Metamarkets and Druid
Discussion of Metamarkets and its to-be-open-sourced Druid technology.
A remarkable number of vendors are involved in what might be called “specialized business intelligence”. Some don’t want to call it that, because they think that “BI” is old and passé’, and what they do is new and better. Still, if we define BI technology as, more or less:
- Querying data and doing simple calculations on it, and …
- … displaying it in a nice interface …
- … which also provides good capabilities for navigation,
then BI is indeed a big part of what they’re doing.
Why would vendors want to specialize their BI technology? The main reason would be to suit it for situations in which even the best general-purpose BI options aren’t good enough. The obvious scenarios are those in which the mismatch is one or both of:
- Kinds of data.
- Kinds of questions asked about the data.
For example, in no particular order: Read more
|Categories: Business intelligence, ClearStory Data, Metamarkets and Druid, PivotLink, Platfora, Splunk, StreamBase||6 Comments|
As is the case for most important categories of technology, discussions of BI can get confused. I’ve remarked in the past that there are numerous kinds of BI, and that the very origin of the term “business intelligence” can’t even be pinned down to the nearest century. But the most fundamental confusion of all is that business intelligence technology really is two different things, which in simplest terms may be categorized as user interface (UI) and platform* technology. And so:
- The UI aspect is why BI tends to be sold to business departments; the platform aspect is why it also makes sense to sell BI to IT shops attempting to establish enterprise standards.
- The UI aspect is why it makes sense to sell and market BI much as one would applications; the platform aspect is why it makes sense to sell and market BI much as one would database technology.
- The UI aspect is why vendors want to integrate BI with transaction-processing applications; the platform aspect is, I suppose, why they have so much trouble making the integration work.
- The UI aspect is why BI is judged on … well, on snazzy UIs and demos. The platform aspect is a big reason why the snazziest UI doesn’t always win.
*I wanted to say “server” or “server-side” instead of “platform”, as I dislike the latter word. But it’s too inaccurate, for example in the case of the original Cognos PowerPlay, and also in various thin-client scenarios.
Key aspects of BI platform technology can include:
- Query and data management. That’s the area I most commonly write about, for example in the cases of Platfora, QlikView, or Metamarkets. It goes back to the 1990s — notably the Business Objects semantic layer and Cognos PowerPlay MOLAP (MultiDimensional OnLine Analytic Processing) engine — and indeed before that to the report writers and fourth-generation languages of the 1970s. This overlaps somewhat with …
- … data integration and metadata management. Business Objects, Qlik, and other BI vendors have bought data integration vendors. Arguably, there was a period when Information Builders’ main business was data connectivity and integration. And sometimes the main value proposition for a BI deal is “We need some way to get at all that data and bring it together.”
- Security and access control – authentication, authorization, and all the additional As.
- Scheduling and delivery. When 10s of 1000s of desktops are being served, these aren’t entirely trivial. Ditto when dealing with occasionally-connected mobile devices.
|Categories: Business intelligence, Business Objects, ClearStory Data, Cognos, Data warehousing, Endeca, Information Builders, Metamarkets and Druid, MOLAP, Platfora, Predictive modeling and advanced analytics, QlikTech and QlikView||11 Comments|
Time for another catch-all post. First and saddest — one of the earliest great commenters on this blog, and a beloved figure in the Boston-area database community, was Dan Weinreb, whom I had known since some Symbolics briefings in the early 1980s. He passed away recently, much much much too young. Looking back for a couple of examples — even if you’ve never heard of him before, I see that Dan ‘s 2009 comment on Tokutek is still interesting today, and so is a post on his own blog disagreeing with some of my choices in terminology.
Otherwise, in no particular order:
1. Chris Bird is learning MongoDB. As is common for Chris, his comments are both amusing and enlightening.
2. When I relayed Cloudera’s comments on Hadoop adoption, I left out a couple of categories. One Cloudera called “mobile”; when I probed, that was about HBase, with an example being messaging apps.
The other was “phone home” — i.e., the ingest of machine-generated data from a lot of different devices. This is something that’s obviously been coming for several years — but I’m increasingly getting the sense that it’s actually arrived.
|Categories: Cloudera, Data integration and middleware, Hadoop, HBase, Informatica, Metamarkets and Druid, MongoDB and 10gen, NoSQL, Open source, Telecommunications||2 Comments|
This is part of a three-post series:
The canonical Metamarkets batch ingest pipeline is a bit complicated.
- Data lands on Amazon S3 (uploaded or because it was there all along).
- Metamarkets processes it, primarily via Hadoop and Pig, to summarize and denormalize it, and then puts it back into S3.
- Metamarkets then pulls the data into Hadoop a second time, to get it ready to be put into Druid.
- Druid is notified, and pulls the data from Hadoop at its convenience.
By “get data read to be put into Druid” I mean:
- Build the data segments (recall that Druid manages data in rather large segments).
- Note metadata about the segments.
That metadata is what goes into the MySQL database, which also retains data about shards that have been invalidated. (That part is needed because of the MVCC.)
By “build the data segments” I mean:
- Make the sharding decisions.
- Arrange data columnarly within shard.
- Build a compressed bitmap for each shard.
When things are being done that way, Druid may be regarded as comprising three kinds of servers: Read more
This is part of a three-post series:
My clients at Metamarkets are planning to open source part of their technology, called Druid, which is described in the Druid section of Metamarkets’ blog. The timing of when this will happen is a bit unclear; I know the target date under NDA, but it’s not set in stone. But if you care, you can probably contact the company to get involved earlier than the official unveiling.
I imagine that open-source Druid will be pretty bare-bones in its early days. Code was first checked in early in 2011, and Druid seems to have averaged around 1 full-time developer since then. What’s more, it’s not obvious that all the features I’m citing here will be open-sourced; indeed, some of the ones I’m describing probably won’t be.
In essence, Druid is a distributed analytic DBMS. Druid’s design choices are best understood when you recall that it was invented to support Metamarkets’ large-scale, RAM-speed, internet marketing/personalization SaaS (Software as a Service) offering. In particular:
- Druid tries to use RAM well.
- Druid tries to stay up all the time.
- Druid has multi-valued fields. (Numeric, but of course you can use encoding tricks to be effectively more general.)
- Druid’s big limitation is to assume that there’s literally only one (denormalized) table per query; you can’t even join to dimension tables.
- SQL is a bit of an afterthought; I would expect Druid’s SQL functionality to be pretty stripped-down out of the gate.
Interestingly, the single-table/multi-valued choice is echoed at WibiData, which deals with similar data sets. However, WibiData’s use cases are different from Metamarkets’, and in most respects the WibiData architecture is quite different from that of Metamarkets/Druid.
|Categories: Clustering, Columnar database management, Data models and architecture, Data warehousing, Memory-centric data management, Metamarkets and Druid, Open source, Parallelization, Software as a Service (SaaS)||8 Comments|
I previously dropped a few hints about my clients at Metamarkets, mentioning that they:
- Have built vertical-market analytic platform technology.
- Use a lot of Hadoop.
- Throw good parties. (That’s where the background photo on my Twitter page comes from.)
But while they’re a joy to talk with, writing about Metamarkets has been frustrating, with many hours and pages of wasted of effort. Even so, I’m trying again, in a three-post series:
Much like Workday, Inc., Metamarkets is a SaaS (Software as a Service) company, with numerous tiers of servers and an affinity for doing things in RAM. That’s where most of the similarities end, however, as Metamarkets is a much smaller company than Workday, doing very different things.
Metamarkets’ business is SaaS (Software as a Service) business intelligence, on large data sets, with low latency in both senses (fresh data can be queried on, and the queries happen at RAM speed). As you might imagine, Metamarkets is used by digital marketers and other kinds of internet companies, whose data typically wants to be in the cloud anyway. Approximate metrics for Metamarkets (and it may well have exceeded these by now) include 10 customers, 100,000 queries/day, 80 billion 100-byte events/month (before summarization), 20 employees, 1 popular CEO, and a metric ton of venture capital.
To understand how Metamarkets’ technology works, it probably helps to start by realizing: Read more
The most straightforward approach to the applications business is:
- Take general-purpose technology and think through how to apply it to a specific application domain.
- Produce packaged application software accordingly.
However, this strategy is not as successful in analytics as in the transactional world, for two main reasons:
- Analytic applications of that kind are rarely complete.
- Incomplete applications rarely sell well.
I first realized all this about a decade ago, after Henry Morris coined the term analytic applications and business intelligence companies thought it was their future. In particular, when Dave Kellogg ran marketing for Business Objects, he rattled off an argument to the effect that Business Objects had generated more analytic app revenue over the lifetime of the company than Cognos had. I retorted, with only mild hyperbole, that the lifetime numbers he was citing amounted to “a bad week for SAP”. Somewhat hoist by his own petard, Dave quickly conceded that he agreed with my skepticism, and we changed the subject accordingly.
Reasons that analytic applications are commonly less complete than the transactional kind include: Read more