Click here to close now.

Welcome!

SOA & WOA Authors: XebiaLabs Blog, Laura Heritage, Lisa Pope, Roger Strukhoff, Jason Bloomberg

Related Topics: SOA & WOA

SOA & WOA: Article

In at the Deep End: Training for High Performance Distributed Systems

Six best practices for training new engineers

Here at Logentries we have a simple philosophy when it comes to hiring: hire the best people we can find and let them jump in at the deep end. That is how we like to learn. Smart people like to go deep and then find out what they don’t know as they work through some real world problems. And, our job is to give them the mentoring and support they need to overcome the blockers quickly and continue the learning process. We ensure they come to us with a great computer science or mathematical background and we take it from there.

Logentries TrainingWhen we thought about designing a training program we built it around the following set of problems:

1. CAP Theorem

Learn to accept that consistency, availability and partition tolerance cannot be provided simultaneously. Decide what is important for your customers and make the best trade-offs you can. But, what you build needs to be understandable. Raft provides a consensus algorithm whose aim is to be understandable, or at least to be easier to comprehend than Paxos or Paxos-influenced algorithms. It’s a good place to start to understand the distributed systems challenge. So we start with the theory then the next step we get practical…

2. Embrace Hardware Failures

Logentries runs is an Amazon EC2-based service – an environment where failures in parts of the system are routine. Netflix has taken this approach to its natural conclusion. If you expect failure and know that when it happens it’s going to happen at the worst possible time; why not plan for it to happen all time. So they built Chaos Monkey, a tool that randomly generates various kinds of failures in your environment. You can run this to schedule so that failures happen when you are closely monitoring things. By combining Raft + Chaos Monkey – you get to understand what happens when things go wrong and how to build fault tolerant systems that can deal with any failure.

3. Embrace the Asynchronous

Blocking calls will kill performance and may impact availability. The slowest system in a chain will cause a backlog on the other nodes. Asynchronous design allows you to avoid the cascade effects that can occur when one node in the system brings down other nodes. It is the best way to build fault tolerant systems. So we start by building a system that relies on synchronous calls, show what happens under extreme load or when failures occur and then evolve this to work asynchronously.

4. Mechanical Sympathy

The LMAX Disruptor team understands that to get every last drop of performance out of your system you sometimes need to know every last detail of the hardware environment you are running on. They call it Mechanical Sympathy. They took what they knew about modern day processor architectures (caches, memory barriers, compare and swap etc.) and turned it into a software solution for high performance inter-thread messaging, which leads to massive performance improvements when used correctly.  So next we show our graduates what happens when you move from queue-based interactions to using Disruptor.

5. Horizontal over Vertical Scaling

Vertical scaling can give you quick wins in performance but when it comes to building a business like Logentries, where subscriber growth outpaces technology, the only way to design systems to scale with your success is to scale them horizontally. Don’t wait for technology to set limits on your growth. Also it’s better to scale on commodity hardware or, in our case, to scale on the EC2 servers that give you the best price-performance rather than rely on the latest premium-priced bells and whistles. When it comes to practical side of scaling we focus on splitting out the load but we plan for multiple axes of scale. Scaling out horizontally gives us the first split, where transactions are split over nodes. But we also ensure we have options for scaling by partitioning by types of transactions (log queries, API calls, live tail requests etc.), and by customer etc.

6. Talent Borrows, Genius Steals

We work only ten minutes away from where Oscar Wilde was born (Merrion Square, Dublin), so we do like to keep his words in mind. There are so many great distributed technologies around today – and they are getting better all the time. We have been inspired by Kafka, Hadoop, etcd, BDAS etc. But we like to control our own destiny and there are some very good reasons why we have built our platform from the ground up to do what it does in the best way it can. Turning logs into business insights isn’t easy – so we do like to stand on the shoulders of some distributed systems giants. So the final steps in our training program is to evaluate other distributed systems in the context of what we have learnt in the previous steps. Learn how Kafka implements mechanical sympathy when maximizing disk I/O. Understand Raft in the context of etcd. Understand the challenges on scaling analytics in the context of Hadoop.

Over the next few months – as we put our training program into practice we hope to have some of graduates blog about their experiences. Stay tuned!

More Stories By Trevor Parsons

Trevor Parsons is Chief Scientist and Co-founder of Logentries. Trevor has over 10 years experience in enterprise software and, in particular, has specialized in developing enterprise monitoring and performance tools for distributed systems. He is also a research fellow at the Performance Engineering Lab Research Group and was formerly a Scientist at the IBM Center for Advanced Studies. Trevor holds a PhD from University College Dublin, Ireland.

@ThingsExpo Stories
We certainly live in interesting technological times. And no more interesting than the current competing IoT standards for connectivity. Various standards bodies, approaches, and ecosystems are vying for mindshare and positioning for a competitive edge. It is clear that when the dust settles, we will have new protocols, evolved protocols, that will change the way we interact with devices and infrastructure. We will also have evolved web protocols, like HTTP/2, that will be changing the very core of our infrastructures. At the same time, we have old approaches made new again like micro-services...
Every innovation or invention was originally a daydream. You like to imagine a “what-if” scenario. And with all the attention being paid to the so-called Internet of Things (IoT) you don’t have to stretch the imagination too much to see how this may impact commercial and homeowners insurance. We’re beyond the point of accepting this as a leap of faith. The groundwork is laid. Now it’s just a matter of time. We can thank the inventors of smart thermostats for developing a practical business application that everyone can relate to. Gone are the salad days of smart home apps, the early chalkb...
Operational Hadoop and the Lambda Architecture for Streaming Data Apache Hadoop is emerging as a distributed platform for handling large and fast incoming streams of data. Predictive maintenance, supply chain optimization, and Internet-of-Things analysis are examples where Hadoop provides the scalable storage, processing, and analytics platform to gain meaningful insights from granular data that is typically only valuable from a large-scale, aggregate view. One architecture useful for capturing and analyzing streaming data is the Lambda Architecture, representing a model of how to analyze rea...
Today’s enterprise is being driven by disruptive competitive and human capital requirements to provide enterprise application access through not only desktops, but also mobile devices. To retrofit existing programs across all these devices using traditional programming methods is very costly and time consuming – often prohibitively so. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jesse Shiah, CEO, President, and Co-Founder of AgilePoint Inc., discussed how you can create applications that run on all mobile devices as well as laptops and desktops using a visual drag-and-drop application – and eForms-buildi...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Vitria Technology, Inc. will exhibit at SYS-CON’s @ThingsExpo, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Vitria will showcase the company’s new IoT Analytics Platform through live demonstrations at booth #330. Vitria’s IoT Analytics Platform, fully integrated and powered by an operational intelligence engine, enables customers to rapidly build and operationalize advanced analytics to deliver timely business outcomes for use cases across the industrial, enterprise, and consumer segments.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Dyn, the worldwide leader in Internet Performance, 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. Dyn is a cloud-based Internet Performance company. Dyn helps companies monitor, control, and optimize online infrastructure for an exceptional end-user experience. Through a world-class network and unrivaled, objective intelligence into Internet conditions, Dyn ensures traffic gets delivered faster, safer, and more reliably than ever.
Containers and microservices have become topics of intense interest throughout the cloud developer and enterprise IT communities. Accordingly, attendees at the upcoming 16th Cloud Expo at the Javits Center in New York June 9-11 will find fresh new content in a new track called PaaS | Containers & Microservices Containers are not being considered for the first time by the cloud community, but a current era of re-consideration has pushed them to the top of the cloud agenda. With the launch of Docker's initial release in March of 2013, interest was revved up several notches. Then late last...
In their session at @ThingsExpo, Shyam Varan Nath, Principal Architect at GE, and Ibrahim Gokcen, who leads GE's advanced IoT analytics, focused on the Internet of Things / Industrial Internet and how to make it operational for business end-users. Learn about the challenges posed by machine and sensor data and how to marry it with enterprise data. They also discussed the tips and tricks to provide the Industrial Internet as an end-user consumable service using Big Data Analytics and Industrial Cloud.
Performance is the intersection of power, agility, control, and choice. If you value performance, and more specifically consistent performance, you need to look beyond simple virtualized compute. Many factors need to be considered to create a truly performant environment. In his General Session at 15th Cloud Expo, Harold Hannon, Sr. Software Architect at SoftLayer, discussed how to take advantage of a multitude of compute options and platform features to make cloud the cornerstone of your online presence.
The explosion of connected devices / sensors is creating an ever-expanding set of new and valuable data. In parallel the emerging capability of Big Data technologies to store, access, analyze, and react to this data is producing changes in business models under the umbrella of the Internet of Things (IoT). In particular within the Insurance industry, IoT appears positioned to enable deep changes by altering relationships between insurers, distributors, and the insured. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Michael Sick, a Senior Manager and Big Data Architect within Ernst and Young's Financial Servi...
Even as cloud and managed services grow increasingly central to business strategy and performance, challenges remain. The biggest sticking point for companies seeking to capitalize on the cloud is data security. Keeping data safe is an issue in any computing environment, and it has been a focus since the earliest days of the cloud revolution. Understandably so: a lot can go wrong when you allow valuable information to live outside the firewall. Recent revelations about government snooping, along with a steady stream of well-publicized data breaches, only add to the uncertainty
The explosion of connected devices / sensors is creating an ever-expanding set of new and valuable data. In parallel the emerging capability of Big Data technologies to store, access, analyze, and react to this data is producing changes in business models under the umbrella of the Internet of Things (IoT). In particular within the Insurance industry, IoT appears positioned to enable deep changes by altering relationships between insurers, distributors, and the insured. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Michael Sick, a Senior Manager and Big Data Architect within Ernst and Young's Financial Servi...
PubNub on Monday has announced that it is partnering with IBM to bring its sophisticated real-time data streaming and messaging capabilities to Bluemix, IBM’s cloud development platform. “Today’s app and connected devices require an always-on connection, but building a secure, scalable solution from the ground up is time consuming, resource intensive, and error-prone,” said Todd Greene, CEO of PubNub. “PubNub enables web, mobile and IoT developers building apps on IBM Bluemix to quickly add scalable realtime functionality with minimal effort and cost.”
Docker is an excellent platform for organizations interested in running microservices. It offers portability and consistency between development and production environments, quick provisioning times, and a simple way to isolate services. In his session at DevOps Summit at 16th Cloud Expo, Shannon Williams, co-founder of Rancher Labs, will walk through these and other benefits of using Docker to run microservices, and provide an overview of RancherOS, a minimalist distribution of Linux designed expressly to run Docker. He will also discuss Rancher, an orchestration and service discovery platf...
Sensor-enabled things are becoming more commonplace, precursors to a larger and more complex framework that most consider the ultimate promise of the IoT: things connecting, interacting, sharing, storing, and over time perhaps learning and predicting based on habits, behaviors, location, preferences, purchases and more. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Tom Wesselman, Director of Communications Ecosystem Architecture at Plantronics, will examine the still nascent IoT as it is coalescing, including what it is today, what it might ultimately be, the role of wearable tech, and technology gaps stil...
CommVault has announced that top industry technology visionaries have joined its leadership team. The addition of leaders from companies such as Oracle, SAP, Microsoft, Cisco, PwC and EMC signals the continuation of CommVault Next, the company's business transformation for sales, go-to-market strategies, pricing and packaging and technology innovation. The company also announced that it had realigned its structure to create business units to more directly match how customers evaluate, deploy, operate, and purchase technology.
In the consumer IoT, everything is new, and the IT world of bits and bytes holds sway. But industrial and commercial realms encompass operational technology (OT) that has been around for 25 or 50 years. This grittier, pre-IP, more hands-on world has much to gain from Industrial IoT (IIoT) applications and principles. But adding sensors and wireless connectivity won’t work in environments that demand unwavering reliability and performance. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Ron Sege, CEO of Echelon, will discuss how as enterprise IT embraces other IoT-related technology trends, enterprises with i...
When it comes to the Internet of Things, hooking up will get you only so far. If you want customers to commit, you need to go beyond simply connecting products. You need to use the devices themselves to transform how you engage with every customer and how you manage the entire product lifecycle. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Sean Lorenz, Technical Product Manager for Xively at LogMeIn, will show how “product relationship management” can help you leverage your connected devices and the data they generate about customer usage and product performance to deliver extremely compelling and reliabl...
The Internet of Things (IoT) is causing data centers to become radically decentralized and atomized within a new paradigm known as “fog computing.” To support IoT applications, such as connected cars and smart grids, data centers' core functions will be decentralized out to the network's edges and endpoints (aka “fogs”). As this trend takes hold, Big Data analytics platforms will focus on high-volume log analysis (aka “logs”) and rely heavily on cognitive-computing algorithms (aka “cogs”) to make sense of it all.
With several hundred implementations of IoT-enabled solutions in the past 12 months alone, this session will focus on experience over the art of the possible. Many can only imagine the most advanced telematics platform ever deployed, supporting millions of customers, producing tens of thousands events or GBs per trip, and hundreds of TBs per month. With the ability to support a billion sensor events per second, over 30PB of warm data for analytics, and hundreds of PBs for an data analytics archive, in his session at @ThingsExpo, Jim Kaskade, Vice President and General Manager, Big Data & Ana...