Tech in Real Life: Content Delivery Networks, Big Data Servers and Object Storage

April 6, 2015 Leave a comment

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This is a duplicate of a blog I authored for HP, originally published at hp.nu/Lg3KF.

In a joint blog authored with theCube’s John Furrier and Scality’s Leo Leung, we pointed out some of the unique characteristics of data that make it act and look like a vector.

At that time, I promised we’d delve into specific customer uses for data and emerging data technologies – so let’s begin with our friends in the telecommunications and media industries, specifically around the topic of content distribution.

But let’s start at a familiar point for many of us…

If you’re like most people, when it comes to TV, movies, and video content, you’re an avid (sometimes binge-watching) fan of video streaming and video on-demand.  More and more people are opting to view content via streaming technologies.  In fact, a growing number of broadcast shows are viewed on mobile and streaming devices, as are a number of live events, such as this year’s NCAA basketball tournament via streaming devices.

These are fascinating data points to ponder, but think about what goes on behind them.

How does all this video content get stored, managed, and streamed?

Suffice it to say, telecom and media companies around the world are addressing this exact challenge with content delivery networks (CDN).  There are a variety of interesting technologies out there to help develop CDNs, and one interesting new technology to enable this is object storage, especially when it comes to petabytes of data.

Here’s how object storage helps when it comes to streaming content.

  • With streaming content comes a LOT of data.  Managing and moving that data is a key area to address, and object storage handles it well.  It allows telecom and media companies to effectively manage many petabytes of content with ease – many IT options lack that ability to scale.  Features in object storage like replication and erasure coding allow users to break large volumes of data into bite size chunks, and disperse it over several different server nodes, and often times, several different geographic locations.  As data is needed, it is rapidly re-compiled and distributed as needed.
  • Raise your hand if you absolutely love to wait for your video content to load.  (Silence.)  The fact is, no one likes to see the status bar slowly creeping along, while you’re waiting for zombies, your futbol club, or the next big singing sensation to show up on the screen.  Because object storage technologies are able to support super high bandwidth and millions of HTTP requests per minute, any customer looking to distribute media is able to allow their customers access to content with superior performance metrics.  It has a lot to do with the network, but also with the software managing the data behind the network, and object storage fits the bill.

These are just two of the considerations, and there are many others, but object storage becomes an interesting technology to consider if you’re looking to get content or media online, especially if you are in the telecom or media space.

Want a real life example? Check out how our customer RTL II, a European based television station, addressed their video streaming challenge with object storage.  It’s all detaile here in this case study – “RTL II shifts video archive into hyperscale with HP and Scality.”  Using HP ProLiant SL4540 big data servers and object storage software from HP partner Scality, RTL II was able to boost their video transfer speeds by 10x

Webinar this week! If this is a space you could use more education on, Scality and HP will be hosting a couple of webinars this week, specifically around object storage and content delivery networks.  If you’re looking for more on this, be sure to join us – here are the details:

Session 1 (Time-friendly for European and APJ audiences)

  • Who:  HP’s big data strategist, Sanjeet Singh, and Scality VP, Leo Leung
  • Date:  Wed, Apr 8, 2015
  • Time:  3pm Central Europe Summer / 8am Central US
  • Registration Link

Session 2 (Time-friendly for North American audiences)

  • Who:  HP Director, Joseph George, and Scality VP, Leo Leung
  • Date:  Wed, Apr 8, 2015
  • Time: 10am Pacific US / 12 noon Central US
  • Registration Link

And as always, for any questions at all, you can always send us an email at BigDataEcosystem@hp.com or visit us at www.hp.com/go/ProLiant/BigDataServer.

And now off to relax and watch some TV – via streaming video of course!

Until next time,

JOSEPH
@jbgeorge

Recognizing the Layers of Critical Insight That Data Offers

March 11, 2015 Leave a comment

This is a joint blog I did with John Furrier of SiliconAngle / theCube and Leo Leung from Scality, originally published at http://bit.ly/1E6nQuR 

Data is an interesting concept.

During a recent CrowdChat a number of us started talking about server based storage, big data, etc., and the topic quickly developed into a forum on data and its inherent qualities. The discussion led us to realize that data actually has a number of attributes that clearly define it – similar to how a vector has both a direction and magnitude.

Several of the attributes we uncovered as we delved into this notion of data as a vector include:

  • Data Gravity: This was a concept developed by my friend, Dave McCrory, a few years ago, and it is a burgeoning area of study today.  The idea is that as data is accumulated, additional services and applications are attracted to this data – similar to how a planet’s gravitational pull attracts objects to it.   An example would be the number 10.  If you the “years old” context is “attracted” to that original data point, it adds a certain meaning to it.  If the “who” context is applied to a dog vs. a human being, it takes on additional meaning.
  • Relative Location with Similar Data:  You could argue that this is related to data gravity, but I see it as more of a poignant a point that bears calling out.  At a Hadoop World conference many years ago, I heard Tim O’Reilly make the comment that our data is most meaningful when it’s around other data.   A good example of this is medical data.  Health information of a single individual (one person) may lead to some insights, but when placed together with data from a members of a family, co-workers on a job location, or the citizens of a town, you are able to draw meaningful conclusions.  When grouped with other data, individual pieces of data take on more meaning.
  • Time:  This came up when someone posed the question “does anyone delete data anymore?”   With the storage costs at scale becoming more and more affordable, we concluded that there is no longer an economic need to delete data (though there may be regulatory reasons to do so).   Then came the question of determining what data was not valuable enough to keep, which led to the epiphany that data that might be viewed as not valuable today, may become significantly valuable tomorrow.  Medical information is a good example here as well – capturing the data that certain individuals in the 1800’s were plagued with a specific medical condition may not seem meaningful at the time, until you’ve tracked data on specific descendants of his family being plagued by similar ills over the next few centuries.   It is difficult to quantify the value of specific data at the time of its creation.

Data as a vector.jpg

In discussing this with my colleagues, it became very clear how early we are in the evolution of data / big data / software defined storage.  With so many angles yet to be discussed and discovered, the possibilities are endless.

This is why it is critical that you start your own journey to salvage the critical insights your data offers.  It can help you drive efficiency in product development, it can help you better serve you constituents, and it can help you solve seemingly unsolvable problems.   Technologies like object storage, cloud based storage, Hadoop, and more are allowing us to learn from our data in ways we couldn’t imagine 10 years ago.

And there’s a lot happening today – it’s not science fiction.  In fact, we are seeing customers implement these technologies and make a turn for the better – figuring out how to treat more patients, enabling student researchers to share data across geographic boundaries, moving media companies to stream content across the web, and allowing financial institutions to detect fraud when it happens.  Though the technologies may be considered “emerging,” the results are very, very real.

Over the next few months, we’ll discuss specific examples of how customers are making this work in their environments, tips on implementing these innovative technologies, some unique innovations that we’ve developed in both server hardware and open source software, and maybe even some best practices that we’ve developed after deploying so many of these big data solutions.

Stay tuned.

Until next time,

Joseph George – @jbgeorge

Director, HP Servers

Leo Leung – @lleung

VP, Scality

John Furrier – @furrier

Founder of SiliconANGLE Media

Cohost of @theCUBE

CEO of CrowdChat

The HP Big Data Reference Architecture: It’s Worth Taking a Closer Look…

January 27, 2015 Leave a comment

This is a duplicate of the blog I’ve authored on the HP blog site at http://h30507.www3.hp.com/t5/Hyperscale-Computing-Blog/The-HP-Big-Data-Reference-Architecture-It-s-Worth-Taking-a/ba-p/179502#.VMfTrrHnb4Z

I recently posted a blog on the value that purpose-built products and solutions bring to the table, specifically around the HP ProLiant SL4540 and how it really steps up your game when it comes to big data, object storage, and other server based storage instances.

Last month, at the Discover event in Barcelona, we announced the revolutionary HP Big Data Reference Architecture – a major step forward in how we, as a community of users, do Hadoop and big data – and it is a stellar example of how purpose-built solutions can revolutionize how you accelerate IT technology, like big data.   We’re proud that HP is leading the way in driving this new model of innovation, with the support and partnership of the leading voices in Hadoop today.

Here’s the quick version on what the HP Big Data Reference Architecture is all about:

Think about all the Hadoop clusters you’ve implemented in your environment – they could be pilot or production clusters, hosted by developer or business teams, and hosting a variety of applications.  If you’re following standard Hadoop guidance, each instance is most likely a set of general purpose server nodes with local storage.

For example, your IT group may be running a 10 node Hadoop pilot on servers with local drives, your marketing team may have a 25 node Hadoop production cluster monitoring social media on similar servers with local drives, and perhaps similar for the web team tracking logs, the support team tracking customer cases, and sales projecting pipeline – each with their own set of compute + local storage instances.

There’s nothing wrong with that set up – It’s the standard configuration that most people use.  And it works well.

However….

Just imagine if we made a few tweaks to that architecture.

  • What if we replaced the good-enough general purpose nodes, and replaced them with purpose-built nodes?
    • For compute, what if we used HP Moonshot, which is purpose-built for maximum compute density and  price performance?
    • For storage, what if we used HP ProLiant SL4540, which is purpose-built for dense storage capacity, able to get over 3PB of capacity in a single rack?
  • What if we took all the individual silos of storage, and aggregated them into a single volume using the purpose-built SL4540?  This way all the individual compute nodes would be pinging a single volume of storage.
  • And what if we ensured we were using some of the newer high speed Ethernet networking to interconnect the nodes?

Well, we did.

And the results are astounding.

While there is a very apparent cost benefit and easier management, there is a surprising bump in performance in terms of read and write. 

It was a surprise to us in the labs, but we have validated it in a variety of test cases.  It works, and it’s a big deal.

And Hadoop industry leaders agree.

“Apache Hadoop is evolving and it is important that the user and developer communities are included in how the IT infrastructure landscape is changing.  As the leader in driving innovation of the Hadoop platform across the industry, Cloudera is working with and across the technology industry to enable organizations to derive business value from all of their data.  We continue to extend our partnership with HP to provide our customers with an array of platform options for their enterprise data hub deployments.  Customers today can choose to run Cloudera on several HP solutions, including the ultra-dense HP Moonshot, purpose-built HP ProLiant SL4540, and work-horse HP Proliant DL servers.  Together, Cloudera and HP are collaborating on enabling customers to run Cloudera on the HP Big Data architecture, which will provide even more choice to organizations and allow them the flexibility to deploy an enterprise data hub on both traditional and newer infrastructure solutions.” – Tim Stevens, VP Business and Corporate Development, Cloudera

“We are pleased to work closely with HP to enable our joint customers’ journey towards their data lake with the HP Big Data Architecture. Through joint engineering with HP and our work within the Apache Hadoop community, HP customers will be able to take advantage of the latest innovations from the Hadoop community and the additional infrastructure flexibility and optimization of the HP Big Data Architecture.” – Mitch Ferguson, VP Corporate Business Development, Hortonworks

And this is just a sample of what HP is doing to think about “what’s next” when it comes to your IT architecture, Hadoop, and broader big data.  There’s more that we’re working on to make your IT run better, and to lead the communities to improved experience with data.

If you’re just now considering a Hadoop implementation or if you’re deep into your journey with Hadoop, you really need to check into this, so here’s what you can do:

  • my pal, Greg Battas posted on the new architecture and goes technically deep into it, so give his blog a read to learn more about the details.
  • Hortonworks has also weighed in with their own blog.

If you’d like to learn more, you can check out the new published reference architectures that follow this design featuring HP Moonshot and ProLiant SL4540:

If you’re looking for even more information, reach out to your HP rep and mention the HP Big Data Reference Architecture.  They can connect you with the right folks to have a deeper conversation on what’s new and innovative with HP, Hadoop, and big data. And, the fun is just getting started – stay tuned for more!

Until next time,

JOSEPH

@jbgeorge

Purpose-Built Solutions Make a Big Difference In Extracting Data Insights: HP ProLiant SL4500

October 20, 2014 Leave a comment

This is a duplicate of the blog I’ve authored on the HP blog site at http://h30507.www3.hp.com/t5/Hyperscale-Computing-Blog/Purpose-Built-Solutions-Make-a-Big-Difference-In-Extracting-Data/ba-p/173222#.VEUdYrEo70c

Indulge me as I flash back to the summer of 2012 at the Aquatics Center in London, England – it’s the Summer Olympics, where some of the world’s top swimmers, representing a host of nations, are about to kick off the Men’s 100m Freestyle swimming competition. The starter gun fires, and the athletes give it their all in a heated head to head match for the gold.

And the results of the race are astounding: USA’s Nathan Adrian took the gold medal with a time of 47.52 seconds, with Australia’s James Magnussen finishing a mere 0.01 seconds later to claim the silver medal! It was an incredible display of competition, and a real testament to power of the human spirit.

For an event demanding such precise timing, we can only assume that very sensitive and highly calibrated measuring devices were used to capture accurate results. And it’s a good thing they did – fractions of a second separated first and second place.

Now, you and I have both measured time before – we’ve checked our watches to see how long it has been since the workday started, we’ve used our cell phones to see how long we’ve been on the phone, and so on. It got the job done. Surely the Olympic judges at the 2012 Men’s 100m Freestyle had some of these less precise options available – why didn’t they just simply huddle around one of their wrist watches to determine the winner of the gold, silver and bronze?

OK, I am clearly taking this analogy to a silly extent to make a point.

When you get serious about something, you have to step up your game and secure the tools you need to ensure the job gets done properly.

There is a real science behind using purpose-built tools to solve complex challenges, and the same is true with IT challenges, such as those addressed with big data / scale out storage. There are a variety of infrastructure options to deal with the staggering amounts of data, but there are very few purpose built server solutions like HP’s ProLiant SL4500 product – a server solution built SPECIFCIALLY for big data and scale out storage.

The HP ProLiant SL4500 was built to handle your data. Period.

  • It provides an unprecedented drive capacity with over THREE PB in a single rack
  • It delivers scalable performance across multiple drive technologies like SSD, SAS or SATA
  • It provides significant energy savings with shared cooling and power and reduced complexity with fewer cables
  • It offers flexible configurations •A 1-node, 60 large form factor drive configuration, perfect for large scale object storage with software vendors like Cleversafe and Scality, or with open source projects like OpenStack Swift and Ceph
  • A 2-node, 25 drive per node configuration, ideal for running Microsoft Exchange
  • A 3-node, 15 drive per node configuration, optimal for running Hadoop and analytics applications

If you’re serious about big data and scale out storage, it’s time to considering stepping up your game with the SL4500. Purpose-built makes a difference, and the SL4500 was purpose-built to help you make sense of your data.

You can learn more about the SL4500 by talking to your HP rep or by visiting us online at HP ProLiant SL4500 Scalable Systems or at Object Storage Software for ProLiant.

And if you’re here at Hadoop World this week, come on by the HP booth – we’d love to chat about how we can help solve your data challenges with SL4500 based solutions.

Until next time,

Joseph George

@jbgeorge

NOW AVAILABLE: The Dell Red Hat Cloud Solution, powered by RHEL OpenStack Platform!

April 16, 2014 Leave a comment

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This is a duplicate of a blog I posted on del.ly/60119gex.

This week, those of us on the OpenStack and Red Hat OpenStack teams are partying like its 1999! (For those of you who don’t get that reference, read this first.)

Let me provide some context…

In 1999, when Linux was still in the early days of being adopted broadly by the enterprise (similar to an open source cloud project we all know), Dell and Red Hat joined forces to bring the power of Linux to the mainstream enterprise space.

Fast forward to today, and we see some interesting facts:

  • Red Hat has become the world’s first billion dollar open source company
  • 1 out of every 5 servers sold annually runs Linux
  • Enterprise’s view of open source is far more receptive than in the past

So today – Dell and Red Hat are doing it again: this time with OpenStack.

Today, we announce the availability of the Dell Red Hat Cloud Solution, Powered by Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform – a hardware + software + services solution focused on enabling the broader mainstream market with the ability to run and operate OpenStack backed by Dell and Red Hat.  This is a hardened architecture, a validated distribution of OpenStack, additional software, and services / support to get you going and keep you going, and lets you:

  • Accelerate your time to value with jointly engineered open, flexible components and purpose engineered configurations to maximize choice and eliminate lock-in
  • Expand on your own terms with open, modular architectures and stable OpenStack technologies that can scale out to meet your evolving IT and business needs
  • Embrace agility with open compute, storage, and networking technologies to transform your application development, delivery, and management
  • Provide leadership to your organization with new agile, open IT services capable of massive scalability to meet dynamic business demands

Here is one more data point to consider – Dell’s IT organization is using the RHEL OpenStack Platform as a foundational element for incubating new technologies with a self-service cloud infrastructure. Now, that is pretty strong statement about how an OpenStack cloud can help IT drive innovation in a global scale organization.

At the end of the day, both Dell and Red Hat are committed to getting OpenStack to the enterprise with the right level of certification, validation, training, and support.

We’ve done it before with RHEL, and we’re going to do it again with OpenStack.

Until next time,

JOSEPH
@jbgeorge

 

 

Day 2: Big Data Innovation Summit 2014 #DataWest14

April 11, 2014 2 comments

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Levi's StadiumHello again big data fans – from where I’ve learned the San Francisco 49’ers will be playing their 2014 NFL season at Levi’s Stadium… Santa Clara!

(BTW, the stadium – from what I could see – is beautiful!  I’m a big NFL fan, and there’s now another reason to come to the San Jose area, other than all the cloud / big data conferences.)

Got a lot of great feedback on yesterday’s “Day 1″ post of the summit, so here are some observations from the final day of the conference.

  • Yahoo’s Duru Ahanotu spoke through driving efficiency in how data teams are organized, going through the permutations of generalists vs specialists and centralized vs de-centralized, and how to best address teams in each model.
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  • PayPal’s Moises Nascimento (who is a very captivating speaker) drove the point home, that though we are now adopting many of the new data technologies like Hadoop and NoSQL, most of our existing data sources and toolsets still provide value – so there is value in leveraging ALL data sources.
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  • Moises also made a point of highlighting that data manipulation is best handled at the SYSTEM level, while data analysis is better managed at the ENTERPRISE level
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  • In HP’s discussion, they introduced the concept of the GEOBYTE – 10^30 bytes, a size of data that the human race is expected to hit in the next few years.

To provide context on the magnitude of a GEOBYTE (10^30 bytes), there is estimated to only be 10^19 GRAINS OF SAND ON THE EARTH.  Think about that for a second.

  • The team also highlighted their view on “Big BI” vs “Big Data”
    • Big BI – same types of analysis but on more data; more batch processing; results that were not easily actionable
    • Big Data – joining datasets that have not been previously joined, near real time analysis, action oriented results
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  • I thought Ancestry.com had one of the best sessions of the event, as they went deep into the GERMLINE algorithm that was the foundation of their business technology, and how they had to create jermline (now with a “j”) based on Hadoop / HDFS to create a SCALABLE matching engine.  As we all know, SCALE matters. The performance and speed benchmarks between the “G” project and the “j” project were mindblowing.
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  • Finally, sat in on the Netflix session – in addition to being a big fan of Netflix, as both a consumer and a tech observer, I’ve always been impressed with the way Netflix has evolved their business, and continues to do so.  In this session, they went into great detail on their use of the Amazon cloud services, and their open source projects as a layer above to enhance functionality and deploy features.  Topics touched on included red / black deployment to allow ease of features into production, and the importance of graceful degradation, so that a failure can be less of a catastrophic event for the end user.
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    • One very telling statement is really a commentary on the value of use and participation in the open source process – Netflix was clear that they see value in being an open source contributor / leader is that it preserves the future of their systems – rather than sitting back and letting the industry decide their direction with tools and tech, Netflix uses open source to help drive and lead the industry to where they see value.
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  • (I did resist the urge to ask the Netflix presenter when the next season of “House of Cards” would come out. :) )
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One of the frequent questions that came up at the Dell booth was “what is Dell doing in big data?”

The answer?  Actually… quite a bit, and for quite a while.

Between the Dell Apache Hadoop HW+SW+Services Solution, the Toad BI suite, the Kitenga analytics toolsets, and our growing HPC business, Dell has been a part of this movement since its early days.  I’d recommend you drop us a line at Hadoop@Dell.com or visit us at http://www.Dell.com/Hadoop to learn more.

If you were out at the show this week, be sure to leave a comment on your thoughts as well.

Hope everyone has safe trips home, and we’ll see you at the next big data get-together!

Until next time,

JBG
@jbgeorge
BDIS 2014

Day 1: Big Data Innovation Summit 2014

April 10, 2014 Leave a comment

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Hello from sunny, Santa Clara!BDIS Keynote Day 1

My team and I are here at the BIG DATA INNOVATION SUMMIT representing Dell (the company I work for), and it’s been a great day one.

I just wanted to take a few minutes to jot down some interesting ideas I heard today:

  • In Daniel Austin’s keynote, he addressed that the “Internet of things” should really be the “individual network of things” – highlighting that the number of devices, their connectivity, their availability, and their partitioning is what will be key in the future.
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  • One data point that also came out of Daniel’s talk – every person is predicted to generate 20 PETABYTES of data over the course of a lifetime!
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  • Juan Lavista of Bing hit on a number of key myths around big data:
    • the most important part of big data is its size
    • to do big data, all you need is Hadoop
    • with big data, theory is no longer needed
    • data scientists are always right :)

QUOTE OF THE DAY:  “Correlation does not yield causation.” – Juan Lavista (Bing)

  • Anthony Scriffignano was quick to admonish the audience that “it’s not just about data, it’s not just about the math…  [data] relationships matter.”
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  • The state of Utah state government is taking a very progressive view to areas that analytics can help drive efficiency in at that level – census data use, welfare system fraud, etc.  And it appears Utah is taking a leadership position in doing so.

I also had the privilege of moderating a panel on the topic of the convergence between HPC and the big data spaces, with representatives on the panel from Dell (Armando Acosta), Intel (Brent Gorda), and the Texas Advanced Computing Center (Niall Gaffney).  Some great discussion about the connections between the two, plus tech talk on the Lustre plug-in and the SLURM resource management project.

Additionally, Dell product strategists Sanjeet Singh and Joey Jablonski presented on a number of real user implementations of big data and analytics technologies – from university student retention projects to building a true centralized, enterprise data hub.  Extremely informative.

All in all, a great day one!

If you’re out here, stop by and visit us at the Dell booth.  We’ll be showcasing our hadoop and big data solutions, as well as some of the analytics capabilities we offer.

(We’ll also be giving away a Dell tablet on Thursday at 1:30, so be sure to get entered into the drawing early.)

Stay tuned, and I’ll drop another update tomorrow.

Until next time,

JOSEPH
@jbgeorge

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