Welcome!

.NET Authors: Srinivasan Sundara Rajan, Jayaram Krishnaswamy, Elizabeth White, Michael Jannery, Pat Romanski

Related Topics: SYS-CON ITALIA, Virtualization

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
The Internet of Things will greatly expand the opportunities for data collection and new business models driven off of that data. In her session at @ThingsExpo, Esmeralda Swartz, CMO of MetraTech, discussed how for this to be effective you not only need to have infrastructure and operational models capable of utilizing this new phenomenon, but increasingly service providers will need to convince a skeptical public to participate. Get ready to show them the money!
DevOps Summit 2015 New York, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that it is now accepting Keynote Proposals. 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 development cycles that produce software that is obsolete at launch. DevOps may be disruptive, but it is essential.
The 3rd International Internet of @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that its Call for Papers is now open. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the biggest idea since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago.
Connected devices and the Internet of Things are getting significant momentum in 2014. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jim Hunter, Chief Scientist & Technology Evangelist at Greenwave Systems, examined three key elements that together will drive mass adoption of the IoT before the end of 2015. The first element is the recent advent of robust open source protocols (like AllJoyn and WebRTC) that facilitate M2M communication. The second is broad availability of flexible, cost-effective storage designed to handle the massive surge in back-end data in a world where timely analytics is e...
"There is a natural synchronization between the business models, the IoT is there to support ,” explained Brendan O'Brien, Co-founder and Chief Architect of Aria Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at the 15th International Cloud Expo®, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
The Internet of Things will put IT to its ultimate test by creating infinite new opportunities to digitize products and services, generate and analyze new data to improve customer satisfaction, and discover new ways to gain a competitive advantage across nearly every industry. In order to help corporate business units to capitalize on the rapidly evolving IoT opportunities, IT must stand up to a new set of challenges. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jeff Kaplan, Managing Director of THINKstrategies, will examine why IT must finally fulfill its role in support of its SBUs or face a new round of...
The 3rd International Internet of @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that its Call for Papers is now open. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the biggest idea since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago.
The BPM world is going through some evolution or changes where traditional business process management solutions really have nowhere to go in terms of development of the road map. In this demo at 15th Cloud Expo, Kyle Hansen, Director of Professional Services at AgilePoint, shows AgilePoint’s unique approach to dealing with this market circumstance by developing a rapid application composition or development framework.

ARMONK, N.Y., Nov. 20, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --  IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced that it is bringing a greater level of control, security and flexibility to cloud-based application development and delivery with a single-tenant version of Bluemix, IBM's platform-as-a-service. The new platform enables developers to build ap...

Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs) are increasing at an unprecedented rate. The threat landscape of today is drastically different than just a few years ago. Attacks are much more organized and sophisticated. They are harder to detect and even harder to anticipate. In the foreseeable future it's going to get a whole lot harder. Everything you know today will change. Keeping up with this changing landscape is already a daunting task. Your organization needs to use the latest tools, methods and expertise to guard against those threats. But will that be enough? In the foreseeable future attacks w...
Building low-cost wearable devices can enhance the quality of our lives. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Sai Yamanoor, Embedded Software Engineer at Altschool, provided an example of putting together a small keychain within a $50 budget that educates the user about the air quality in their surroundings. He also provided examples such as building a wearable device that provides transit or recreational information. He then reviewed the resources available to build wearable devices at home including open source hardware, the raw materials required and the options available to power s...
“The age of the Internet of Things is upon us,” stated Thomas Svensson, senior vice-president and general manager EMEA, ThingWorx, “and working with forward-thinking companies, such as Elisa, enables us to deploy our leading technology so that customers can profit from complete, end-to-end solutions.” ThingWorx, a PTC® (Nasdaq: PTC) business and Internet of Things (IoT) platform provider, announced on Monday that Elisa, Finnish provider of mobile and fixed broadband subscriptions, will deploy ThingWorx® platform technology to enable a new Elisa IoT service in Finland and Estonia.
From telemedicine to smart cars, digital homes and industrial monitoring, the explosive growth of IoT has created exciting new business opportunities for real time calls and messaging. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Ivelin Ivanov, CEO and Co-Founder of Telestax, shared some of the new revenue sources that IoT created for Restcomm – the open source telephony platform from Telestax. Ivelin Ivanov is a technology entrepreneur who founded Mobicents, an Open Source VoIP Platform, to help create, deploy, and manage applications integrating voice, video and data. He is the co-founder of TeleStax, a...
The Internet of Things is not new. Historically, smart businesses have used its basic concept of leveraging data to drive better decision making and have capitalized on those insights to realize additional revenue opportunities. So, what has changed to make the Internet of Things one of the hottest topics in tech? In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Gray, Director, Embedded and Internet of Things, discussed the underlying factors that are driving the economics of intelligent systems. Discover how hardware commoditization, the ubiquitous nature of connectivity, and the emergence of Big Data a...
We certainly live in interesting technological times. And no more interesting than the current competing IoT standards for connectivity. Various standards bodies, approaches, and ecosystems are vying for mindshare and positioning for a competitive edge. It is clear that when the dust settles, we will have new protocols, evolved protocols, that will change the way we interact with devices and infrastructure. We will also have evolved web protocols, like HTTP/2, that will be changing the very core of our infrastructures. At the same time, we have old approaches made new again like micro-services...
Today’s enterprise is being driven by disruptive competitive and human capital requirements to provide enterprise application access through not only desktops, but also mobile devices. To retrofit existing programs across all these devices using traditional programming methods is very costly and time consuming – often prohibitively so. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jesse Shiah, CEO, President, and Co-Founder of AgilePoint Inc., discussed how you can create applications that run on all mobile devices as well as laptops and desktops using a visual drag-and-drop application – and eForms-buildi...
Disruptive macro trends in technology are impacting and dramatically changing the "art of the possible" relative to supply chain management practices through the innovative use of IoT, cloud, machine learning and Big Data to enable connected ecosystems of engagement. Enterprise informatics can now move beyond point solutions that merely monitor the past and implement integrated enterprise fabrics that enable end-to-end supply chain visibility to improve customer service delivery and optimize supplier management. Learn about enterprise architecture strategies for designing connected systems tha...
The Internet of Things is a misnomer. That implies that everything is on the Internet, and that simply should not be - especially for things that are blurring the line between medical devices that stimulate like a pacemaker and quantified self-sensors like a pedometer or pulse tracker. The mesh of things that we manage must be segmented into zones of trust for sensing data, transmitting data, receiving command and control administrative changes, and peer-to-peer mesh messaging. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Ryan Bagnulo, Solution Architect / Software Engineer at SOA Software, focused on desi...
"For over 25 years we have been working with a lot of enterprise customers and we have seen how companies create applications. And now that we have moved to cloud computing, mobile, social and the Internet of Things, we see that the market needs a new way of creating applications," stated Jesse Shiah, CEO, President and Co-Founder of AgilePoint Inc., in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 15th Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Things are being built upon cloud foundations to transform organizations. This CEO Power Panel at 15th Cloud Expo, moderated by Roger Strukhoff, Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo conference chair, addressed the big issues involving these technologies and, more important, the results they will achieve. Rodney Rogers, chairman and CEO of Virtustream; Brendan O'Brien, co-founder of Aria Systems, Bart Copeland, president and CEO of ActiveState Software; Jim Cowie, chief scientist at Dyn; Dave Wagstaff, VP and chief architect at BSQUARE Corporation; Seth Proctor, CTO of NuoDB, Inc.; and Andris Gailitis, C...