Click here to close now.

Welcome!

MICROSERVICES Authors: Elizabeth White, Dana Gardner, ScriptRock Blog, Cynthia Dunlop, XebiaLabs Blog

Related Topics: Cloud Expo, Java, MICROSERVICES, .NET, Open Source, Big Data Journal

Cloud Expo: Article

Case Study: Integrating Redshift, DynamoDB and JasperSoft

JasperSoft and Redshift are touted as the new way to do data warehousing in the cloud

We recently completed a proof-of-concept (POC) that involved pulling data out of DynamoDB and into Redshift so that business users could analyze the data in an ad hoc manner with JasperSoft. JasperSoft and Redshift are touted as the new way to do data warehousing in the cloud and we were using DynamoDB as a sort of alternative to something Hadoop based.

We were amazed at how quickly and easily you could get a business-user friendly view of the data we had stored in DynamoDB using Redshift and JasperSoft. The actual human effort required to copy some initial data from DynamoDB into Redshift and then view it in JasperSoft was barely a few hours. However, there were a few unforseen technical challenges, but these challenges were not insurmountable. Ultimately we will continue with this technology combination because, as well as being easy to deploy and use, it gives us confidence that we can scale the POC into a "real" solution, and that our growing data needs will be taken care of.

Redshift's inbuilt copy from DynamoDB function makes getting data into Redshift fast but has limitations
Redshift provides an out-of-the-box copy function to copy data from DynamoDBinto Redshift without the need to set up servers or write any code other than a few simple lines of SQL. We were able to copy many of our tables straight out of DynamoDB and into Redshift and start running ad hoc queries without having to fire up servers or create an entire data translation layer of software.

We couldn't copy all of our tables, however, as DynamoDB's String Set field type is not currently supported by Redshift's copy function. After attempts at various SQL hacks and closely reading the Redshift manual we realized that we would not be able to work with these tables in the POC. In the future we will write some simple copy scripts (unless Amazon beats us to it and updates the copy command which, given their continuous product improvement, is likely).

Copying takes time
As it was a POC we were only copying across 3.5GB or 50 million rows of data but this process did take some time to complete - it took us 37 hours. Both Redshift and DynamoDB were running on the lowest performance settings and the DynamoDB instance was also servicing the needs of the live beta application we were trying to extract data from. We suspect this process could easily be made quicker by increasing the DynamoDB instance power and the power of Redshift but we did not test this.

The time it takes to copy 3.5GB of data indicated to us that a considered approach is necessary for getting data from DynamoDB into Redshift, especially considering that the live data will be much larger in volume. For example, when this goes into production we are only going to copy new records on a daily basis instead of clearing the entire Redshift database and reloading it to stay up to date.

Working in SQL with Redshift makes life easy
Once we had pulled our initial copy of data into Redshift we needed to manipulate the data to get it into a form that business users could analyze and create reports with.

The great thing about Redshift is that you are working in an environment you are familiar with. SQL. Redshift, at the time of writing, is based on PostgreSQL 8.0.2 so we were able to apply familiar string manipulation and math functions as well as create and join new tables to make the data much easier to understand for a non-technical business user.

Some SQL functions aren't yet supported by Redshift so we had to read through the documentation every now and then to find a suitable alternative. Sometimes it was just about trying to find the alternate name Redshift was using for a function we were used to using. Other times it meant creating some interesting workaround SQL. For example, Redshift doesn't support a function that can convert a Unix timestamp to a date so we had to manually convert our time stamps to dates using a mathematical formula.

Instant, non-technical user friendly data access with JasperSoft
We easily spun up a JasperSoft OnDemand instance and connected it to Redshift quite quickly. We were then creating ad hoc views and reports in a matter of minutes.

We did have some issues analyzing one of our tables straight out-of-the-box, one table had almost 3.5GB. Attempting to view reports on this table led to JasperSoft crashing. With some tweaking of the way the reports ran we were able to prevent analysis of this table from crashing JasperSoft.

More Stories By Scott Middleton

Scott Middleton is the CEO and Principal Consultant at Terem Technologies, a company that specializes in custom software development for innovative companies and high-tech ventures.

Comments (1)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@MicroservicesExpo Stories
While poor system performance occurs for any number of reasons (poor code, understaffed teams, inadequate legacy systems), this week’s post should help you quickly diagnose and fix a few common problems, while setting yourself up for a more stable future at the same time. Modern application frameworks have made it very easy to build not only powerful back-ends, but also rich, web-based user interfaces that are pushed out to the client in real-time. Often this involves a lot of data being transf...
InfoScout in San Francisco gleans new levels of accurate insights into retail buyer behavior by collecting data directly from consumers’ sales receipts. In order to better analyze actual retail behaviors and patterns, InfoScout provides incentives for buyers to share their receipts, but InfoScout is then faced with the daunting task of managing and cleansing that essential data to provide actionable and understandable insights.
Best practices for helping DevOps and Test collaborate in ways that make your SDLC leaner and more scalable. The business demand for "more innovative software, faster" is driving a surge of interest in DevOps, Agile and Lean software development practices. However, today's testing processes are typically bogged down by weighty burdens such as the difficulty of 1) accessing complete Dev/Test environments; 2) acquiring complete, sanitized test data; and 3) configuring the behavior of the environm...
SYS-CON Events announced today that MangoApps will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY., and the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. MangoApps provides private all-in-one social intranets allowing workers to securely collaborate from anywhere in the world and from any device. Social, mobile, and eas...
As a group of concepts, DevOps has converged on several prominent themes including continuous software delivery, automation, and configuration management (CM). These integral pieces often form the pillars of an organization’s DevOps efforts, even as other bigger pieces like overarching best practices and guidelines are still being tried and tested. Being that DevOps is a relatively new paradigm - movement - methodology - [insert your own label here], standards around it have yet to be codified a...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Solgenia will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Solgenia is the global market leader in Cloud Collaboration and Cloud Infrastructure software solutions. Designed to “Bridge the Gap” between Personal and Professional S...
Learn the top API testing issues that organizations encounter and how automation plus a DevOps team approach can address these top API testing challenges. Ensuring API integrity is difficult in today's complex application cloud, on-premises and hybrid environment scenarios. In this interview with TechTarget, Parasoft solution architect manager Spencer Debrosse shares his experiences about the top API testing issues that organizations encounter and how automation and a DevOps team approach can a...
Chef and Canonical announced a partnership to integrate and distribute Chef with Ubuntu. Canonical is integrating the Chef automation platform with Canonical's Machine-As-A-Service (MAAS), enabling users to automate the provisioning, configuration and deployment of bare metal compute resources in the data center. Canonical is packaging Chef 12 server in upcoming distributions of its Ubuntu open source operating system and will provide commercial support for Chef within its user base.
When it comes to microservices there are myths and uncertainty about the journey ahead. Deploying a “Hello World” app on Docker is a long way from making microservices work in real enterprises with large applications, complex environments and existing organizational structures. February 19, 2015 10:00am PT / 1:00pm ET → 45 Minutes Join our four experts: Special host Gene Kim, Gary Gruver, Randy Shoup and XebiaLabs’ Andrew Phillips as they explore the realities of microservices in today’s IT worl...
After what feel like an interminable cycle of media frenzy followed by hype and hysteria cycles, the practical elements of real world cloud implementations are starting to become better documented. But what is really different in the cloud? How do software applications behave, live, interact and interconnect inside the cloud? Where do cloud architectures differ so markedly from their predecessors that we need to learn a new set of mechanics – and, when do we start to refer to software progra...
The world's leading Cloud event, Cloud Expo has launched Microservices Journal on the SYS-CON.com portal, featuring over 19,000 original articles, news stories, features, and blog entries. DevOps Journal is focused on this critical enterprise IT topic in the world of cloud computing. Microservices Journal offers top articles, news stories, and blog posts from the world's well-known experts and guarantees better exposure for its authors than any other publication. Follow new article posts on T...
Even though it’s now Microservices Journal, long-time fans of SOA World Magazine can take comfort in the fact that the URL – soa.sys-con.com – remains unchanged. And that’s no mistake, as microservices are really nothing more than a new and improved take on the Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) best practices we struggled to hammer out over the last decade. Skeptics, however, might say that this change is nothing more than an exercise in buzzword-hopping. SOA is passé, and now that people are ...
Hosted PaaS providers have given independent developers and startups huge advantages in efficiency and reduced time-to-market over their more process-bound counterparts in enterprises. Software frameworks are now available that allow enterprise IT departments to provide these same advantages for developers in their own organization. In his workshop session at DevOps Summit, Troy Topnik, ActiveState’s Technical Product Manager, will show how on-prem or cloud-hosted Private PaaS can enable organ...
For those of us that have been practicing SOA for over a decade, it's surprising that there's so much interest in microservices. In fairness microservices don't look like the vendor play that was early SOA in the early noughties. But experienced SOA practitioners everywhere will be wondering if microservices is actually a good thing. You see microservices is basically an SOA pattern that inherits all the well-known SOA principles and adds characteristics that address the use of SOA for distribut...
SYS-CON Events announced today the IoT Bootcamp – Jumpstart Your IoT Strategy, being held June 9–10, 2015, in conjunction with 16th Cloud Expo and Internet of @ThingsExpo at the Javits Center in New York City. This is your chance to jumpstart your IoT strategy. Combined with real-world scenarios and use cases, the IoT Bootcamp is not just based on presentations but includes hands-on demos and walkthroughs. We will introduce you to a variety of Do-It-Yourself IoT platforms including Arduino, Ras...
Microservice architectures are the new hotness, even though they aren't really all that different (in principle) from the paradigm described by SOA (which is dead, or not dead, depending on whom you ask). One of the things this decompositional approach to application architecture does is encourage developers and operations (some might even say DevOps) to re-evaluate scaling strategies. In particular, the notion is forwarded that an application should be built to scale and then infrastructure sho...
Microservices are the result of decomposing applications. That may sound a lot like SOA, but SOA was based on an object-oriented (noun) premise; that is, services were built around an object - like a customer - with all the necessary operations (functions) that go along with it. SOA was also founded on a variety of standards (most of them coming out of OASIS) like SOAP, WSDL, XML and UDDI. Microservices have no standards (at least none deriving from a standards body or organization) and can be b...
Our guest on the podcast this week is Jason Bloomberg, President at Intellyx. When we build services we want them to be lightweight, stateless and scalable while doing one thing really well. In today's cloud world, we're revisiting what to takes to make a good service in the first place. Listen in to learn why following "the book" doesn't necessarily mean that you're solving key business problems.
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...
Microservices, for the uninitiated, are essentially the decomposition of applications into multiple services. This decomposition is often based on functional lines, with related functions being grouped together into a service. While this may sound a like SOA, it really isn't, especially given that SOA was an object-centered methodology that focused on creating services around "nouns" like customer and product. Microservices, while certainly capable of being noun-based, are just as likely to be v...