Welcome!

Agile Computing Authors: Elizabeth White, Mark Ross-Smith, Yeshim Deniz, Carmen Gonzalez, Larry Alton

Related Topics: SYS-CON ITALIA, Containers Expo Blog

SYS-CON ITALIA: Article

Cloud Computing: Making Analytics in the Cloud a Reality

There will soon be a myriad of announcements of DBMS offerings in the cloud

There will soon be a myriad of announcements of DBMS offerings in the cloud. Many of these will NOT be marriages made in heaven. However, the most innovative new DBMS software combined with new cloud computing services are here today and truly take advantage of the cloud architecture in order to change the economics and the responsiveness of business analytics.

My belief is that cloud computing will change the economics of business intelligence (BI) and enable a variety of new analytic data management projects and business possibilities. It does so by making the hardware, networking, security, and software needed to create data marts and data warehouses available on demand with a pay-as-you-go approach to usage and licensing.

A computing cloud, such as the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud, is composed of thousands of commodity servers running multiple virtual machine instances (VMs) of the applications hosted in the cloud. As customer demand for those applications changes, new servers are added to the cloud or idled and new VMs are instantiated or terminated.

Cloud computing infrastructure differs dramatically from the infrastructure underlying most in-house data warehouses and data marts. There are no high-end servers with dozens of CPU cores, SANs, replicated systems, or proprietary data warehousing appliances available in the cloud. Therefore, a new DBMS software architecture is required to enable large volumes of data to be analyzed quickly and reliably on the cloud's commodity hardware. Recent DBMS innovations make this a reality today, and the best cloud DBMS architectures will include:

  1. Shared-nothing, massively parallel processing (MPP) architecture. In order to drive down the cost of creating a utility computing environment, the best cloud service providers use huge grids of identical (or similar) computing elements. Each node in the grid is typically a compute engine with its own attached storage. For a cloud database to successfully "scale out" in such an environment, it is essential that the database have a shared-nothing architecture utilizing the resources (CPU, memory, and disk) found in server nodes added to the cluster. Most databases popularly used in BI today have shared-everything or shared-storage architectures, which will limit their ability to scale in the cloud.

  2. Automatic high availability. Within a cloud-based analytic database cluster, node failures, node changes, and connection disruptions can occur. Given the vast number of processing elements within a cloud, these failures can be made transparent to the end user if the database has the proper built-in failover capabilities. The best cloud databases will replicate data automatically across the nodes in the cloud cluster, be able to continue running in the event of 1 or more node failures ("k-safety"), and be capable of restoring data on recovered nodes automatically -- without DBA assistance. Ideally, the replicated data will be made "active" in different sort orders for querying to increase performance.

  3. Ultra-high performance. One of the game-changing advantages of the cloud is the ability to get an analytic application up quickly (without waiting for hardware procurement). However, there can be some performance penalty due to Internet connectivity speeds and the virtualized cloud environment. If the analytic performance is disappointing, the advantage is lost. Fortunately, the latest shared-nothing columnar databases are designed specifically for analytic workloads, and they have demonstrated dramatic performance improvements over traditional, row-oriented databases (as verified by industry experts, such as Gartner and Forrester, and by customer benchmarks). This software performance improvement, coupled with the hardware economies of scale provided by the cloud environment, results in a new economic model and competitive advantage for cloud analytics.

  4. Aggressive compression. Since cloud costs are typically driven by charges for processor and disk storage utilization, aggressive data compression will result in very large cost savings. Row-oriented databases can achieve compression factors of about 30% to 50%; however, the addition of necessary indexes and materialized views often swells databases to 2 to 5 times the size of the source data. But since the data in a column tends to be more similar and repetitive than attributes within rows, column databases often achieve much higher levels of compression. They also don't require indexes. The result is normally a 4x to 20x reduction in the amount of storage needed by columnar databases and a commensurate reduction in storage costs.

  5. Standards-based connectivity. While there are a number of special-purpose file systems that have been developed for the cloud environment that can provide high performance, they lack the standard connectivity needed to support general-purpose business analytics. The broad base of analytic users will use existing commercial ETL and reporting software that depend on SQL, JDBC, ODBC, and other DBMS connectivity standards to load and query cloud databases. Therefore, it's imperative for cloud databases to support these connection standards to enable widespread use of analytic applications.
In summary, cloud databases with the architectural characteristics described above will be able to not just run in the cloud, but thrive there by:

  • "Scaling out," as the cloud itself does
  • Running fast without high-end or custom hardware
  • Providing high availability in a fluid computing environment
  • Minimizing data storage, transfer, and CPU utilization (to keep cloud computing fees low)

More Stories By Jerry Held

Jerry Held is Executive Chairman of Vertica and CEO of the Held Consulting Group, a firm that provides strategic consulting to CEOs and senior executives of technology firms ranging from startups to very large organizations and private equity firms. Prior to his current position, Held was a senior executive at both Oracle Corp. and Tandem Computers.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
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
SYS-CON Events announced today that Super Micro Computer, Inc., a global leader in Embedded and IoT solutions, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Supermicro (NASDAQ: SMCI), the leading innovator in high-performance, high-efficiency server technology, is a premier provider of advanced server Building Block Solutions® for Data Center, Cloud Computing, Enterprise IT, Hadoop/Big Data, HPC and E...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Linux Academy, the foremost online Linux and cloud training platform and community, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Linux Academy was founded on the belief that providing high-quality, in-depth training should be available at an affordable price. Industry leaders in quality training, provided services, and student certification passes, its goal is to c...
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.
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...
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.
WebRTC sits at the intersection between VoIP and the Web. As such, it poses some interesting challenges for those developing services on top of it, but also for those who need to test and monitor these services. In his session at WebRTC Summit, Tsahi Levent-Levi, co-founder of testRTC, reviewed the various challenges posed by WebRTC when it comes to testing and monitoring and on ways to overcome them.
"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.
Every successful software product evolves from an idea to an enterprise system. Notably, the same way is passed by the product owner's company. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Oleg Lola, CEO of MobiDev, will provide a generalized overview of the evolution of a software product, the product owner, the needs that arise at various stages of this process, and the value brought by a software development partner to the product owner as a response to these needs.
WebRTC services have already permeated corporate communications in the form of videoconferencing solutions. However, WebRTC has the potential of going beyond and catalyzing a new class of services providing more than calls with capabilities such as mass-scale real-time media broadcasting, enriched and augmented video, person-to-machine and machine-to-machine communications. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Luis Lopez, CEO of Kurento, introduced the technologies required for implementing these idea...
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...
The Internet of Things will challenge the status quo of how IT and development organizations operate. Or will it? Certainly the fog layer of IoT requires special insights about data ontology, security and transactional integrity. But the developmental challenges are the same: People, Process and Platform. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Craig Sproule, CEO of Metavine, demonstrated how to move beyond today's coding paradigm and shared the must-have mindsets for removing complexity from the develop...
While not quite mainstream yet, WebRTC is starting to gain ground with Carriers, Enterprises and Independent Software Vendors (ISV’s) alike. WebRTC makes it easy for developers to add audio and video communications into their applications by using Web browsers as their platform. But like any market, every customer engagement has unique requirements, as well as constraints. And of course, one size does not fit all. In her session at WebRTC Summit, Dr. Natasha Tamaskar, Vice President, Head of C...
Who are you? How do you introduce yourself? Do you use a name, or do you greet a friend by the last four digits of his social security number? Assuming you don’t, why are we content to associate our identity with 10 random digits assigned by our phone company? Identity is an issue that affects everyone, but as individuals we don’t spend a lot of time thinking about it. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Ben Klang, Founder & President of Mojo Lingo, discussed the impact of technology on identity. Sho...
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 @...
With all the incredible momentum behind the Internet of Things (IoT) industry, it is easy to forget that not a single CEO wakes up and wonders if “my IoT is broken.” What they wonder is if they are making the right decisions to do all they can to increase revenue, decrease costs, and improve customer experience – effectively the same challenges they have always had in growing their business. The exciting thing about the IoT industry is now these decisions can be better, faster, and smarter. Now ...
WebRTC is about the data channel as much as about video and audio conferencing. However, basically all commercial WebRTC applications have been built with a focus on audio and video. The handling of “data” has been limited to text chat and file download – all other data sharing seems to end with screensharing. What is holding back a more intensive use of peer-to-peer data? In her session at @ThingsExpo, Dr Silvia Pfeiffer, WebRTC Applications Team Lead at National ICT Australia, looked at differ...
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.
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.
A critical component of any IoT project is what to do with all the data being generated. This data needs to be captured, processed, structured, and stored in a way to facilitate different kinds of queries. Traditional data warehouse and analytical systems are mature technologies that can be used to handle certain kinds of queries, but they are not always well suited to many problems, particularly when there is a need for real-time insights.