Welcome!

Big Data Journal Authors: Trevor Parsons, Lori MacVittie, Cynthia Dunlop, Elizabeth White, Bob Gourley

Blog Feed Post

Why Contextual Data Locality Matters

Big Data is quickly overtaking SDN as a key phrase in today’s networking lingo. And overused already as it may be, it actually has a lot more meaning and definition compared to SDN. Big Data solutions are designed to work on lots of data as the name suggests. Of course they have been around forever, talk to any large bank, credit card company, airline or logistics company and all of them have had applications running on extremely large databases and data sets forever. But this is the new Big Data, the one inspired by Hadoop, MapReduce and friends. High performance compute clusters specifically created to analyze large amounts of data and reduce it to a form and quantity that human brains can use in decision making.

What makes today’s Big Data solutions different than its more traditional large database based applications, beyond the sheer datasets being analyzed, is the distributed nature of the analysis. Big Data solutions are designed to run across 100s or even 1000s of servers, each with multiple CPU cores to chew on the data. Traditional large database applications tend to be more localized with fewer applications and servers accessing the data, allowing for more tightly custom integrated solutions, the likes of which Oracle and friends are experts at.

Big Data Flashback

In the late 80s I started my career working as a network engineer for a high energy physics research institute. Working closely with the folks at CERN in Geneva, these physicists were (at the time, and probably still) masters of creating very large datasets. Every time an experiment was run, Tbytes of data (probably Pbytes by now) were generated by thousands of sensors along the tunnel or ring particles were passed through to collide.

The Big Data solution at the time was primitive, but not all that much different than today. The large datasets were manually broken into manageable pieces, something that would fit on a tape or disk. These datasets were then hand copied onto a compute server or super computer and the analysis application would churn through it to find specific data, correlate events and simply reduce the data to something smaller and meaningful. This would then create a new dataset, which would be combined, chopped up again, and the process repeated itself until they arrived at data that was consumable for humans to create new theories from, or provide a piece of proof of an existing theory.

During that first job, the IT group spend an enormous amount of time moving data around. A lot of it manual: tapes and disks were constantly being copied onto the appropriate compute server. The data had to be local to have any chance of analyzing the data. Between tapes, local disks and the network, the local disks were the only storage with appropriate speed to have a hope of finalizing the data reductions. And even then it would not be unusual to have a rather powerful (for the time) Apollo workstation run for several weeks on a single data set.

Back to the here and now

Forward the clock to now. The above description is really not that different from how Hadoop MapReduce works. Start with a big data set, chop it into pieces, replicate the data, compute on the data close to physical locality of the data. Then send results to Reducers, combine the results, then perhaps repeat again to get to human interpretable results.

As fast as we believe the network is within 10GbE access ports, it is still commonly the most restrictive component in the compute, distributed storage and network trio. Compute power increments have far outpaced network speed increments and even memory speed increments. We have many more cycles available to compute, but have not been able to get the data into these CPUs with the same increments. As a result, storage solutions are becoming increasingly distributed, closer to the compute power that needs it.

It’s a natural thought to have the data close to where it needs to be processed, close enough that the effort of retrieving it does not impact the overall completion of the task that uses that data. If I am writing a research paper that takes several hours to complete, I do not mind having to wait a second here or there for the right web sites to load. I would mind if I had to get into my car and drive to the library to look something up, drive back home to work on my paper, and keep doing that. The relationship between time and effort to get data has to become negligible compared to the time and effort required to complete the task.

Locality and growth

This type of contextual locality is extremely hard to manage in a dynamic and growing environment. How do you make sure that the right data remains contextually close to where it is needed when servers and VMs may not be physically close? They may not be in the same rack for the same application or customer, they may not even be in the same pod or datacenter. Storage is relatively cheap, but replication for closeness can very quickly lead to a data distribution complexity that is unmanageable in environments where its not a single orchestrated big data solution.

To solve this problem you need help from your network. You need to be able to create locality on the fly. Things that are not physically close need to be made virtually close, but with the characteristics of physical locality. And in network terms these are of course measured in the usual staples of latency and bandwidth. This is when you want to articulate relationships between the data and the applications that need that data and create virtual closeness that resembles the physical. This may mean dedicated paths through multiple switches to avoid congestion that will dramatically impact latency. These same paths can provide direct physical connectivity through dynamically engineered optical paths between application and storage, or simply appropriate prioritization of traffic along these paths. Without having to worry explicitly where the application is or where the storage is.

Physics will always stand in the way of what we really want or need, but that does not mean we use that same physics with a bit of math to create solutions that manage the complexity of creating dynamic locality. Locality is important. More pronounced in Big Data solutions, but even at a smaller scale it is important within the context of the compute effort on that data.

[Today's fun fact: Lake Superior is the world's largest lake. With that kind of naming accuracy we would like to hire the person that named the lake as our VP of Naming and Terminology]

The post Why Contextual Data Locality Matters appeared first on Plexxi.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Michael Bushong

The best marketing efforts leverage deep technology understanding with a highly-approachable means of communicating. Plexxi's Vice President of Marketing Michael Bushong has acquired these skills having spent 12 years at Juniper Networks where he led product management, product strategy and product marketing organizations for Juniper's flagship operating system, Junos. Michael spent the last several years at Juniper leading their SDN efforts across both service provider and enterprise markets. Prior to Juniper, Michael spent time at database supplier Sybase, and ASIC design tool companies Synopsis and Magma Design Automation. Michael's undergraduate work at the University of California Berkeley in advanced fluid mechanics and heat transfer lend new meaning to the marketing phrase "This isn't rocket science."

@BigDataExpo Stories
Dyn solutions are at the core of Internet Performance. Through traffic management, message management and performance assurance, Dyn is connecting people through the Internet and ensuring information gets where it needs to go, faster and more reliably than ever before. Founded in 2001 at WPI, Dyn’s global presence services more than four million enterprise, small business and personal customers.
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...
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...
The Internet of Things will greatly expand the opportunities for data collection and new business models driven off of that data. In her session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Esmeralda Swartz, CMO of MetraTech, will discuss how for this to be effective you not only need to have infrastructure and operational models capable of utilizing this new phenomenon, but increasingly service providers will need to convince a skeptical public to participate. Get ready to show them the money! Speaker Bio: ...
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 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...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cloudian, Inc., the leading provider of hybrid cloud storage solutions, has been named “Bronze 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. Cloudian is a Foster City, Calif.-based software company specializing in cloud storage. Cloudian HyperStore® is an S3-compatible cloud object storage platform that enables service providers and enterprises to bui...
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 ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that O'Reilly Media has been named “Media 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. O'Reilly Media spreads the knowledge of innovators through its books, online services, magazines, and conferences. Since 1978, O'Reilly Media has been a chronicler and catalyst of cutting-edge development, homing in on the technology trends that really matter and spurri...
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...
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...
What process has your provider undertaken to ensure that the cloud tenant will receive predictable performance and service? What was involved in the planning? Who owns and operates the data center? What technology is being used? How is it being supported? In his session at 14th Cloud Expo, Dave Weisbrot, Cloud Business Manager for QTS, will provide the attendees a look into what it takes to stand up and stand behind a highly available certified cloud IaaS.
I'll be hosting an SAP HANA Cloud webinar at 11am eastern time, Wednesday, October 29. You can sign up now. Featured speakers will be Allan Adler, Managing Partner, Channel Cloud Consulting, and Thorsten Leiduck, VP ISVs & Digital Commerce, SAP. Attendees will learn about • Cloud economics, hybrid cloud strategy, market size and opportunity • Introduction to SAP HANA Cloud Platform and how to: - Build new next-generation applications - Extend on-premise solutions non-disruptively throu...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Gigaom Research has been named "Media 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. Ashar Baig, Research Director, Cloud, at Gigaom Research, will also lead a Power Panel on the topic "Choosing the Right Cloud Option." Gigaom Research provides timely, in-depth analysis of emerging technologies for individual and corporate subscribers. Gigaom Research'...
Join both SAP and Channel Cloud Consulting for our webcast and uncover how you can extend your reach to capture a piece of the US$17 billion cloud application services market with SAP. Learn about SAPs market-leading SAP HANA Cloud Platform and an exciting opportunity to join SAPs growing ecosystem of Application Development partners. When: October 29, 11:00am EST Speakers: Allan Adler, Managing Partner, Channel Cloud Consulting Thorsten Leiduck, Vice President ISVs & Digital Commerce, SAP
Application Performance Management (APM) has been bred with all the right elements to give us the insights we need to see the health of our applications. Similar to your most trusted watch dog, it alerts us to anomalies when events occur, providing awareness to the environment that only they can observe. As enterprises embrace the DevOps philosophy, and the coalescence of the Development and Operations continues, I foresee the conditions ripening to foster innovative methods of making applicati...
SYS-CON Events announced today that IBM is holding a Bluemix Developer Playground on November 5, 10:30 am to 5:30 pm at 15th Cloud Expo. 15th Cloud Expo, co-located with @ThingsExpo, Big Data Expo, and DevOps Summit is taking place Nov. 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. The labs, for developers of all levels, will highlight the ease of use of Bluemix, its services and functionality and provide short-term introductory projects that developers can complete betw...
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...
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...
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...