|By Jason Bloomberg||
|February 2, 2013 10:00 AM EST||
The problem with Big Data is that, well, Big Data are big. Really big. We’re talking terabytes. Petabytes. Zettabytes. Whatever’s-even-bigger-bytes. And of course, we want to solve all our Big Data challenges in the Cloud. If only we could get those gigando-bytes into the Cloud in the first place. And there’s the rub.
Uploading Big Data from our internal network to the Cloud via an Internet connection is as practical as filling a swimming pool through a drinking straw. It doesn’t matter how sophisticated our Big Data analytics, how super-duper our Hadoopers. If we can’t efficiently get our data where we need them when we need them, we’re stuck.
Optimize the Pipe
Fortunately, the Big Data upload problem isn’t new. In fact, it’s been around for years, under the moniker Wide Area Network (WAN) Optimization. Fortunate for us because vendors have been working on WAN Optimization techniques for a while now, and now several of them are repurposing those techniques to help with the Cloud.
For example, Aryaka has been peddling WAN Optimization appliances for several years. Put one appliance in your local data center, a second in the remote data center, and proprietary technology moves data from one to the other at a rapid clip. Now that the Cloud has turned their world upside down, they are providing a distributed service at the remote end, a “mesh of network connections” better suited to the Cloud. In other words, Aryaka is building an offering similar to Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) like Akamai.
RainStor, in contrast, focuses primarily on a proprietary compression algorithm that promises to squeeze data into one fortieth their original size. Furthermore, RainStor’s compressed data remain directly accessible using standard SQL or even MapReduce on Hadoop with no storage-eating, time-consuming reinflation.
Then there’s Aspera, who’s found a sophisticated way around the limitations of the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) itself. After all, TCP’s tiny packets and penchant for resending them are a large part of the reason uploading Big Data over the Internet runs like such a dog in the first place. To teach this dog a new trick or two, Aspera transfers use one TCP port for session initialization and control, and one User Datagram Protocol (UDP) port for data transfer.
UDP is an older, fire-and-forget protocol that doesn’t perform the retries that provide TCP’s reliability, but by combining the two protocols, FASP achieves nearly 100% error-free data throughput. In fact, FASP reaches the maximum transfer speed possible given the hardware on which you deploy it, and maintains maximum available throughput independent of network delay and packet loss. FASP also aggregates hundreds of concurrent transfers on commodity hardware, addressing the drinking straw problem in part by supporting hundreds of straws at once.
CloudOpt is also a player worth mentioning. Their JetStream technology takes a soup-to-nuts approach that combines compression and transmission protocol optimization with advanced data deduplication, SSL acceleration, and an ingenious approach to getting the most performance out of cached data. Or Attunity Cloudbeam, that touts file to Cloud upload, file to Cloud replication, and Cloud to Cloud replication. Attunity’s Managed File Transfer (MFT) incorporates a secure DMZ architecture, security policy enforcement, guaranteed and accelerated transfers, process automation, and audit capabilities across each stage of the file transfer process.
Finally, there’s Amazon Web Services (AWS) itself. Yes, most if not all of the vendors discussed above can firehose data into AWS’s various storage services. But AWS also offers a simple, if decidedly low-tech approach as well: AWS Import/Export. Simply ship your big hard drives to Amazon. They’ll hook them up, copy the data to your Simple Storage Service (S3) or other storage service, and ship the drive back when you’re done. This SneakerNet or “Forklifting” approach, believe it or not, can even be faster than some of the over-the-Internet optimizations for certain Big Data sets, even considering the time it takes to FedEx AWS your drives.
On Beyond Drinking Straws
The problem with most of the approaches above (excepting only Aspera and Amazon’s forklift) is that they make the drinking straw we’re using to fill that swimming pool better, faster, and bigger – but we’re still filling that damn pool with a straw. So what’s better than a straw? How about many straws? If any optimization technique improves a single connection to the Internet, then it stands to reason that establishing many connections to your Cloud provider in parallel would multiply your upload speed dramatically.
Fair enough, but let’s think out of the box here. A fundamental Big Data best practice is to bring your analytics to your data. The reasoning is that it’s hard to move your data but easy to move your software, so once your data are in the Cloud, you should also run your analytics there.
But this argument also works in reverse. If your data aren’t in the Cloud, then it may not make sense to move them to the Cloud simply to run your software there. Instead, bring your software to your data, even if they’re on premise.
Perish the thought, you say! We’re sold on Big Data in the Cloud. We’ve crunched the numbers and we know it’s going to save us money, provide more capabilities, and facilitate sharing information across our organization and the world. Fair enough. Here’s another twist for you.
Why are your Big Data sets outside the Cloud to begin with? Sure, you’re stuck with existing, legacy data sets wherever they happen to be today. But as a rule, those don’t constitute Big Data, or will cease to qualify as being large enough to warrant the Big Data label relatively soon. By definition, Big Data sets keep expanding exponentially, which means that you keep creating them with generations of newfangled tools.
In fact, there are already multitudinous sources for raw Big Data, as varied as the Big Data challenges organizations struggle with today. But many such sources are already in the Cloud, or could be moved to the Cloud simply. For example, clickthrough data from your Web sites. Such data come from your Web servers, which should be in the Cloud anyway. If your Big Data come from Web Servers scattered here and there in the Cloud, then moving the clickthrough data to a Big Data repository for processing can be handled in the same Cloud. No need for uploading.
What about data sources that aren’t already in the Cloud? Many Big Data streams come from instrumentation or sensors of some sort, from seismographs underground to EKGs in hospitals to UPC scanners in supermarkets. There’s no reason why such instrumentation shouldn’t pour their raw data feeds directly to the Cloud. What good is storing a week’s worth of supermarket purchasing data on premise anyway? You’ll want to store, process, manage, and analyze those data in the Cloud, so the sooner you get it there, the better.
The ZapThink Take
The only reason we have to worry about uploading Big Data to the Cloud in the first place is because our Big Data aren’t already in the Cloud. And broadly speaking, the reason they’re not already in the Cloud is because the Cloud isn’t everywhere. Instead, we think of the Cloud as being locked away in data centers, those alien, air conditioned facilities packed full of racks of high tech equipment.
That may be true today, but as ZapThink has discussed before, there’s nothing in the definition of Cloud Computing that requires Cloud resources to live in data centers. You might have a bit of the Cloud in your pocket, or on your laptop, in your car, or in your refrigerator. For now, this vision of the Internet of Things meeting the Cloud is mostly the stuff of science fiction. We’re only now figuring out what it means to have a ubiquitous global network of sensors, from the aforementioned EKGs and UPC scanners to traffic cameras to home thermostats. But the writing is on the wall. Just as we now don’t think twice about carrying supercomputers in our pockets, it’s only a matter of time until the Cloud itself is fully distributed and ubiquitous. When that happens, the question of moving Big Data to the Cloud will be moot. They will already be there.
Are you one of the vendors mentioned in this article and have a correction, or a vendor who should have been mentioned but wasn’t? Please feel free to comment here.
Image Source: US Navy
SYS-CON Media announced today that @WebRTCSummit Blog, the largest WebRTC resource in the world, has been launched. @WebRTCSummit Blog offers top articles, news stories, and blog posts from the world's well-known experts and guarantees better exposure for its authors than any other publication. @WebRTCSummit Blog can be bookmarked ▸ Here @WebRTCSummit conference site can be bookmarked ▸ Here
Mar. 28, 2015 08:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,716
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cisco, the worldwide leader in IT that transforms how people connect, communicate and collaborate, has been named “Gold Sponsor” of 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. Cisco makes amazing things happen by connecting the unconnected. Cisco has shaped the future of the Internet by becoming the worldwide leader in transforming how people connect, communicate and collaborat...
Mar. 28, 2015 07:00 PM EDT Reads: 5,155
WSM International is launching a DevOps services division that offers assessment, consulting and implementation to large enterprises and organizations with complex infrastructures. This is the first independent services company to create a dedicated practice to help organizations looking to transition to the DevOps model. The concept of DevOps is to blend information technology (IT) software development with operations to optimize the computing infrastructure according to the specific needs of ...
Mar. 28, 2015 07:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,464
SYS-CON Events announced today that the DevOps Institute has been named “Association Sponsor” of SYS-CON's DevOps Summit, which will take place on June 9–11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. The DevOps Institute provides enterprise level training and certification. Working with thought leaders from the DevOps community, the IT Service Management field and the IT training market, the DevOps Institute is setting the standard in quality for DevOps education and training.
Mar. 28, 2015 06:30 PM EDT Reads: 939
SYS-CON Events announced today that robomq.io 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. robomq.io is an interoperable and composable platform that connects any device to any application. It helps systems integrators and the solution providers build new and innovative products and service for industries requiring monitoring or intelligence from devices and sensors.
Mar. 28, 2015 06:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,402
Temasys has announced senior management additions to its team. Joining are David Holloway as Vice President of Commercial and Nadine Yap as Vice President of Product. Over the past 12 months Temasys has doubled in size as it adds new customers and expands the development of its Skylink platform. Skylink leads the charge to move WebRTC, traditionally seen as a desktop, browser based technology, to become a ubiquitous web communications technology on web and mobile, as well as Internet of Things...
Mar. 28, 2015 06:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,770
Hosted PaaS providers have given independent developers and startups huge advantages in efficiency and reduced time-to-market over their more process-bound counterparts in enterprises. Software frameworks are now available that allow enterprise IT departments to provide these same advantages for developers in their own organization. In his workshop session at DevOps Summit, Troy Topnik, ActiveState’s Technical Product Manager, will show how on-prem or cloud-hosted Private PaaS can enable organ...
Mar. 28, 2015 05:45 PM EDT Reads: 1,046
Today, IT is not just a cost center. IT is an enabler and driver of business. With the emergence of the hybrid cloud paradigm, IT now has increasingly more capabilities to create new strategic opportunities for a business. Hybrid cloud allows an organization to utilize multi-tenant public clouds, dedicated private clouds, bare metal hosting, and the associated support and services for the right use cases through an on-demand, XaaS model. This model of IT creates tremendous opportunities for busi...
Mar. 28, 2015 05:00 PM EDT Reads: 3,027
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...
Mar. 28, 2015 04:15 PM EDT Reads: 2,398
Business as usual for IT is evolving into a “Make or Buy” decision on a service-by-service conversation with input from the LOBs. How does your organization move forward with cloud? In his general session at 16th Cloud Expo, Paul Maravei, Regional Sales Manager, Hybrid Cloud and Managed Services at Cisco, discusses how Cisco and its partners offer a market-leading portfolio and ecosystem of cloud infrastructure and application services that allow you to uniquely and securely combine cloud busi...
Mar. 28, 2015 04:15 PM EDT Reads: 1,260
SYS-CON Events announced today that Akana, formerly SOA Software, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo® New York, which will take place June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Akana’s comprehensive suite of API Management, API Security, Integrated SOA Governance, and Cloud Integration solutions helps businesses accelerate digital transformation by securely extending their reach across multiple channels – mobile, cloud and Internet of Thi...
Mar. 28, 2015 04:15 PM EDT Reads: 1,473
Businesses are looking to empower employees and departments to do more, go faster, and streamline their processes. For all workers – but mobile workers especially – utilizing the cloud to reconnect documents and improve processes without destructing existing workflows can have a dramatic impact on productivity. In his session at 16th Cloud Expo, Mark Grilli, vice president of Acrobat Solutions marketing at Adobe Systems Incorporated, will outline new ways that the cloud is changing the way peo...
Mar. 28, 2015 04:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,251
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 ...
Mar. 28, 2015 03:30 PM EDT Reads: 2,134
Are your applications getting in the way of your business strategy? It’s time to rethink your IT approach. In his session at 16th Cloud Expo, Madhukar Kumar, Vice President, Product Management at Liaison Technologies, will discuss a new data-centric approach to IT that allows your data, not applications, to inform business strategy. By moving away from an application-centric IT model where data integration and analysis are subservient to the constraints of applications, your organization will b...
Mar. 28, 2015 03:15 PM EDT Reads: 2,508
WSM International has launched a DevOps services division that offers assessment, consulting and implementation to large enterprises and organizations with complex infrastructures. The concept of DevOps is to blend information technology (IT) software development with operations to optimize the computing infrastructure according to the specific needs of the organization. According to a recent press release from Gartner, "By 2016, DevOps will evolve from a niche strategy employed by large cloud ...
Mar. 28, 2015 03:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,184
SYS-CON Events announced today that Solgenia 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, and the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Solgenia is the global market leader in Cloud Collaboration and Cloud Infrastructure software solutions. Designed to “Bridge the Gap” between Personal and Professional S...
Mar. 28, 2015 03:00 PM EDT Reads: 2,729
SYS-CON Events announced today that QTS Realty Trust, one of the nation’s largest and fastest-growing providers of data center facilities and cloud services and a leader in security and compliance, 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. QTS Realty Trust, Inc. (NYSE: QTS) is a leading national provider of data center solutions and fully managed services, and a leader in security and compliance...
Mar. 28, 2015 03:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,193
SYS-CON Events announced today that WSM International (WSM), the world’s leading cloud and server migration services provider, 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. WSM is a solutions integrator with a core focus on cloud and server migration, transformation and DevOps services.
Mar. 28, 2015 03:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,193
SYS-CON Events announced today that Liaison Technologies, a leading provider of data management and integration cloud services and solutions, has been named "Silver Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Liaison Technologies is a recognized market leader in providing cloud-enabled data integration and data management solutions to break down complex information barriers, enabling enterprises to make sm...
Mar. 28, 2015 03:00 PM EDT Reads: 3,403
What’s inside the cloud? Hard work. Cloud operators know the world inside the datacenter is gritty. Vendor marketing speak and cloudwashing quickly melt in the heat of SLAs, uptime guarantees, and users who want it now. In his session at DevOps Summit, Hernan Alvarez, Chief Product Officer at Blue Box Group, will deliver an unvarnished look inside the world of cloud operators, from the perspective of someone who lives it. Attendees get a front-row look into the toolkits and processes that enabl...
Mar. 28, 2015 03:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,511