|By Nikita Ivanov||
|December 30, 2014 05:00 PM EST||
The Facts and Fiction of In-Memory Computing
In the last year, conversations about In-Memory Computing (IMC) have become more and more prevalent in enterprise IT circles, especially with organizations feeling the pressure to process massive quantities of data at the speed that is now being demanded by the Internet. The hype around IMC is justified: tasks that once took hours to execute are streamlined down to seconds by moving the computation and data from disk, directly to RAM. Through this simple adjustment, analytics are happening in real-time, and applications (as well as the development of applications) are working at-pace with this new standard of technology and speed.
Despite becoming both more cost-effective and accepted within enterprise computing, there are still a small handful of falsehoods that confuse even the most technical of individuals in enterprise IT.
Myth: In-memory computing is about databases, so this isn't really relevant to my business.
The best way to clear the air around IMC is to start with a simple explanation of what, in fact, in-memory computing is. While many assume that because we are talking about RAM, we are having a conversation about databases and storage, but this is not the case.
IMC, at its most basic level, is using a middleware software that allows one to store data in RAM - across a broad cluster of computers - and do any and all processing where it resides (in the memory). With traditional methods, data processing is often confined to spinning disks.
By comparison, in-memory computing speeds up this process by roughly 5,000 times. Now you can see that we're not talking about storage only - instead active, fluid data and computing.
Which brings me to another, more tangible point about computing efficiency. By incorporating in-memory, a handful of processes are streamlined in order to save time, resources, and money.
To start, in-memory requires much less hardware; the result - significantly decreased capital, operational and infrastructure overhead.
Moreover, IT departments can also significantly extend the life of existing hardware and software through the increased performance that is inherent with IMC - thus amplifying the ROI on the machines that have already been purchased.
Surprisingly, in-memory computing is not a new phenomenon. Since the inception of RAM, IMC has been viewed as reliable accelerant for high-performance computing, bringing us to the next crucial misconception about this technology.
Myth: In-memory computing is expensive, therefore not practical for my operation.
There is a reason that this is one of the most common misunderstandings about IMC, because there was a point in time where the cost of memory was once quite high. That being said, the cost of RAM has been dropping consistently, at a rate of about 30% - for the last 5 years.
Today, the price of a 1 Terabyte RAM cluster can go for anywhere between $20 and $40 thousand - including all of the CPUs, networking, etc. A few years from now that same setup will likely be available for half that price.
Regardless of the future price of RAM, which based upon current projections will likely continue to fall, the current economics have already placed this technology well within the reaches of the enterprise computing budgets that require this level of scale.
Myth: My needs are already being met by Flash.
There are three different reasons why this mentality is held by IT folks, each of which are highly misinformed. I'll start with the most common, which is the idea that your business doesn't need the Lambourgini-esque super-computing power of IMC.
The hard yet obvious reality is that if your business is in any way data-driven, you likely cannot survive without speed and agility in this department. As time goes on, the amount of data that businesses accumulate compounds with new streams and variances. This is a sink-or-swim reality.
Another myth commonly used to dispel IMC is that if businesses are able to just effectively mount RAM disk, they will get in-memory processing. Unfortunately, it's not that easy. As mentioned earlier, IMC works through middleware to effectively unlock its power.
Finally, there's the notion that one can just replace their HDDs with SSDs in order to get this super-charged performance. For SSDs - in certain situations - the performance gain that you can pull from flash storage in lieu of spinning disk is enough.
However, speed matters - and is rapidly becoming more of a requirement every day. At this point, it's like comparing apples to oranges with speed improvements of 10 to 100x over SSDs.
Myth: Memory is not durable enough to be truly sustainable.
This is another notion that for whatever reason has been both widely perpetuated - and is entirely false.
The fact is - almost all in-memory computing middleware (apart from very simplistic ones) offer one or multiple strategies for in-memory backups, durable storage backups, disk-based swap space overflow, etc.
More sophisticated vendors provide a comprehensive tiered storage approach where users can decide what portion of the overall data set is stored in RAM, local disk swap space or RDBMS/HDFS - where each tier can store progressively more data but with progressively longer latencies.
Yet another source of confusion is the difference between operational datasets and historical datasets. In-memory computing is not aimed at replacing enterprise data warehouse (EDW), backup or offline storage services - like Hadoop, for example. The goal of IMC is to improve the operational datasets that require mixed OLTP and OLAP processing and in most cases are less than 10TB in size. That is to say, in-memory computing is not "all or nothing" - and does not require that every aspect of data be housed in memory.
The in-memory computing revolution is by no means intended to obliterate disks from the enterprise. For now, the disk still serves a well-defined role for offline/backup use cases - tasks that are not the focus of IMC.
Myth: In-memory is inaccessible to my business because so few developers actually know how to use it.
Yes indeed, In-memory computing is a highly complex technology, that for now, only a few vendors have even been able to successfully develop offerings for. However, like much of high-technology, in-memory computing has entered the world of open source - bringing its capabilities and power to the fingertips of developers around the world.
Currently, with GridGain, developers have the ability to get their hands on IMC with a simple download at http://gridgain.org/.
In-memory computing is already being tapped across a broad range of functions and industries including (but not limited to) financial trading systems, online game, bioinformatics, hyper-local advertising, cognitive computing, and geospatial analysis.
By raising awareness, and bringing the capabilities of IMC to more developers and organizations - industries around the globe are poised to experience entirely new standards of speed, computing, and performance.
In the world of DevOps there are ‘known good practices’ – aka ‘patterns’ – and ‘known bad practices’ – aka ‘anti-patterns.' Many of these patterns and anti-patterns have been developed from real world experience, especially by the early adopters of DevOps theory; but many are more feasible in theory than in practice, especially for more recent entrants to the DevOps scene. In this power panel at @DevOpsSummit at 18th Cloud Expo, moderated by DevOps Conference Chair Andi Mann, panelists will dis...
May. 6, 2016 12:45 PM EDT Reads: 1,173
SYS-CON Events announced today that Peak 10, Inc., a national IT infrastructure and cloud services provider, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Peak 10 provides reliable, tailored data center and network services, cloud and managed services. Its solutions are designed to scale and adapt to customers’ changing business needs, enabling them to lower costs, improve performance and focus inter...
May. 6, 2016 10:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,513
Many private cloud projects were built to deliver self-service access to development and test resources. While those clouds delivered faster access to resources, they lacked visibility, control and security needed for production deployments. In their session at 18th Cloud Expo, Steve Anderson, Product Manager at BMC Software, and Rick Lefort, Principal Technical Marketing Consultant at BMC Software, will discuss how a cloud designed for production operations not only helps accelerate developer...
May. 6, 2016 08:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,398
Last week I had the pleasure of speaking on a panel at Sapphire Ventures Next-Gen Tech Stack Forum in San Francisco. Obviously, I was excited to join the discussion, but as a participant the event crystallized not only where the larger software development market is relative to microservices, container technologies (like Docker), continuous integration and deployment; but also provided insight into where DevOps is heading in the coming years.
May. 6, 2016 07:00 AM EDT Reads: 296
Much of the value of DevOps comes from a (renewed) focus on measurement, sharing, and continuous feedback loops. In increasingly complex DevOps workflows and environments, and especially in larger, regulated, or more crystallized organizations, these core concepts become even more critical. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 18th Cloud Expo, Andi Mann, Chief Technology Advocate at Splunk, will show how, by focusing on 'metrics that matter,' you can provide objective, transparent, and meaningfu...
May. 6, 2016 07:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,236
Wow, if you ever wanted to learn about Rugged DevOps (some call it DevSecOps), sit down for a spell with Shannon Lietz, Ian Allison and Scott Kennedy from Intuit. We discussed a number of important topics including internal war games, culture hacking, gamification of Rugged DevOps and starting as a small team. There are 100 gold nuggets in this conversation for novices and experts alike.
May. 6, 2016 05:30 AM EDT Reads: 1,074
The notion of customer journeys, of course, are central to the digital marketer’s playbook. Clearly, enterprises should focus their digital efforts on such journeys, as they represent customer interactions over time. But making customer journeys the centerpiece of the enterprise architecture, however, leaves more questions than answers. The challenge arises when EAs consider the context of the customer journey in the overall architecture as well as the architectural elements that make up each...
May. 6, 2016 04:15 AM EDT Reads: 2,107
In a crowded world of popular computer languages, platforms and ecosystems, Node.js is one of the hottest. According to w3techs.com, Node.js usage has gone up 241 percent in the last year alone. Retailers have taken notice and are implementing it on many levels. I am going to share the basics of Node.js, and discuss why retailers are using it to reduce page load times and improve server efficiency. I’ll talk about similar developments such as Docker and microservices, and look at several compani...
May. 6, 2016 03:00 AM EDT Reads: 980
Admittedly, two years ago I was a bulk contributor to the DevOps noise with conversations rooted in the movement around culture, principles, and goals. And while all of these elements of DevOps environments are important, I’ve found that the biggest challenge now is a lack of understanding as to why DevOps is beneficial. It’s getting the wheels going, or just taking the next step. The best way to start on the road to change is to take a look at the companies that have already made great headway ...
May. 6, 2016 02:45 AM EDT Reads: 559
In 2006, Martin Fowler posted his now famous essay on Continuous Integration. Looking back, what seemed revolutionary, radical or just plain crazy is now common, pedestrian and "just what you do." I love it. Back then, building and releasing software was a real pain. Integration was something you did at the end, after code complete, and we didn't know how long it would take. Some people may recall how we, as an industry, spent a massive amount of time integrating code from one team with another...
May. 6, 2016 01:30 AM EDT Reads: 1,172
From the conception of Docker containers to the unfolding microservices revolution we see today, here is a brief history of what I like to call 'containerology'. In 2013, we were solidly in the monolithic application era. I had noticed that a growing amount of effort was going into deploying and configuring applications. As applications had grown in complexity and interdependency over the years, the effort to install and configure them was becoming significant. But the road did not end with a ...
May. 6, 2016 12:30 AM EDT Reads: 792
I have an article in the recently released “DZone Guide to Building and Deploying Applications on the Cloud” entitled “Fullstack Engineering in the Age of Hybrid Cloud”. In this article I discuss the need and skills of a Fullstack Engineer with relation to troubleshooting and repairing complex, distributed hybrid cloud applications. My recent experiences with troubleshooting issues with my Docker WordPress container only reinforce the details I wrote about in this piece. Without my comprehensive...
May. 5, 2016 11:30 PM EDT Reads: 1,100
As the software delivery industry continues to evolve and mature, the challenge of managing the growing list of the tools and processes becomes more daunting every day. Today, Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) platforms are proving most valuable by providing the governance, management and coordination for every stage of development, deployment and release. Recently, I spoke with Madison Moore at SD Times about the changing market and where ALM is headed.
May. 5, 2016 07:45 PM EDT Reads: 1,651
The goal of any tech business worth its salt is to provide the best product or service to its clients in the most efficient and cost-effective way possible. This is just as true in the development of software products as it is in other product design services. Microservices, an app architecture style that leans mostly on independent, self-contained programs, are quickly becoming the new norm, so to speak. With this change comes a declining reliance on older SOAs like COBRA, a push toward more s...
May. 5, 2016 05:15 PM EDT Reads: 1,749
Small teams are more effective. The general agreement is that anything from 5 to 12 is the 'right' small. But of course small teams will also have 'small' throughput - relatively speaking. So if your demand is X and the throughput of a small team is X/10, you probably need 10 teams to meet that demand. But more teams also mean more effort to coordinate and align their efforts in the same direction. So, the challenge is how to harness the power of small teams and yet orchestrate multiples of them...
May. 5, 2016 05:00 PM EDT Reads: 640
Much of the discussion around cloud DevOps focuses on the speed with which companies need to get new code into production. This focus is important – because in an increasingly digital marketplace, new code enables new value propositions. New code is also often essential for maintaining competitive parity with market innovators. But new code doesn’t just have to deliver the functionality the business requires. It also has to behave well because the behavior of code in the cloud affects performan...
May. 5, 2016 03:15 AM EDT Reads: 1,526
Struggling to keep up with increasing application demand? Learn how Platform as a Service (PaaS) can streamline application development processes and make resource management easy.
May. 4, 2016 09:00 PM EDT Reads: 2,278
If there is anything we have learned by now, is that every business paves their own unique path for releasing software- every pipeline, implementation and practices are a bit different, and DevOps comes in all shapes and sizes. Software delivery practices are often comprised of set of several complementing (or even competing) methodologies – such as leveraging Agile, DevOps and even a mix of ITIL, to create the combination that’s most suitable for your organization and that maximize your busines...
May. 3, 2016 07:30 PM EDT Reads: 1,965
Digital means customer preferences and behavior are driving enterprise technology decisions to be sure, but let’s not forget our employees. After all, when we say customer, we mean customer writ large, including partners, supply chain participants, and yes, those salaried denizens whose daily labor forms the cornerstone of the enterprise. While your customers bask in the warm rays of your digital efforts, are your employees toiling away in the dark recesses of your enterprise, pecking data into...
May. 3, 2016 04:45 PM EDT Reads: 1,175
You deployed your app with the Bluemix PaaS and it's gaining some serious traction, so it's time to make some tweaks. Did you design your application in a way that it can scale in the cloud? Were you even thinking about the cloud when you built the app? If not, chances are your app is going to break. Check out this webcast to learn various techniques for designing applications that will scale successfully in Bluemix, for the confidence you need to take your apps to the next level and beyond.
May. 3, 2016 12:15 PM EDT Reads: 1,669