Welcome!

SDN Journal Authors: Pat Romanski, Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, Mark Hoover, Stefan Bernbo

Related Topics: @BigDataExpo, Java IoT, Linux Containers, Agile Computing, @CloudExpo, SDN Journal

@BigDataExpo: Blog Feed Post

Scaling Big Data Fabrics

The size of the network might be the least interesting aspect of scaling Big Data fabrics

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!]

The post Scaling Big Data fabrics appeared first on Plexxi.

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."

@CloudExpo Stories
Due of the rise of Hadoop, many enterprises are now deploying their first small clusters of 10 to 20 servers. At this small scale, the complexity of operating the cluster looks and feels like general data center servers. It is not until the clusters scale, as they inevitably do, when the pain caused by the exponential complexity becomes apparent. We've seen this problem occur time and time again. In his session at Big Data Expo, Greg Bruno, Vice President of Engineering and co-founder of StackIQ...
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...
Security, data privacy, reliability, and regulatory compliance are critical factors when evaluating whether to move business applications from in-house, client-hosted environments to a cloud platform. Quality assurance plays a vital role in ensuring that the appropriate level of risk assessment, verification, and validation takes place to ensure business continuity during the migration to a new cloud platform.
"Tintri was started in 2008 with the express purpose of building a storage appliance that is ideal for virtualized environments. We support a lot of different hypervisor platforms from VMware to OpenStack to Hyper-V," explained Dan Florea, Director of Product Management at Tintri, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Containers have changed the mind of IT in DevOps. They enable developers to work with dev, test, stage and production environments identically. Containers provide the right abstraction for microservices and many cloud platforms have integrated them into deployment pipelines. DevOps and containers together help companies achieve their business goals faster and more effectively. In his session at DevOps Summit, Ruslan Synytsky, CEO and Co-founder of Jelastic, reviewed the current landscape of Dev...
One of the hottest areas in cloud right now is DRaaS and related offerings. In his session at 16th Cloud Expo, Dale Levesque, Disaster Recovery Product Manager with Windstream's Cloud and Data Center Marketing team, will discuss the benefits of the cloud model, which far outweigh the traditional approach, and how enterprises need to ensure that their needs are properly being met.
The security needs of IoT environments require a strong, proven approach to maintain security, trust and privacy in their ecosystem. Assurance and protection of device identity, secure data encryption and authentication are the key security challenges organizations are trying to address when integrating IoT devices. This holds true for IoT applications in a wide range of industries, for example, healthcare, consumer devices, and manufacturing. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Lancen LaChance, vic...
WebRTC has had a real tough three or four years, and so have those working with it. Only a few short years ago, the development world were excited about WebRTC and proclaiming how awesome it was. You might have played with the technology a couple of years ago, only to find the extra infrastructure requirements were painful to implement and poorly documented. This probably left a bitter taste in your mouth, especially when things went wrong.
In their general session at 16th Cloud Expo, Michael Piccininni, Global Account Manager - Cloud SP at EMC Corporation, and Mike Dietze, Regional Director at Windstream Hosted Solutions, reviewed next generation cloud services, including the Windstream-EMC Tier Storage solutions, and discussed how to increase efficiencies, improve service delivery and enhance corporate cloud solution development. Michael Piccininni is Global Account Manager – Cloud SP at EMC Corporation. He has been engaged in t...
You have great SaaS business app ideas. You want to turn your idea quickly into a functional and engaging proof of concept. You need to be able to modify it to meet customers' needs, and you need to deliver a complete and secure SaaS application. How could you achieve all the above and yet avoid unforeseen IT requirements that add unnecessary cost and complexity? You also want your app to be responsive in any device at any time. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Mark Allen, General Manager of...
WebRTC is bringing significant change to the communications landscape that will bridge the worlds of web and telephony, making the Internet the new standard for communications. Cloud9 took the road less traveled and used WebRTC to create a downloadable enterprise-grade communications platform that is changing the communication dynamic in the financial sector. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Leo Papadopoulos, CTO of Cloud9, discussed the importance of WebRTC and how it enables companies to focus o...
Big Data engines are powering a lot of service businesses right now. Data is collected from users from wearable technologies, web behaviors, purchase behavior as well as several arbitrary data points we’d never think of. The demand for faster and bigger engines to crunch and serve up the data to services is growing exponentially. You see a LOT of correlation between “Cloud” and “Big Data” but on Big Data and “Hybrid,” where hybrid hosting is the sanest approach to the Big Data Infrastructure pro...
In his General Session at DevOps Summit, Asaf Yigal, Co-Founder & VP of Product at Logz.io, will explore the value of Kibana 4 for log analysis and will give a real live, hands-on tutorial on how to set up Kibana 4 and get the most out of Apache log files. He will examine three use cases: IT operations, business intelligence, and security and compliance. This is a hands-on session that will require participants to bring their own laptops, and we will provide the rest.
"We're bringing out a new application monitoring system to the DevOps space. It manages large enterprise applications that are distributed throughout a node in many enterprises and we manage them as one collective," explained Kevin Barnes, President of eCube Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
In his General Session at 16th Cloud Expo, David Shacochis, host of The Hybrid IT Files podcast and Vice President at CenturyLink, investigated three key trends of the “gigabit economy" though the story of a Fortune 500 communications company in transformation. Narrating how multi-modal hybrid IT, service automation, and agile delivery all intersect, he will cover the role of storytelling and empathy in achieving strategic alignment between the enterprise and its information technology.
Buzzword alert: Microservices and IoT at a DevOps conference? What could possibly go wrong? In this Power Panel at DevOps Summit, moderated by Jason Bloomberg, the leading expert on architecting agility for the enterprise and president of Intellyx, panelists peeled away the buzz and discuss the important architectural principles behind implementing IoT solutions for the enterprise. As remote IoT devices and sensors become increasingly intelligent, they become part of our distributed cloud enviro...
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo 2016 in New York. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be! Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, is co-located with 20th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry p...
@DevOpsSummit at Cloud taking place June 6-8, 2017, at Javits Center, New York City, is co-located with the 20th International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait for long developm...
A look across the tech landscape at the disruptive technologies that are increasing in prominence and speculate as to which will be most impactful for communications – namely, AI and Cloud Computing. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Curtis Peterson, VP of Operations at RingCentral, will highlight the current challenges of these transformative technologies and share strategies for preparing your organization for these changes. This “view from the top” will outline the latest trends and developm...
"There's a growing demand from users for things to be faster. When you think about all the transactions or interactions users will have with your product and everything that is between those transactions and interactions - what drives us at Catchpoint Systems is the idea to measure that and to analyze it," explained Leo Vasiliou, Director of Web Performance Engineering at Catchpoint Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York Ci...