|By Michael Bushong||
|July 24, 2014 08:45 AM EDT||
When people talk about Big Data, the emphasis is usually on the Big. Certainly, Big Data applications are distributed largely because the size of the data on which computations are executed warrants more than a typical application can handle. But scaling the network that provides connectivity between Big Data nodes is not just about creating massive interconnects.
In fact, the size of the network might be the least interesting aspect of scaling Big Data fabrics.
Just how big is Big Data?
Not that long ago, I asked the question: how large is a typical Big Data deployment? I was expecting, as I suspect many people are, that the Big in the title meant that the deployments would be, in a word, big. But the average Big Data deployment is actually far smaller than most people realize. I grabbed a list from HadoopWizard in an article dating back to last year.
What is remarkable about this list is just how unremarkable the sizes of the deployments are. Sure, the list is dated, and deployments have certainly gotten larger. And yes, companies like Yahoo! are pushing scaling limits. But the average deployment if you take Yahoo! out is a mere 113 nodes. Even if every node is multi-homed to two switches, this means the average deployment could be handled by 4 access switches.
Even if every deployment quadrupled, you would still only be talking about 16-access-switch deployments. When our industry talks about scaling, we usually think well beyond 16 switches.
Is scaling an issue?
So if deployments are small, does that mean scaling is a solved issue? The answer is both yes and no. If the end game is building individual networks for each Big Data application, then yes. While the web scale companies will always need more, the vast majority of customers will be well-served by the scaling limits that are around today.
But the issue with Big Data is that it isn’t really just Big Data. When we talk about Big Data, we usually ought to be using a different moniker. For most people, Big Data is less about Hadoop and more about clustered applications (at least so far as the network is concerned). By expanding the definition to clustered applications, you move past Hadoop and into clustered compute and even clustered storage environments. Anything clustered has a dependency on some kind of interconnect.
The challenge in clustered environments
The challenge of all these types of clustered environments is that their requirements vary. For Hadoop, job completion times are dominated by the compute side of things, so the network is really about providing a congestion-free interconnect that is always available. For clustered compute, latency might be more important. And for multi-tenant environments, it might be most important to isolate traffic. Whatever the application, the point is that the requirements are highly contextual.
Which brings us back to scaling.
The real issue in scaling Big Data fabrics is less about making a small interconnect larger. Networks are not going to scale along the lines of single applications (or at least they shouldn’t). The actual scaling challenge is plotting a course from a single Big Data application to an environment that hosts multiple clustered applications, each with different requirements.
This might seem dead simple, but it isn’t. When people deploy Big Data applications today, the Big part leads people to purpose-build architecture with massive data workloads in mind. In many cases, this includes building out separate networks aimed at specific workloads.
But even in the best cases, Hadoop makes use of things like rack awareness, which help provide application resilience while minimizing traffic across the network. Regardless of whether you view this as for the application or for the network, the result is that proximity and locality are built into the infrastructure. This creates interesting considerations (and potentially limitations) when expanding. If you want to grow a cluster, you can’t just use any available server in the datacenter; there are servers that are more preferable than others based solely on their physical location.
Scalability is more than scaling
Making a scalable interconnect for these types of clustered applications is more than just supporting a large (or as I mentioned previously, not so large) number of nodes. The objective for scalability is to provide a graceful path from start to finish. This means architectures need to consider not just what the ending state is but also how to get from here to there.
With Hadoop, this means that things like locality have to be an explicit consideration in architecting the interconnect. Is the right answer a bunch of cross-connects zigzagging across the datacenter? Maybe. Or it might be a different architectural approach to providing interconnect between clustered servers.
Additionally, it isn’t just about one application. Architecting for bandwidth because you have a Hadoop-y application is great, but what if the next clustered application is latency-sensitive? Or if it brings with it a set of auditing and compliance requirements more typical of HIPAA-style applications?
If the architecture doesn’t explicitly consider how to expand beyond a single application, even if it can grow to thousands of switches, it won’t really matter.
The bottom line
The punch line here is that scaling is not only about growing larger. It also means potentially growing more diverse. And if there is one thing that the Hadoop deployment numbers tell me, it’s that people are still experimenting. If you are still experimenting, how can you predict with certainty what the next 5 or 10 years will mean in terms of applications for your business? You can’t. Which means that the most important architectural objective might go well beyond the number of switches in a deployment. Scalability could be about building flexibility into you datacenter. How do you get a bunch of different purpose-built capabilities into a single, general-purpose network? Answering that might be the real key to determining how to scale Big Data fabrics.
[Today’s fun fact: It is against the law to use the Star Spangled Banner as dance music in Massachusetts. There go my party plans!]
19th Cloud Expo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy. Meanwhile, 94% of enterpri...
Jun. 25, 2016 01:15 PM EDT Reads: 1,171
What does it look like when you have access to cloud infrastructure and platform under the same roof? Let’s talk about the different layers of Technology as a Service: who cares, what runs where, and how does it all fit together. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Phil Jackson, Lead Technology Evangelist at SoftLayer, an IBM company, spoke about the picture being painted by IBM Cloud and how the tools being crafted can help fill the gaps in your IT infrastructure.
Jun. 25, 2016 12:00 PM EDT Reads: 518
SYS-CON Events announced today that Bsquare has been named “Silver Sponsor” of SYS-CON's @ThingsExpo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. For more than two decades, Bsquare has helped its customers extract business value from a broad array of physical assets by making them intelligent, connecting them, and using the data they generate to optimize business processes.
Jun. 25, 2016 11:45 AM EDT Reads: 1,135
"SpeedyCloud's specialty lies in providing cloud services - we provide IaaS for Internet and enterprises companies," explained Hao Yu, CEO and co-founder of SpeedyCloud, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Jun. 25, 2016 11:15 AM EDT Reads: 697
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 19th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal and enterprise IT since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago. All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devices - comp...
Jun. 25, 2016 11:15 AM EDT Reads: 1,128
There is little doubt that Big Data solutions will have an increasing role in the Enterprise IT mainstream over time. Big Data at Cloud Expo - to be held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA - has announced its Call for Papers is open. Cloud computing is being adopted in one form or another by 94% of enterprises today. Tens of billions of new devices are being connected to The Internet of Things. And Big Data is driving this bus. An exponential increase is...
Jun. 25, 2016 11:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,241
Machine Learning helps make complex systems more efficient. By applying advanced Machine Learning techniques such as Cognitive Fingerprinting, wind project operators can utilize these tools to learn from collected data, detect regular patterns, and optimize their own operations. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Stuart Gillen, Director of Business Development at SparkCognition, discussed how research has demonstrated the value of Machine Learning in delivering next generation analytics to imp...
Jun. 25, 2016 11:00 AM EDT Reads: 402
The 19th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Digital Transformation, Microservices and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportuni...
Jun. 25, 2016 10:30 AM EDT Reads: 1,182
Creating replica copies to tolerate a certain number of failures is easy, but very expensive at cloud-scale. Conventional RAID has lower overhead, but it is limited in the number of failures it can tolerate. And the management is like herding cats (overseeing capacity, rebuilds, migrations, and degraded performance). Download Slide Deck: ▸ Here In his general session at 18th Cloud Expo, Scott Cleland, Senior Director of Product Marketing for the HGST Cloud Infrastructure Business Unit, discusse...
Jun. 25, 2016 10:30 AM EDT Reads: 779
Cloud computing is being adopted in one form or another by 94% of enterprises today. Tens of billions of new devices are being connected to The Internet of Things. And Big Data is driving this bus. An exponential increase is expected in the amount of information being processed, managed, analyzed, and acted upon by enterprise IT. This amazing is not part of some distant future - it is happening today. One report shows a 650% increase in enterprise data by 2020. Other estimates are even higher....
Jun. 25, 2016 10:15 AM EDT Reads: 1,193
The cloud market growth today is largely in public clouds. While there is a lot of spend in IT departments in virtualization, these aren’t yet translating into a true “cloud” experience within the enterprise. What is stopping the growth of the “private cloud” market? In his general session at 18th Cloud Expo, Nara Rajagopalan, CEO of Accelerite, explored the challenges in deploying, managing, and getting adoption for a private cloud within an enterprise. What are the key differences between wh...
Jun. 25, 2016 10:00 AM EDT Reads: 621
More and more companies are looking to microservices as an architectural pattern for breaking apart applications into more manageable pieces so that agile teams can deliver new features quicker and more effectively. What this pattern has done more than anything to date is spark organizational transformations, setting the foundation for future application development. In practice, however, there are a number of considerations to make that go beyond simply “build, ship, and run,” which changes ho...
Jun. 25, 2016 09:15 AM EDT Reads: 775
It is one thing to build single industrial IoT applications, but what will it take to build the Smart Cities and truly society changing applications of the future? The technology won’t be the problem, it will be the number of parties that need to work together and be aligned in their motivation to succeed. In his Day 2 Keynote at @ThingsExpo, Henrik Kenani Dahlgren, Portfolio Marketing Manager at Ericsson, discussed how to plan to cooperate, partner, and form lasting all-star teams to change t...
Jun. 25, 2016 07:45 AM EDT Reads: 999
Connected devices and the industrial internet are growing exponentially every year with Cisco expecting 50 billion devices to be in operation by 2020. In this period of growth, location-based insights are becoming invaluable to many businesses as they adopt new connected technologies. Knowing when and where these devices connect from is critical for a number of scenarios in supply chain management, disaster management, emergency response, M2M, location marketing and more. In his session at @Th...
Jun. 25, 2016 07:30 AM EDT Reads: 797
You are moving to the Cloud. The question is not if, it’s when. Now that your competitors are in the cloud and lapping you, your “when” better hurry up and get here. But saying and doing are two different things. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 18th Cloud Expo, Robert Reeves, CTO of Datical, explained how DevOps can be your onramp to the cloud. By adopting simple, platform independent DevOps strategies, you can accelerate your move to the cloud. Spoiler Alert: He also makes sure you don’t...
Jun. 25, 2016 07:30 AM EDT Reads: 826
Your business relies on your applications and your employees to stay in business. Whether you develop apps or manage business critical apps that help fuel your business, what happens when users experience sluggish performance? You and all technical teams across the organization – application, network, operations, among others, as well as, those outside the organization, like ISPs and third-party providers – are called in to solve the problem.
Jun. 25, 2016 07:15 AM EDT Reads: 514
The initial debate is over: Any enterprise with a serious commitment to IT is migrating to the cloud. But things are not so simple. There is a complex mix of on-premises, colocated, and public-cloud deployments. In this power panel at 18th Cloud Expo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, Randy De Meno, Chief Technologist - Windows Products and Microsoft Partnerships at Commvault; Dave Landa, Chief Operating Officer at kintone; William Morrish, General Manager Product Sales at Interou...
Jun. 25, 2016 06:00 AM EDT Reads: 689
SaaS companies can greatly expand revenue potential by pushing beyond their own borders. The challenge is how to do this without degrading service quality. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Adam Rogers, Managing Director at Anexia, discussed how IaaS providers with a global presence and both virtual and dedicated infrastructure can help companies expand their service footprint with low “go-to-market” costs.
Jun. 25, 2016 12:00 AM EDT Reads: 671
SYS-CON Events announced today that ReadyTalk, a leading provider of online conferencing and webinar services, has been named Vendor Presentation Sponsor at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. ReadyTalk delivers audio and web conferencing services that inspire collaboration and enable the Future of Work for today’s increasingly digital and mobile workforce. By combining intuitive, innovative tec...
Jun. 24, 2016 01:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,316
Amazon has gradually rolled out parts of its IoT offerings, but these are just the tip of the iceberg. In addition to optimizing their backend AWS offerings, Amazon is laying the ground work to be a major force in IoT - especially in the connected home and office. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Kocher, founder and managing director of Grey Heron, explained how Amazon is extending its reach to become a major force in IoT by building on its dominant cloud IoT platform, its Dash Button strat...
Jun. 24, 2016 12:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,561