Welcome!

Big Data Journal Authors: Marten Terpstra, Esmeralda Swartz, Roger Strukhoff, Carmen Gonzalez, Elizabeth White

Blog Feed Post

Quick MapReduce with beanstalkd

At ProjectLocker, we operate a polyglot environment with a heavy Ruby bias. While we love Ruby and Rails, one of the drawbacks of Ruby is its Global VM Lock. In a nutshell, the Global VM Lock makes it harder to write Ruby code that can fully utilize a modern multi-core server. For Web applications, this isn’t a problem because the web server manages multiple processes for you (e.g. via Passenger). However, for offline processes, parallelism doesn’t come for free.

I was recently working on a project that involved the offline batch processing of lots of data. This project has been operating successfully for some time, but the data set has grown, causing the process to need more more time to complete than we’d like. So I dove in to see what we could do to speed it up. Fortunately, the process was still single-threaded, so we knew we’d be able to inject concurrency to increase throughput without adding hardware.

The job in question runs on a fairly well-equipped server, but the server was underutilized due to the process being serial. Here’s an outline of the initial code:

def main_job
  for retrieve_giant_dataset().each do |item|
    long_process(item)
  end

  summarize_results(retrieve_all_results()) 
end

def long_process(item)
  # Do some work on item that uses a lot of CPU time.
  item.save
end

That approach gets the job done, but I wanted to parallelize it. Conceptually, I wanted to transform the main_job method so that it looked something like this:

def main_job
  threads = []
  for retrieve_giant_dataset().each do |item|
    threads << Thread.new(item) do
      long_process(item)
    end
  end

  threads.each { |t| t.join }

  summarize_results(retrieve_all_results()) 
end

Unfortunately, it’s not that easy due to the aforementioned Global VM Lock. What I needed was a way to get my threads running on a bunch of independent processes. This is a problem tailor-made for a job queueing system. Enter beanstalkd, a simple & fast work queue. We paired beanstalkd with Stalker, a DSL that makes it easy to queue and process jobs from Ruby. Integrating these two was a cinch. Here’s what the restructured code looks like now:

def main_job
  for retrieve_giant_dataset().each do |item|
    Stalker.enqueue(JOB_NAME, :id => item.id)
  end

  beaneater = Beaneater::Pool.new(['localhost:11300'])
  tube = beaneater.tubes.find TUBE_NAME
  while tube.peek(:ready)
    sleep(5)
  end

  summarize_results(retrieve_all_results()) 
end

So instead of processing each item during the loop, now we just add each to the beanstalkd queue. Once we finish queueing all of the items, we wait until all of our entries have been processed by the worker processes. The workers are initiated via a jobs.rb file that looks something like this:

include Stalker
  
job JOB_NAME do |args|
  item = ItemClass.find(args['id'])
  Worker::long_process(item) 
end

We then start beanstalkd and a few worker processes and we’re off to the races. Now our job runs in parallel via multiple processes, and we can tune the number of worker processes we run to consume as much of the machine’s resources as we like. As a bonus, we can also run Stalker workers on other machines in our cluster for added parallelism. With just a few minor tweaks to our code, we’ve gone from single-threaded to a solution that is limited only by the capacity of the shared database used. Sweet!

What about the MapReduce reference in the title of this post? The MapReduce algorithm basically has two steps. In the Map step, you divide the work and assign it to worker nodes. The Reduce step simply combines the results of each individual node’s computation into an aggregate result. In our solution here, the Map step is done by us enqueuing our jobs into beanstalkd and then beanstalkd making the jobs available for consumption by our nodes. Our database serves to communicate the details of the jobs, and stands in for a shared filesystem like the HDFS used by Hadoop. I didn’t go into detail about this step, but our Reduce is also assisted by database aggregates; we’re able to construct a few simple queries that get us what we want from the database.

So there it is, distributed MapReduce for Ruby using beanstalkd, Stalker, and a healthy database. This is probably not the best solution if you need to scale to thousands or tens of thousands of workers. But if you just need to get tens of workers running in parallel quickly, you may be able to adapt this approach to fit your needs.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Damon Young

Damon Young is Director of Sales at ProjectLocker.com. ProjectLocker was founded in 2003 to provide on-demand tools for software developers. Guided by the simple mission of helping companies build better software, ProjectLocker's services have expanded to include services for the complete lifecycle of software projects, from requirements documentation to build and test automation. ProjectLocker serves companies from startups to Fortune 1000 multinationals.

@BigDataExpo Stories
Machine-to-machine (M2M) technology and the resulting Internet of Things are leading us inexorably toward everything-as-a-service (XaaS). As more things get connected, the range of service opportunities expands. And as those services are presented online, they become available for use, re-use and re-purposing. At first thought, the idea of more connected devices suggests simply that there will be more devices around, and as such, more products for manufacturers to make and sell. That’s true, bu...
General Electric (GE) has been a household name for more than a century, thanks in large part to its role in making households easier to run. Starting with the light bulb invented by its founder, Thomas Edison, GE has been selling devices (“things”) to consumers throughout its 122-year history. Last week, GE announced that it is officially leaving that job to others. While the lighting division will stay, GE will now turn its attention to selling industrial machinery and analytics as a service t...
How do you know when a technology has become mainstream? A good clue may be when politicians start talking about it on the campaign trail and with mainstream media. David Cameron, the UK prime minister, was the latest, indicating that the world was now on “fast-forward” with the Internet of Things (IoT) ushering in the new industrial revolution. No mention of IoT targeted at the masses would be complete without the clichéd example of the communicating fridge. While it is easy to get caught up in...
Samsung VP Jacopo Lenzi, who headed the company's recent SmartThings acquisition under the auspices of Samsung's Open Innovaction Center (OIC), answered a few questions we had about the deal. This interview was in conjunction with our interview with SmartThings CEO Alex Hawkinson. IoT Journal: SmartThings was developed in an open, standards-agnostic platform, and will now be part of Samsung's Open Innovation Center. Can you elaborate on your commitment to keep the platform open? Jacopo Lenzi: S...
Samsung promises to be one of the 800-pound gorillas of the IoT, if its success in recent years with Android devices and other consumer electronics is any guide. Showing its willingness to be a big IoT player, the company recently acquired SmartThings, a recent startup that's developed an open smarthome appliation that currently supports 1,000 devices and 8,000 apps. SmartThings will now work under the auspices of Samsung's Open Innovation Center (OIC). SmartThings Founder and CEO Alex Hawkinson...
Almost everyone sees the potential of Internet of Things but how can businesses truly unlock that potential. The key will be in the ability to discover business insight in the midst of an ocean of Big Data generated from billions of embedded devices via Systems of Discover. Businesses will also need to ensure that they can sustain that insight by leveraging the cloud for global reach, scale and elasticity.
SAP is delivering break-through innovation combined with fantastic user experience powered by the market-leading in-memory technology, SAP HANA. In his General Session at 15th Cloud Expo, Thorsten Leiduck, VP ISVs & Digital Commerce, SAP, will discuss how SAP and partners provide cloud and hybrid cloud solutions as well as real-time Big Data offerings that help companies of all sizes and industries run better. SAP launched an application challenge to award the most innovative SAP HANA and SAP ...
In her General Session at 15th Cloud Expo, Anne Plese, Senior Consultant, Cloud Product Marketing, at Verizon Enterprise, will focus on finding the right mix of renting vs. buying Oracle capacity to scale to meet business demands, and offer validated Oracle database TCO models for Oracle development and testing environments. Anne Plese is a marketing and technology enthusiast/realist with over 19+ years in high tech. At Verizon Enterprise, she focuses on driving growth for the Verizon Cloud pla...
The Internet of Things (IoT) is going to require a new way of thinking and of developing software for speed, security and innovation. This requires IT leaders to balance business as usual while anticipating for the next market and technology trends. Cloud provides the right IT asset portfolio to help today’s IT leaders manage the old and prepare for the new. Today the cloud conversation is evolving from private and public to hybrid. This session will provide use cases and insights to reinforce t...
As Platform as a Service (PaaS) matures as a category, developers should have the ability to use the programming language of their choice to build applications and have access to a wide array of services. Bluemix is IBM's open cloud development platform that enables users to easily build cloud-based, creative mobile and web applications without having to spend large amounts of time and resources on configuring infrastructure and multiple software licenses. In this track, you will learn about the...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Verizon has been named "Gold Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Verizon Enterprise Solutions creates global connections that generate growth, drive business innovation and move society forward. With industry-specific solutions and a full range of global wholesale offerings provided over the company's secure mobility, cloud, strategic network...
SimpleECM is the only platform to offer a powerful combination of enterprise content management (ECM) services, capture solutions, and third-party business services providing simplified integrations and workflow development for solution providers. SimpleECM is opening the market to businesses of all sizes by reinventing the delivery of ECM services. Our APIs make the development of ECM services simple with the use of familiar technologies for a frictionless integration directly into web applicat...
The only place to be June 9-11 is Cloud Expo & @ThingsExpo 2015 East at the Javits Center in New York City. Join us there as delegates from all over the world come to listen to and engage with speakers & sponsors from the leading Cloud Computing, IoT & Big Data companies. Cloud Expo & @ThingsExpo are the leading events covering the booming market of Cloud Computing, IoT & Big Data for the enterprise. Speakers from all over the world will be hand-picked for their ability to explore the economic...
Cloudwick, the leading big data DevOps service and solution provider to the Fortune 1000, announced Big Loop, its multi-vendor operations platform. Cloudwick Big Loop creates greater collaboration between Fortune 1000 IT staff, developers and their database management systems as well as big data vendors. This allows customers to comprehensively manage and oversee their entire infrastructure, which leads to more successful production cluster operations, and scale-out. Cloudwick Big Loop supports ...
Software AG helps organizations transform into Digital Enterprises, so they can differentiate from competitors and better engage customers, partners and employees. Using the Software AG Suite, companies can close the gap between business and IT to create digital systems of differentiation that drive front-line agility. We offer four on-ramps to the Digital Enterprise: alignment through collaborative process analysis; transformation through portfolio management; agility through process automation...
Headquartered in Santa Monica, California, Bitium was founded by Kriz and Erik Gustavson. The 1,500 cloud-based application using Bitium’s analytics, app management, and single sign-on services include bug trackers, customer service dashboards, Google Apps, and social networks. The firm states website administrators can do multiple tasks online without revealing passwords. Bitium’s advisors include Microsoft’s former CMO and the former senior vice president of strategy, the founder and CEO of Li...
Things are being built upon cloud foundations to transform organizations. This CEO Power Panel at 15th Cloud Expo, moderated by Roger Strukhoff, Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo conference chair, will address the big issues involving these technologies and, more important, the results they will achieve. How important are public, private, and hybrid cloud to the enterprise? How does one define Big Data? And how is the IoT tying all this together?
The 3rd International Internet of @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that its Call for Papers is now open. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the biggest idea since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago.
The Industrial Internet revolution is now underway, enabled by connected machines and billions of devices that communicate and collaborate. The massive amounts of Big Data requiring real-time analysis is flooding legacy IT systems and giving way to cloud environments that can handle the unpredictable workloads. Yet many barriers remain until we can fully realize the opportunities and benefits from the convergence of machines and devices with Big Data and the cloud, including interoperability, da...
All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devices - computers, smartphones, tablets, and sensors - connected to the Internet by 2020. This number will continue to grow at a rapid pace for the next several decades. Over the summer Gartner released its much anticipated annual Hype Cycle report and the big news is that Internet of Things has now replaced Big Data as the most hyped technology. Indeed, we're hearing more and more about this fascinating new technological paradigm. ...