Petabyte-scale data management

Posts about database management for databases with petabytes of user data.

April 24, 2012

Notes on the Hadoop and HBase markets

I visited my clients at Cloudera and Hortonworks last week, along with scads of other companies. A few of the takeaways were:

October 14, 2011

Commercial software for academic use

As Jacek Becla explained:

Even so, I think that academic researchers, in the natural and social sciences alike, commonly overlook the wealth of commercial software that could help them in their efforts.

I further think that the commercial software industry could do a better job of exposing its work to academics, where by “expose” I mean:

Reasons to do so include:

Read more

October 2, 2011

Defining NoSQL

A reporter tweeted:  ”Is there a simple plain English definition for NoSQL?” After reminding him of my cynical yet accurate Third Law of Commercial Semantics, I gave it a serious try, and came up with the following. More precisely, I tweeted the bolded parts of what’s below; the rest is commentary added for this post.

NoSQL is most easily defined by what it excludes: SQL, joins, strong analytic alternatives to those, and some forms of database integrity. If you leave all four out, and you have a strong scale-out story, you’re in the NoSQL mainstream. Read more

September 24, 2011

Confusion about Teradata’s big customers

Evidently further attempts to get information on this subject would be fruitless, but anyhow:

September 11, 2011

“Big data” has jumped the shark

I frequently observe that no market categorization is ever precise and, in particular, that bad jargon drives out good. But when it comes to “big data” or “big data analytics”, matters are worse yet. The definitive shark-jumping moment may be Forrester Research’s Brian Hopkins’ claim that:

… typical data warehouse appliances, even if they are petascale and parallel, [are] NOT big data solutions.

Nonsense almost as bad can be found in other venues.

Forrester seems to claim that “big data” is characterized by Volume, Velocity, Variety, and Variability. Others, less alliteratively-inclined, might put Complexity in the mix. So far, so good; after all, much of what people call “big data” is collections of disparate data streams, all collected somewhere in a big bit bucket. But when people start defining “big data” to include Variety and/or Variability, they’ve gone too far.

Read more

September 5, 2011

Data management at Zynga and LinkedIn

Mike Driscoll and his Metamarkets colleagues organized a bit of a bash Thursday night. Among the many folks I chatted with were Ken Rudin of Zynga, Sam Shah of LinkedIn, and D. J. Patil, late of LinkedIn. I now know more about analytic data management at Zynga and LinkedIn, plus some bonus stuff on LinkedIn’s People You May Know application. :)

It’s blindingly obvious that Zynga is one of Vertica’s petabyte-scale customers, given that Zynga sends 5 TB/day of data into Vertica, and keeps that data for about a year. (Zynga may retain even more data going forward; in particular, Zynga regrets ever having thrown out the first month of data for any game it’s tried to launch.) This is game actions, for the most part, rather than log files; true logs generally go into Splunk.

I don’t know whether the missing data is completely thrown away, or just stashed on inaccessible tapes somewhere.

I found two aspects of the Zynga story particularly interesting. First, those 5 TB/day are going straight into Vertica (from, I presume, memcached/Membase/Couchbase), as Zynga decided that sending the data to some kind of log first was more trouble than it’s worth. Second, there’s Zynga’s approach to analytic database design. Highlights of that include: Read more

July 6, 2011

Petabyte-scale Hadoop clusters (dozens of them)

I recently learned that there are 7 Vertica clusters with a petabyte (or more) each of user data. So I asked around about other petabyte-scale clusters. It turns out that there are several dozen such clusters (at least) running Hadoop.

Cloudera can identify 22 CDH (Cloudera Distribution [of] Hadoop) clusters holding one petabyte or more of user data each, at 16 different organizations. This does not count Facebook or Yahoo, who are huge Hadoop users but not, I gather, running CDH. Meanwhile, Eric Baldeschwieler of Hortonworks tells me that Yahoo’s latest stated figures are:

Read more

July 5, 2011

Eight kinds of analytic database (Part 2)

In Part 1 of this two-part series, I outlined four variants on the traditional enterprise data warehouse/data mart dichotomy, and suggested what kinds of DBMS products you might use for each. In Part 2 I’ll cover four more kinds of analytic database — even newer, for the most part, with a use case/product short list match that is even less clear.  Read more

July 5, 2011

Eight kinds of analytic database (Part 1)

Analytic data management technology has blossomed, leading to many questions along the lines of “So which products should I use for which category of problem?” The old EDW/data mart dichotomy is hopelessly outdated for that purpose, and adding a third category for “big data” is little help.

Let’s try eight categories instead. While no categorization is ever perfect, these each have at least some degree of technical homogeneity. Figuring out which types of analytic database you have or need — and in most cases you’ll need several — is a great early step in your analytic technology planning.  Read more

June 20, 2011

Columnar DBMS vendor customer metrics

Last April, I asked some columnar DBMS vendors to share customer metrics. They answered, but it took until now to iron out a couple of details. Overall, the answers are pretty impressive.  Read more

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