Clustrix reveals some big names using its Webscale SQL DB

An interesting article in the New York Tines online by Derrick Harris of GigaOM outlined the release of some customers using Clustrix webscale SQL database, namely, Box.net, AOL, PhotoBox, and iOffer.

Clustrix launched in early May with the claim that it’s DB technology, which features MySQL like transactionality and reliability, could scale to billions of entries. All four customers announced by Clustrix in the press release announced that this was the case.

Clustrix provide this as an appliance as an option for online services that do not want to have to invest time and effort in figuring out how to a) shard their data for better performance or b) move to something relatively new such as MongDB, or Cassandra.

Clustrix

Further details (which are worth reading) can be found on the original post on GigaOM.

GigaSpaces release 7.1 of XAP Cloud enabled Middleware – certified for use on Cisco UCS

The upcoming release of GigaSpaces XAP includes the ‘Elastic Data Grid’, which enables deploying a full clustered application with a single API call. Users basically specify their business requirements and XAP automatically performs sizing, hardware provisioning, configuration and deployment. The aim of this is to  provide simplification resulting in reduced effort and cost savings for enterprise applications that require dynamic scalability.

Other features of the XAP 7.1 release include:

  • Certified for use with Cisco UCS, providing enhanced performance
  • Built-in multi-tenancy
  • Extended in-memory querying capabilities
  • Real-time distributed troubleshooting
  • Multi-core utilization

More detail can be found from the GigaSpaces website.

GigaSpaces Version 7 and Intel Nehalem deliver impressive benchmark results

GigaSpaces, in conjunction with MPI Europe, Globant, and Intel recently conducted some benchmarks on the in-memory data caching / data grid element of their version 7 XAP platform on Intel’s Nehalem chipset. XAP’s latest version 7 reached 1 million data updates per second and 2.6 million data retrievals per second with four client threads on the Nehalem Chip.

Previously XAP version 6 had benchmarked 276,000 updates per second and 453,000 retrievals per second on the best previous Intel processor. 

The summary of the tests are:

– GigaSpaces Write and Take operation from their in-memory data cache are about 3-4 times faster (300-400%) with the Nehalem chipset (in absolute numbers).

– Read operations perform much better with the Nehalem (3-6 times better with 1-4 threads). As much as there are more concurrent threads the difference is increasing. According to Shay Hassidim, one of the reasons for this is the non lock read capability added to XAP 7.0.

– Nehalem+ XAP 7.0.1 shows better scalability than Dunnington+XAP 6.2.2. About 30 % better with write and take operations and growing numbers with read operations (90% with 10 threads).

GigaSpaces continues to push the speed and performance envelope with its product, and I’m informed that the 7.02 version of GigaSpaces has again been highly performance tuned and is even faster than the 7.0 platform that was used for this benchmark.

It will be interesting to see if other vendors in this space publish results of their product on Nehalem, which looks set to deliver a huge performance jump.

GigaSpaces finds a place in the Cloud

a new report from analysts The 451 Group outlines the success to date  that GigaSpaces has had in the Cloud Sector. The report talks about how GigaSpaces now has 76 customers using its software on cloud-computing platforms. This is up from 25 on Amazon’s EC2 in February. GigaSpaces have moved forward their cloud strategy in recent weeks, announcing support for deployments on GoGrid and also recently announcing tighter integration with VMWare which enables GigaSpaces to dynamically manage and scale VMWare instances and enable them to participate in the scaling of GigaSpaces hosted applications.

GigaSpaces have a number of hybrid deployments in which their application stack is hosted in the cloud and the data or services are hosted on premise which have had some notable successes.

The GigaSpaces product provides a strong Cloud middleware stack which encompasses Logic, data, services and messages in memory underpinned by a real-time Service Level Agreement enforcement which functions at the application level enabling the stack to scale up and out in real time based on SLA’s set by the business. As everything is held in memory, it is faster than alternative ways of trying to build enterprise scale applications in the cloud, and it has sophisticated sync’ services that enable async (or sync) of data to a DB or persistent store.

Practical Guide for Developing Enterprise Applications for the Cloud

This session was presented at Cloud Slam 09 by Nati Shalom CTO of GigaSpaces. It provides a practical guideline addressing the common challenges of developing and deploying an existing enterprise application on the cloud. Additionally, you will get the opportunity for hands-on experience running and deploying production ready applications in a matter of minutes on Amazon EC2.

Cloud Best Practice – what to be aware of !

Some of the key things to think about when putting your application on the cloud are discussed below. Cloud computing is relatively new, and best practice is still being established. However we can learn from earlier technologies and concepts such as utility compute, SaaS, outsourcing and even internal enterprise centre management, as well as from experience with vendors such as Amazon and FlexiScale.

Licensing: If you are using the cloud for spikes or overspill make sure that the products you want to use in the cloud can be used in this way. Certain products restrict their licenses to be used from a cloud perspective. This is especially true of commercial Grid, HPC or DataGrid vendors.

Data transfer costs:  When using a provider like Amazon with a detailed cost model, make sure that any data transfers are internal to the provider network rather than external. In the case of Amazon, internal traffic is free but you will be charged for any traffic over the external IP addresses.

Latency: If you have low latency requirements then the Cloud may not be the best environment to achieve this. If you are trying to run an ERP or some such system in the cloud then the latency may be good enough but if you are trying to run a binary or FX Exchange then of course the latency requirements are very different and more stringent. It is essential to make sure you understand the performance requirements of your application and have a clear understanding of what is deemed business critical.

One Grid vendor who has focused on attacking low latency in the cloud is GigaSpaces and so if you require cloud low latency then these are one of the companies you should evaluate. Also for processing distributed data loads there is the map reduce pattern and Hadoop. These type of architectures eliminating the boundaries created by scale-out database based approaches.

State: Check whether your cloud infrastructure providers have persistence.  When an application is brought down and then back up all local changes will be wiped and you start with a blank slate. This obviously has ramifications with instances that need to store user or application state.  To combat this on their platform Amazon rdelivered EC2 persistent storage in which data can remain linked to a specific computing instance. You should ensure you understand the state limitations of any Cloud Computing platform that you work with.

Data Regulations: If you are storing data in the cloud you may be breaching data laws depending where your data is stored i.e. which country or continent.  To combat this Amazon S3 now supports location constraints, which allow you to specify where in the world to store data for a bucket and provides a new API to retrieve the location constraint for an existing bucket. However if you are using another cloud provider you should check where your data is stored.

Dependencies:  Be aware of dependencies of service providers. If service ‘y’ is dependant on ‘x’ then if you subscribe to service ‘y’ and service ‘x’ goes down you lose your service. Always check any dependencies when you are using a cloud service.

Standardisation: A major issue with current cloud computing platforms is that there is no standardisation of the APIs and platform technologies that underpin the services provided. Although this represents a lack of maturity you need to consider how locked in you are when considering a Cloud platform or migrating between cloud computing platforms will be very difficult if not impossible. This may not be an issue if your supplier is IBM and always likely to be IBM, but it will be an issue if you are just dipping your toe in the water and discover that other platforms are better suited to your needs.

Security: Lack of security or apparent lack of security is one of the perceived major drawbacks of working with Cloud platform and Cloud technology. When moving sensitive data about or storing it in public cloud it should be encrypted. And it is important to consider a secure ID mechanism for authentication and authorisation for services. As with normal enterprise infrastructures only open the ports needed and consider installing a host based intrusion detection systems such as OSSEC. The advantage of working with an enterprise Cloud provider, such as IBM or Sun is that many of these security optimisations are already taken care of. See our prior blog entry for securing n-tier and distributed applications on the cloud.

Compliance:  Regulatory controls mean that certain applications may not be able to deployed in the Cloud. For example the US Patriot Act could have very serious consequences for non-US firms considering U.S. hosted cloud providers. Be aware that often cloud computing platforms are made up of components from a variety of vendors who may themselves provide computing in a variety of legal jurisdictions. Be very aware of the dependencies and ensure you factor this into any operational risk management assessment. See also our prior blog entry on this topic

Quality of service: You will need to ensure that the behaviour and effectiveness of the cloud application that you implement can be measured and tracked both to meet existing or new Service Level agreements. We have discussed previously some of the tools that come with this option built in (GigaSpaces) and other tools that provide functionality that enable you to use this with your Cloud Architecture (RightScale, Scalr etc). Achieving Quality of Service will encompass scaling, reliability, service fluidity, monitoring, management and system performance.

System hardening: Like all enterprise application infrastructures you need to harden the system so that it is secure, robust, and achieves the necessary functional requirements that you need. See our prior blog entry on system hardening for Amazon EC2.

Content adapted from “TheSavvyGuideTo HPC, Grid, DataGrid, Virtualisation and Cloud Computing” available on Amazon.



New HPC and Cloud Book

A new book co-authored by Jim Liddle, one of the contributors to this blog has been released entitled “TheSavvyGuideTo HPC, Grid, DataGrid, Virtualisation and Cloud Computing. The aim of TheSavvyGuideTo book range is to get people up to speed as quickly as possible on the subject matter of the books.

Although the book covers a plethora of technologies it is a good read for anyone who wants a good concise overview of the space be they a manager, consultant or developer.