Welcome!

@BigDataExpo Authors: Liz McMillan, Yeshim Deniz, Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, Kong Yang

Related Topics: @BigDataExpo

@BigDataExpo: Blog Feed Post

EMC's Greenplum Unit Helps with Large Publicly Accessible Hadoop Cluster

Need to test your Hadoop app on a thousand nodes? Here’s how.

It isn’t often that you can get access to a thousand-node network to test your latest app, but thanks to the efforts of EMC’s Greenplum unit and some additional computing vendors, you can, and more amazingly, it is free of charge too.

The network was announced last fall at Strata and connects 1,000 specialized servers from Supermicro running dual Intel Xeon processors with 48 GB of RAM apiece along with Mellanox 10 GB Ethernet adapters and switches, and a total of 12,000 Seagate 2 TB drives. It is all contained within Greenplum’s Las Vegas data center, with the goal of having the largest publicly accessible Hadoop cluster around. While Yahoo and eBay and others have some fairly large Hadoop clusters, they generally don’t let anyone else come in and try out their apps. The cluster goes under the name of Analytics Workbench. On this page, you can click on the “learn more” button and submit your name if you are interested in using the cluster.

The goal, according to Greenplum staffers, is to have a community and collaborative big data platform that can be applied to a set of analytical problems that have wide appeal. When the Strata announcement was made last fall, Greenplum stated that they wanted to eventually publish any results from the cluster, but they haven’t yet. Intel was one of the first clients to use the workbench (and running a thousand-node job too), but they are still reviewing their results.

Other clients that are running tests on the cluster include Mellanox and VMware, who both donated gear to power it, and a research team from the University of Central Florida. A group from NASA Goddard is using it to perform an analysis of historical weather patterns. The cluster formally opened up in July, and yes, it is really is free of charge. Applicants need to be vetted and work closely with the Greenplum engineers to get their apps uploaded and configured to the cluster.

“We accept bids based on any submitted application and developers can request specific time and resources,” says William Davis, one of the Greenplum product marketers involved with the cluster’s creation. Applications are reviewed by an internal group of Hadoop experts called the Jedi Council, and they try to select who will have the best fit for the next test run on the cluster.

Greenplum intends to use the cluster in a variety of ways besides public testing. Sometime next quarter they will launch a training program for Hadoop. A unique aspect of the program is that each member of the course will be granted access to the cluster to use as a sandbox environment for their own project. They are still working out the details on how this will work. The company has other fee-based programs to leverage its experience with this cluster, including what it calls its Analytics Lab packages. This uses their team of data scientists on specific vertical markets or particular custom applications.

There are several other tools that are offered on the cluster in addition to Hadoop including MapReduce, the parallel job processing software; VMware’s Rubicon system management team; and standard Hadoop add-ons such as Hive, Pig, and Mahout.

Greenplum isn’t the first to have such a large test bed assembled, but probably the first to use this level of gear for Hadoop and other data science activities. In the late 1980s, a group of Novell engineers in Utah created the “SuperLab” which eventually grew to 1,700 PCs connected together. The lab was used to prove the features and scalability of Novell’s Netware network operating system, a piece of software that at one time could be found in most enterprises but now is largely a historical curiosity. Just to give you some perspective, in 1999 the PCs in Novell’s lab had a whopping 256 MB of RAM and 8 GB of storage (try buying that on today’s PCs). How times have changed.

Anyway, the SuperLab team left Novell a few years later and built their own private test lab for a startup called Keylabs. I was one of their early customers, using the facility to publish some of the test results in cNet and other IT publications of the first Web server comparison tests.

The Keylabs engineers very quickly discovered that automating the sequencing and actions of the individual PCs was tedious, and they wrote software that eventually spawned Altiris. Part of the assets of this company was later purchased by Symantec and is still used for their desktop imaging and management tool line.

Speaking of scaling up to a thousand machines automatically, running tests on this scale can be tricky. Greenplum has already seen several hardware failures that take down particular nodes as they have begun using their cluster. And like Keylabs, understanding how to sequence all this gear to come online quickly can be vexing: imagine if each machine takes just ten minutes to boot up and launch an app: times ten or twenty nodes that isn’t much of a big deal, but when you are trying to bring up hundreds it could tie up the cluster for the better part of a week in just starting up the tests. “It is a bit of a challenge in educating our customers on how to use and manage something of this size and how to deploy their software across the entire cluster. You can’t deploy software serially, and we have to make sure that our customers understand these issues,” says Davis.

So get your application in now for testing your app. You could be making computing history.

More Stories By David Strom

David Strom is an international authority on network and Internet technologies. He has written extensively on the topic for 20 years for a wide variety of print publications and websites, such as The New York Times, TechTarget.com, PC Week/eWeek, Internet.com, Network World, Infoworld, Computerworld, Small Business Computing, Communications Week, Windows Sources, c|net and news.com, Web Review, Tom's Hardware, EETimes, and many others.

Comments (0)

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.


@BigDataExpo Stories
SYS-CON Events announced today that IBM has been named “Diamond Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st Cloud Expo, which will take place on October 31 through November 2nd 2017 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, California.
We build IoT infrastructure products - when you have to integrate different devices, different systems and cloud you have to build an application to do that but we eliminate the need to build an application. Our products can integrate any device, any system, any cloud regardless of protocol," explained Peter Jung, Chief Product Officer at Pulzze Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA
SYS-CON Events announced today that SourceForge has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. SourceForge is the largest, most trusted destination for Open Source Software development, collaboration, discovery and download on the web serving over 32 million viewers, 150 million downloads and over 460,000 active development projects each and every month.
Cloud applications are seeing a deluge of requests to support the exploding advanced analytics market. “Open analytics” is the emerging strategy to deliver that data through an open data access layer, in the cloud, to be directly consumed by external analytics tools and popular programming languages. An increasing number of data engineers and data scientists use a variety of platforms and advanced analytics languages such as SAS, R, Python and Java, as well as frameworks such as Hadoop and Spark...
You know you need the cloud, but you’re hesitant to simply dump everything at Amazon since you know that not all workloads are suitable for cloud. You know that you want the kind of ease of use and scalability that you get with public cloud, but your applications are architected in a way that makes the public cloud a non-starter. You’re looking at private cloud solutions based on hyperconverged infrastructure, but you’re concerned with the limits inherent in those technologies.
SYS-CON Events announced today that TMC has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo and Big Data at Cloud Expo, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Global buyers rely on TMC’s content-driven marketplaces to make purchase decisions and navigate markets. Learn how we can help you reach your marketing goals.
Both SaaS vendors and SaaS buyers are going “all-in” to hyperscale IaaS platforms such as AWS, which is disrupting the SaaS value proposition. Why should the enterprise SaaS consumer pay for the SaaS service if their data is resident in adjacent AWS S3 buckets? If both SaaS sellers and buyers are using the same cloud tools, automation and pay-per-transaction model offered by IaaS platforms, then why not host the “shrink-wrapped” software in the customers’ cloud? Further, serverless computing, cl...
You know you need the cloud, but you’re hesitant to simply dump everything at Amazon since you know that not all workloads are suitable for cloud. You know that you want the kind of ease of use and scalability that you get with public cloud, but your applications are architected in a way that makes the public cloud a non-starter. You’re looking at private cloud solutions based on hyperconverged infrastructure, but you’re concerned with the limits inherent in those technologies.
"MobiDev is a Ukraine-based software development company. We do mobile development, and we're specialists in that. But we do full stack software development for entrepreneurs, for emerging companies, and for enterprise ventures," explained Alan Winters, U.S. Head of Business Development at MobiDev, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing Cloud strategies, now is the perfect time to attend 21st Cloud Expo October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center, CA, and June 12-14, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is on the right path to Digital Transformation.
IoT solutions exploit operational data generated by Internet-connected smart “things” for the purpose of gaining operational insight and producing “better outcomes” (for example, create new business models, eliminate unscheduled maintenance, etc.). The explosive proliferation of IoT solutions will result in an exponential growth in the volume of IoT data, precipitating significant Information Governance issues: who owns the IoT data, what are the rights/duties of IoT solutions adopters towards t...
"We focus on composable infrastructure. Composable infrastructure has been named by companies like Gartner as the evolution of the IT infrastructure where everything is now driven by software," explained Bruno Andrade, CEO and Founder of HTBase, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
With the introduction of IoT and Smart Living in every aspect of our lives, one question has become relevant: What are the security implications? To answer this, first we have to look and explore the security models of the technologies that IoT is founded upon. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Nevi Kaja, a Research Engineer at Ford Motor Company, discussed some of the security challenges of the IoT infrastructure and related how these aspects impact Smart Living. The material was delivered interac...
Cloud applications are seeing a deluge of requests to support the exploding advanced analytics market. “Open analytics” is the emerging strategy to deliver that data through an open data access layer, in the cloud, to be directly consumed by external analytics tools and popular programming languages. An increasing number of data engineers and data scientists use a variety of platforms and advanced analytics languages such as SAS, R, Python and Java, as well as frameworks such as Hadoop and Spark...
No hype cycles or predictions of zillions of things here. IoT is big. You get it. You know your business and have great ideas for a business transformation strategy. What comes next? Time to make it happen. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jay Mason, Associate Partner at M&S Consulting, presented a step-by-step plan to develop your technology implementation strategy. He discussed the evaluation of communication standards and IoT messaging protocols, data analytics considerations, edge-to-cloud tec...
When growing capacity and power in the data center, the architectural trade-offs between server scale-up vs. scale-out continue to be debated. Both approaches are valid: scale-out adds multiple, smaller servers running in a distributed computing model, while scale-up adds fewer, more powerful servers that are capable of running larger workloads. It’s worth noting that there are additional, unique advantages that scale-up architectures offer. One big advantage is large memory and compute capacity...
New competitors, disruptive technologies, and growing expectations are pushing every business to both adopt and deliver new digital services. This ‘Digital Transformation’ demands rapid delivery and continuous iteration of new competitive services via multiple channels, which in turn demands new service delivery techniques – including DevOps. In this power panel at @DevOpsSummit 20th Cloud Expo, moderated by DevOps Conference Co-Chair Andi Mann, panelists examined how DevOps helps to meet the de...
The taxi industry never saw Uber coming. Startups are a threat to incumbents like never before, and a major enabler for startups is that they are instantly “cloud ready.” If innovation moves at the pace of IT, then your company is in trouble. Why? Because your data center will not keep up with frenetic pace AWS, Microsoft and Google are rolling out new capabilities. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Don Browning, VP of Cloud Architecture at Turner, posited that disruption is inevitable for comp...
"When we talk about cloud without compromise what we're talking about is that when people think about 'I need the flexibility of the cloud' - it's the ability to create applications and run them in a cloud environment that's far more flexible,” explained Matthew Finnie, CTO of Interoute, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Datanami has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Datanami is a communication channel dedicated to providing insight, analysis and up-to-the-minute information about emerging trends and solutions in Big Data. The publication sheds light on all cutting-edge technologies including networking, storage and applications, and thei...