organization and the world. Fair enough. Here’s another twist for you.
Why are your Big Data sets outside the Cloud to begin with? Sure, you’re stuck with existing, legacy data sets wherever they happen to be today. But as a rule, those don’t constitute Big Data, or will cease to qualify as being large enough to warrant the Big Data label relatively soon. By definition, Big Data sets keep expanding exponentially, which means that you keep creating them with generations of newfangled tools.
In fact, there are already multitudinous sources for raw Big Data, as varied as the Big Data challenges organizations struggle with today. But many such sources are already in the Cloud, or could be moved to the Cloud simply. For example, clickthrough data from your Web sites. Such data come from your Web servers, which should be in the Cloud anyway. If your Big Data come from Web Servers scattered here and there in the Cloud, then moving the clickthrough data to a Big Data repository for processing can be handled in the same Cloud. No need for uploading.
What about data sources that aren’t already in the Cloud? Many Big Data streams come from instrumentation or sensors of some sort, from seismographs underground to EKGs in hospitals to UPC scanners in supermarkets. There’s no reason why such instrumentation shouldn’t pour their raw data feeds directly to the Cloud. What good is storing a week’s worth of supermarket purchasing data on premise anyway? You’ll want to store, process, manage, and analyze those data in the Cloud, so the sooner you get it there, the better.
The ZapThink Take
The only reason we have to worry about uploading Big Data to the Cloud in the first place is because our Big Data aren’t already in the Cloud. And broadly speaking, the reason they’re not already in the Cloud is because the Cloud isn’t everywhere. Instead, we think of the Cloud as being locked away in data centers, those alien, air conditioned facilities packed full of racks of high tech equipment.
That may be true today, but as ZapThink has discussed before, there’s nothing in the definition of Cloud Computing that requires Cloud resources to live in data centers. You might have a bit of the Cloud in your pocket, or on your laptop, in your car, or in your refrigerator. For now, this vision of the Internet of Things meeting the Cloud is mostly the stuff of science fiction. We’re only now figuring out what it means to have a ubiquitous global network of sensors, from the aforementioned EKGs and UPC scanners to traffic cameras to home thermostats. But the writing is on the wall. Just as we now don’t think twice about carrying supercomputers in our pockets, it’s only a matter of time until the Cloud itself is fully distributed and ubiquitous. When that happens, the question of moving Big Data to the Cloud will be moot. They will already be there.
Are you one of the vendors mentioned in this article and have a correction, or a vendor who should have been mentioned but wasn’t? Please feel free to comment here.
Image Source: US Navy
There's a lot of things we do to improve the performance of web and mobile applications. We use caching. We use compression. We offload security (SSL and TLS) to a proxy with greater compute capacity. We apply image optimization and minification to content. We do all that because performance is king. Failure to perform can be, for many businesses, equivalent to an outage with increased abandonment rates and angry customers taking to the Internet to express their extreme displeasure.
Jul. 29, 2016 03:45 PM EDT Reads: 1,665
Right off the bat, Newman advises that we should "think of microservices as a specific approach for SOA in the same way that XP or Scrum are specific approaches for Agile Software development". These analogies are very interesting because my expectation was that microservices is a pattern. So I might infer that microservices is a set of process techniques as opposed to an architectural approach. Yet in the book, Newman clearly includes some elements of concept model and architecture as well as p...
Jul. 29, 2016 02:45 PM EDT Reads: 9,815
Ovum, a leading technology analyst firm, has published an in-depth report, Ovum Decision Matrix: Selecting a DevOps Release Management Solution, 2016–17. The report focuses on the automation aspects of DevOps, Release Management and compares solutions from the leading vendors.
Jul. 29, 2016 12:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,832
Adding public cloud resources to an existing application can be a daunting process. The tools that you currently use to manage the software and hardware outside the cloud aren’t always the best tools to efficiently grow into the cloud. All of the major configuration management tools have cloud orchestration plugins that can be leveraged, but there are also cloud-native tools that can dramatically improve the efficiency of managing your application lifecycle. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, ...
Jul. 29, 2016 11:30 AM EDT Reads: 1,270
SYS-CON Events announced today that LeaseWeb USA, a cloud Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) provider, will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. LeaseWeb is one of the world's largest hosting brands. The company helps customers define, develop and deploy IT infrastructure tailored to their exact business needs, by combining various kinds cloud solutions.
Jul. 29, 2016 11:15 AM EDT Reads: 1,343
SYS-CON Events announced today that Venafi, the Immune System for the Internet™ and the leading provider of Next Generation Trust Protection, will exhibit at @DevOpsSummit at 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Venafi is the Immune System for the Internet™ that protects the foundation of all cybersecurity – cryptographic keys and digital certificates – so they can’t be misused by bad guys in attacks...
Jul. 29, 2016 09:45 AM EDT Reads: 1,480
No matter how well-built your applications are, countless issues can cause performance problems, putting the platforms they are running on under scrutiny. If you've moved to Node.js to power your applications, you may be at risk of these issues calling your choice into question. How do you identify vulnerabilities and mitigate risk to take the focus off troubleshooting the technology and back where it belongs, on innovation? There is no doubt that Node.js is one of today's leading platforms of ...
Jul. 29, 2016 08:30 AM EDT Reads: 644
Let's just nip the conflation of these terms in the bud, shall we?
"MIcro" is big these days. Both microservices and microsegmentation are having and will continue to have an impact on data center architecture, but not necessarily for the same reasons. There's a growing trend in which folks - particularly those with a network background - conflate the two and use them to mean the same thing.
They are not.
One is about the application. The other, the network. T...
Jul. 29, 2016 04:45 AM EDT Reads: 3,714
DevOps at Cloud Expo – being held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA – announces that its Call for Papers is open. Born out of proven success in agile development, cloud computing, and process automation, DevOps is a macro trend you cannot afford to miss. From showcase success stories from early adopters and web-scale businesses, DevOps is expanding to organizations of all sizes, including the world's largest enterprises – and delivering real results. Am...
Jul. 29, 2016 04:45 AM EDT Reads: 2,372
This is a no-hype, pragmatic post about why I think you should consider architecting your next project the way SOA and/or microservices suggest. No matter if it’s a greenfield approach or if you’re in dire need of refactoring. Please note: considering still keeps open the option of not taking that approach. After reading this, you will have a better idea about whether building multiple small components instead of a single, large component makes sense for your project. This post assumes that you...
Jul. 29, 2016 04:15 AM EDT Reads: 4,278
The 19th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Digital Transformation, Microservices and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportuni...
Jul. 29, 2016 04:15 AM EDT Reads: 2,690
Before becoming a developer, I was in the high school band. I played several brass instruments - including French horn and cornet - as well as keyboards in the jazz stage band. A musician and a nerd, what can I say? I even dabbled in writing music for the band. Okay, mostly I wrote arrangements of pop music, so the band could keep the crowd entertained during Friday night football games. What struck me then was that, to write parts for all the instruments - brass, woodwind, percussion, even k...
Jul. 29, 2016 01:30 AM EDT Reads: 2,350
In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 19th Cloud Expo, Yoseph Reuveni, Director of Software Engineering at Jet.com, will discuss Jet.com's journey into containerizing Microsoft-based technologies like C# and F# into Docker. He will talk about lessons learned and challenges faced, the Mono framework tryout and how they deployed everything into Azure cloud. Yoseph Reuveni is a technology leader with unique experience developing and running high throughput (over 1M tps) distributed systems with extre...
Jul. 28, 2016 10:15 PM EDT Reads: 2,243
SYS-CON Events announced today that Isomorphic Software will exhibit at DevOps Summit at 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Isomorphic Software provides the SmartClient HTML5/AJAX platform, the most advanced technology for building rich, cutting-edge enterprise web applications for desktop and mobile. SmartClient combines the productivity and performance of traditional desktop software with the simp...
Jul. 28, 2016 10:15 PM EDT Reads: 1,266
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with the 19th International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world and ThingsExpo Silicon Valley Call for Papers is now open.
Jul. 28, 2016 09:00 PM EDT Reads: 2,740
Sharding has become a popular means of achieving scalability in application architectures in which read/write data separation is not only possible, but desirable to achieve new heights of concurrency. The premise is that by splitting up read and write duties, it is possible to get better overall performance at the cost of a slight delay in consistency. That is, it takes a bit of time to replicate changes initiated by a "write" to the read-only master database. It's eventually consistent, and it'...
Jul. 28, 2016 08:30 PM EDT Reads: 2,353
Jul. 28, 2016 07:15 PM EDT Reads: 3,961
If you are within a stones throw of the DevOps marketplace you have undoubtably noticed the growing trend in Microservices. Whether you have been staying up to date with the latest articles and blogs or you just read the definition for the first time, these 5 Microservices Resources You Need In Your Life will guide you through the ins and outs of Microservices in today’s world.
Jul. 28, 2016 04:15 AM EDT Reads: 4,169
This digest provides an overview of good resources that are well worth reading. We’ll be updating this page as new content becomes available, so I suggest you bookmark it. Also, expect more digests to come on different topics that make all of our IT-hearts go boom!
Jul. 28, 2016 12:30 AM EDT Reads: 3,757
Keeping pace with advancements in software delivery processes and tooling is taxing even for the most proficient organizations. Point tools, platforms, open source and the increasing adoption of private and public cloud services requires strong engineering rigor – all in the face of developer demands to use the tools of choice. As Agile has settled in as a mainstream practice, now DevOps has emerged as the next wave to improve software delivery speed and output. To make DevOps work, organization...
Jul. 28, 2016 12:15 AM EDT Reads: 2,298