EAI, EII, ETL, ELT, ETLT
Analysis of data integration products and technologies, especially ones related to data warehousing, such as ELT (Extract/Transform/Load). Related subjects include:
Hmm. I probably should have broken this out as three posts rather than one after all. Sorry about that.
Discussions of DBMS performance are always odd, for starters because:
- Workloads and use cases vary greatly.
- In particular, benchmarks such as the YCSB or TPC-H aren’t very helpful.
- It’s common for databases or at least working sets to be entirely in RAM — but it’s not always required.
- Consistency and durability models vary. What’s more, in some systems — e.g. MongoDB — there’s considerable flexibility as to which model you use.
- In particular, there’s an increasingly common choice in which data is written synchronously to RAM on 2 or more servers, then asynchronously to disk on each of them. Performance in these cases can be quite different from when all writes need to be committed to disk. Of course, you need sufficient disk I/O to keep up, so SSDs (Solid-State Drives) can come in handy.
- Many workloads are inherently single node (replication aside). Others are not.
MongoDB and 10gen
I caught up with Ron Avnur at 10gen. Technical highlights included: Read more
Well-resourced Silicon Valley start-ups typically announce their existence multiple times. Company formation, angel funding, Series A funding, Series B funding, company launch, product beta, and product general availability may not be 7 different “news events”, but they’re apt to be at least 3-4. Platfora, no exception to this rule, is hitting general availability today, and in connection with that I learned a bit more about what they are up to.
In simplest terms, Platfora offers exploratory business intelligence against Hadoop-based data. As per last weekend’s post about exploratory BI, a key requirement is speed; and so far as I can tell, any technological innovation Platfora offers relates to the need for speed. Specifically, I drilled into Platfora’s performance architecture on the query processing side (and associated data movement); Platfora also brags of rendering 100s of 1000s of “marks” quickly in HTML5 visualizations, but I haven’t a clue as to whether that’s much of an accomplishment in itself.
Platfora’s marketing suggests it obviates the need for a data warehouse at all; for most enterprises, of course, that is a great exaggeration. But another dubious aspect of Platfora marketing actually serves to understate the product’s merits — Platfora claims to have an “in-memory” product, when what’s really the case is that Platfora’s memory-centric technology uses both RAM and disk to manage larger data marts than could reasonably be fit into RAM alone. Expanding on what I wrote about Platfora when it de-stealthed: Read more
|Categories: Business intelligence, Columnar database management, Data warehousing, EAI, EII, ETL, ELT, ETLT, Hadoop, Market share and customer counts, Memory-centric data management, Platfora, Workload management||11 Comments|
It’s hard to make data easy to analyze. While everybody seems to realize this — a few marketeers perhaps aside — some remarks might be useful even so.
Many different technologies purport to make data easy, or easier, to an analyze; so many, in fact, that cataloguing them all is forbiddingly hard. Major claims, and some technologies that make them, include:
- “We get data into a form in which it can be analyzed.” This is the story behind, among others:
- Most of the data integration and ETL (Extract/Transform/Load) industries, software vendors and consulting firms alike.
- Many things that purport to be “analytic applications” or data warehouse “quick starts”.
- “Data reduction” use cases in event processing.*
- Text analytics tools.
- “Forget all that transformation foofarah — just load (or write) data into our thing and start analyzing it immediately.” This at various times has been much of the story behind:
- Relational DBMS, according to their inventor E. F. Codd.
- MOLAP (Multidimensional OnLine Analytic Processing), also according to RDBMS inventor E. F. Codd.
- Any kind of analytic DBMS, or general purpose DBMS used for data warehousing.
- Newer kinds of analytic DBMS that are faster than older kinds.
- The “data mart spin-out” feature of certain analytic DBMS.
- In-memory analytic data stores.
- NoSQL DBMS that have a few analytic features.
- TokuDB, similarly.
- Electronic spreadsheets, from VisiCalc to Datameer.
- “Our tools help you with specific kinds of analyses or analytic displays.” This is the story underlying, among others:
- The business intelligence industry.
- The predictive analytics industry.
- Algorithmic trading use cases in complex event processing.*
- Some analytic applications.
*Complex event/stream processing terminology is always problematic.
My thoughts on all this start: Read more
My clients at Cloudant, Couchbase, and 10gen/MongoDB (Edit: See Alex Popescu’s comment below) all boast the feature incremental MapReduce. (And they’re not the only ones.) So I feel like making a quick post about it. For starters, I’ll quote myself about Cloudant:
The essence of Cloudant’s incremental MapReduce seems to be that data is selected only if it’s been updated since the last run. Obviously, this only works for MapReduce algorithms whose eventual output can be run on different subsets of the target data set, then aggregated in a simple way.
These implementations of incremental MapReduce are hacked together by teams vastly smaller than those working on Hadoop, and surely fall short of Hadoop in many areas such as performance, fault-tolerance, and language support. That’s a given. Still, if the jobs are short and simple, those deficiencies may be tolerable.
A StackOverflow thread about MongoDB’s version of incremental MapReduce highlights some of the implementation challenges.
But all practicality aside, let’s return to the point that incremental MapReduce only works for some kinds of MapReduce-based algorithms, and consider how much of a limitation that really is. Looking at the Map steps sheds a little light: Read more
|Categories: Cloudant, Couchbase, EAI, EII, ETL, ELT, ETLT, Hadoop, MapReduce, MongoDB and 10gen, RDF and graphs||1 Comment|
With Strata/Hadoop World being next week, there is much Hadoop discussion. One theme of the season is BI over Hadoop. I have at least 5 clients claiming they’re uniquely positioned to support that (most of whom partner with a 6th client, Tableau); the first 2 whose offerings I’ve actually written about are Teradata Aster and Hadapt. More generally, I’m hearing “Using Hadoop is hard; we’re here to make it easier for you.”
If enterprises aren’t yet happily running business intelligence against Hadoop, what are they doing with it instead? I took the opportunity to ask Cloudera, whose answers didn’t contradict anything I’m hearing elsewhere. As Cloudera tells it (approximately — this part of the conversation* was rushed): Read more
|Categories: Business intelligence, Cloudera, EAI, EII, ETL, ELT, ETLT, Hadoop, HBase, Health care, Investment research and trading, MapR, Market share and customer counts, Telecommunications, Web analytics||4 Comments|
Bearing in mind the difficulties in covering big companies and their products, I had a call with IBM about its core ETL technology (Extract/Transform/Load), and have some notes accordingly. It’s pretty reasonable to say that there are and were a Big Three of high-end ETL vendors:
- Ab Initio
However, IBM fondly thinks there are a Big Two, on the theory that Informatica Powercenter can’t scale as well as IBM and Ab Initio can, and hence gets knocked out of deals when particularly strong scalability and throughput are required. Read more
I successfully resisted telephone consulting while on vacation, but I did do some by email. One was on the oft-recurring subject of Hadoop adoption. I think it’s OK to adapt some of that into a post.
Notes on past and current Hadoop adoption include:
- Enterprise Hadoop adoption is for experimental uses or departmental production (as opposed to serious enterprise-level production). Indeed, it’s rather tough to disambiguate those two. If an enterprise uses Hadoop to search for new insights and gets a few, is that an experiment that went well, or is it production?
- One of the core internet-business use cases for Hadoop is a many-step ETL, ELT, and data refinement pipeline, with Hadoop executing some or many of the steps. But I don’t think that’s in production at many enterprises yet, except in the usual forward-leaning sectors of financial services and (we’re all guessing) national intelligence.
- In terms of industry adoption:
- Financial services on the investment/trading side are all over Hadoop, just as they’re all over any technology. Ditto national intelligence, one thinks.
- Consumer financial services, especially credit card, are giving Hadoop a try too, for marketing and/or anti-fraud.
- I’m sure there’s some telecom usage, but I’m hearing of less than I thought I would. Perhaps this is because telcos have spent so long optimizing their data into short, structured records.
- Whatever consumer financial services firms do, retailers do too, albeit with smaller budgets.
Thoughts on how Hadoop adoption will look going forward include: Read more
|Categories: Cloud computing, Data warehouse appliances, Data warehousing, EAI, EII, ETL, ELT, ETLT, Hadoop, Investment research and trading, Telecommunications||3 Comments|
What are the central challenges in internet system design? We probably all have similar lists, comprising issues such as scale, scale-out, throughput, availability, security, programming ease, UI, or general cost-effectiveness. Screw those up, and you don’t have an internet business.
Much new technology addresses those challenges, with considerable success. But the success is usually one silo at a time — a short-request application here, an analytic database there. When it comes to integration, unsolved problems abound.
The top integration and integration-like challenges for me, from a practical standpoint, are:
- Integrating silos — a decades-old problem still with us in a big way.
- Dynamic schemas with joins.
- Low-latency business intelligence.
- Human real-time personalization.
Other concerns that get mentioned include:
- Geographical distribution due to privacy laws, which for some users is a major requirement for compliance.
- Logical data warehouse, a term that doesn’t actually mean anything real.
- In-memory data grids, which some day may no longer always be hand-coupled to the application and data stacks they accelerate.
Let’s skip those latter issues for now, focusing instead on the first four.
Informatica, Splunk, and IBM are all public companies, and correspondingly reticent to talk about product futures. Hence, anything I might suggest about product futures from any of them won’t be terribly detailed, and even the vague generalities are “the Good Lord willin’ an’ the creek don’ rise”.
Never let a rising creek overflow your safe harbor.
1. Hadoop can be an awesome ETL (Extract/Transform/Load) execution engine; it can handle huge jobs and perform a great variety of transformations. (Indeed, MapReduce was invented to run giant ETL jobs.) Thus, if one offers a development-plus-execution stack for ETL processes, it might seem appealing to make Hadoop an ETL execution option. And so:
- I’ve already posted that BI-plus-light-ETL vendors Pentaho and Datameer are using Hadoop in that way.
- Informatica will be using Hadoop as an execution option too.
Informatica told me about other interesting Hadoop-related plans as well, but I’m not sure my frieNDA allows me to mention them at all.
IBM, however, is standing aside. Specifically, IBM told me that it doesn’t see the point of doing the same thing, as its ETL engine — presumably derived from the old Ascential product line — is already parallel and performant enough.
2. Last year, I suggested that Splunk and Hadoop are competitors in managing machine-generated data. That’s still true, but Splunk is also preparing a Hadoop co-opetition strategy. To a first approximation, it’s just Hadoop import/export. However, suppose you view Splunk as offering a three-layer stack: Read more
|Categories: EAI, EII, ETL, ELT, ETLT, Hadoop, IBM and DB2, Informatica, Log analysis, MapReduce, Splunk||9 Comments|
In today’s post about HCatalog, I noted that the Hadoop/HCatalog community didn’t necessarily understand all the kinds of metadata that enterprises need and want, especially in the context of data integration and ETL and ELT (Extract/Transform/Load/Transform). That raises a natural question — what kinds of metadata do users need or want? In the hope of spurring discussion, from vendors and users alike, I’m splitting this question out into a separate post.
Please comment with your thoughts about ETL-related metadata needs. The conversation needs to advance.
In the relational world, there are at least three kinds of metadata:
- Definitional information about data structures, without which you can’t have a relational database at all. That area seems binary; either you have enough to make sense of your data or you don’t.
- Statistics about columns and tables, such as the most frequent values and how often they occur, which are kept for the purpose of optimization. Those seem to be nice-to-haves more than must-haves. The more information of this kind you have, the more chances you have to save resources.
- Historical and security information about data. This is where things get really complicated. It’s also where Hadoop is still in the “So what exactly should we build?” stage of design.
As I see it:
- Historical information about data answers questions in the realm of “Who did what to which data when?”
- Security information about data answers questions around “Who may do what to which data in the future?”
- They overlap because:
- They rely on closely related schemes for assessing roles and identity.
- Audit trails, a key aspect of security and compliance, could logically be viewed as falling in the realm of “history”.