|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!]
Smart Cities are here to stay, but for their promise to be delivered, the data they produce must not be put in new siloes. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mathias Herberts, Co-founder and CTO of Cityzen Data, discussed the best practices that will ensure a successful smart city journey.
Jan. 23, 2017 05:00 AM EST Reads: 2,141
Web Real-Time Communication APIs have quickly revolutionized what browsers are capable of. In addition to video and audio streams, we can now bi-directionally send arbitrary data over WebRTC's PeerConnection Data Channels. With the advent of Progressive Web Apps and new hardware APIs such as WebBluetooh and WebUSB, we can finally enable users to stitch together the Internet of Things directly from their browsers while communicating privately and securely in a decentralized way.
Jan. 23, 2017 03:00 AM EST Reads: 1,017
"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.
Jan. 23, 2017 02:30 AM EST Reads: 5,014
Data is an unusual currency; it is not restricted by the same transactional limitations as money or people. In fact, the more that you leverage your data across multiple business use cases, the more valuable it becomes to the organization. And the same can be said about the organization’s analytics. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Bill Schmarzo, CTO for the Big Data Practice at Dell EMC, introduced a methodology for capturing, enriching and sharing data (and analytics) across the organization...
Jan. 23, 2017 02:30 AM EST Reads: 3,372
Manufacturers are embracing the Industrial Internet the same way consumers are leveraging Fitbits – to improve overall health and wellness. Both can provide consistent measurement, visibility, and suggest performance improvements customized to help reach goals. Fitbit users can view real-time data and make adjustments to increase their activity. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mark Bernardo Professional Services Leader, Americas, at GE Digital, discussed how leveraging the Industrial Internet and...
Jan. 23, 2017 02:00 AM EST Reads: 6,648
Data is the fuel that drives the machine learning algorithmic engines and ultimately provides the business value. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Ed Featherston, director/senior enterprise architect at Collaborative Consulting, will discuss the key considerations around quality, volume, timeliness, and pedigree that must be dealt with in order to properly fuel that engine.
Jan. 23, 2017 01:45 AM EST Reads: 2,773
Why do your mobile transformations need to happen today? Mobile is the strategy that enterprise transformation centers on to drive customer engagement. In his general session at @ThingsExpo, Roger Woods, Director, Mobile Product & Strategy – Adobe Marketing Cloud, covered key IoT and mobile trends that are forcing mobile transformation, key components of a solid mobile strategy and explored how brands are effectively driving mobile change throughout the enterprise.
Jan. 23, 2017 12:00 AM EST Reads: 5,884
IoT is at the core or many Digital Transformation initiatives with the goal of re-inventing a company's business model. We all agree that collecting relevant IoT data will result in massive amounts of data needing to be stored. However, with the rapid development of IoT devices and ongoing business model transformation, we are not able to predict the volume and growth of IoT data. And with the lack of IoT history, traditional methods of IT and infrastructure planning based on the past do not app...
Jan. 22, 2017 11:00 PM EST Reads: 1,042
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...
Jan. 22, 2017 07:45 PM EST Reads: 3,874
"LinearHub provides smart video conferencing, which is the Roundee service, and we archive all the video conferences and we also provide the transcript," stated Sunghyuk Kim, CEO of LinearHub, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Jan. 22, 2017 03:15 PM EST Reads: 1,695
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place June 6-8, 2017 at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, 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. @ThingsExpo New York Call for Papers is now open.
Jan. 22, 2017 02:30 PM EST Reads: 3,767
"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...
Jan. 22, 2017 02:00 PM EST Reads: 5,836
The 20th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Containers, 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 opportunity. Submit your speaking proposal ...
Jan. 22, 2017 02:00 PM EST Reads: 5,303
WebRTC is the future of browser-to-browser communications, and continues to make inroads into the traditional, difficult, plug-in web communications world. The 6th WebRTC Summit continues our tradition of delivering the latest and greatest presentations within the world of WebRTC. Topics include voice calling, video chat, P2P file sharing, and use cases that have already leveraged the power and convenience of WebRTC.
Jan. 22, 2017 01:45 PM EST Reads: 3,238
20th Cloud Expo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, 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.
Jan. 22, 2017 01:00 PM EST Reads: 4,398
Discover top technologies and tools all under one roof at April 24–28, 2017, at the Westin San Diego in San Diego, CA. Explore the Mobile Dev + Test and IoT Dev + Test Expo and enjoy all of these unique opportunities: The latest solutions, technologies, and tools in mobile or IoT software development and testing. Meet one-on-one with representatives from some of today's most innovative organizations
Jan. 22, 2017 12:45 PM EST Reads: 1,698
DevOps is being widely accepted (if not fully adopted) as essential in enterprise IT. But as Enterprise DevOps gains maturity, expands scope, and increases velocity, the need for data-driven decisions across teams becomes more acute. DevOps teams in any modern business must wrangle the ‘digital exhaust’ from the delivery toolchain, "pervasive" and "cognitive" computing, APIs and services, mobile devices and applications, the Internet of Things, and now even blockchain. In this power panel at @...
Jan. 22, 2017 11:45 AM EST Reads: 2,979
Data is the fuel that drives the machine learning algorithmic engines and ultimately provides the business value. In his session at Cloud Expo, Ed Featherston, a director and senior enterprise architect at Collaborative Consulting, discussed the key considerations around quality, volume, timeliness, and pedigree that must be dealt with in order to properly fuel that engine.
Jan. 22, 2017 11:30 AM EST Reads: 3,759
"A lot of times people will come to us and have a very diverse set of requirements or very customized need and we'll help them to implement it in a fashion that you can't just buy off of the shelf," explained Nick Rose, CTO of Enzu, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Jan. 22, 2017 09:30 AM EST Reads: 4,782
The WebRTC Summit New York, to be held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, announces that its Call for Papers is now open. Topics include all aspects of improving IT delivery by eliminating waste through automated business models leveraging cloud technologies. WebRTC Summit is co-located with 20th International Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo. WebRTC is the future of browser-to-browser communications, and continues to make inroads into the traditional, difficult, plug-in web co...
Jan. 22, 2017 09:30 AM EST Reads: 3,040