Welcome!

API Journal Authors: Liz McMillan, Rishi Bhargava, Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, Kevin Benedict

Blog Feed Post

In-Memory Data Grid: Explained…

In-memory processing has been a pretty hot topic lately. Many companies that historically would not have considered using in-memory technology because it was cost prohibitive are now changing their core systems’ architectures to take advantage of the low-latency transaction processing that in-memory technology offers. This is a consequence of the fact that the price of RAM is dropping significantly and rapidly and as a result, it has become economical to load the entire operational dataset into memory with performance improvements of over 1000x faster. In-Memory Compute and Data Grids provide the core capabilities of an in-memory architecture.

The goal of In-Memory Data Grids (IMDG) is to provide extremely high availability of data by keeping it in memory and in highly distributed (i.e. parallelized) fashion. By loading Terabytes of data into memory IMDGs are able to work with most of the Big Data processing requirements today.

At a very high level IMDG is a distributed object store similar in interface to a typical concurrent hash map. You store objects with keys. Unlike traditional systems where keys and values are often limited to byte arrays or strings – with IMDGs you can use any domain object as either value or key. This gives tremendous flexibility by allowing to keep exactly the same object your business logic is dealing with in the Data Grid without the extra step of marshaling and de-marshaling alternative technologies would require. It also simplifies the usage of data grid as you can in most cases interface with distributed data store as with a simple hash map. Being able to work with domain objects directly is one of the main differences between IMDGs and In-Memory Databases (IMDB). With the latter, users still need to perform Object-To-Relational Mapping which typically adds significant performance overhead.

There are also some other features in IMDGs that distinguish them from other products, such as NoSql databases, IMDBs, or NewSql databases. One of the main differences would be truly scalable Data Partitioning across cluster. Essentially IMDGs in their purest form can be viewed as distributed hash maps with every key cached on a particular cluster node – the bigger the cluster, the more data you can cache. The trick to this architecture is to make sure that you collocate your processing with the cluster nodes where data is cached to make sure that all cache operations become local and that there is no (or minimal) data movement within the cluster. In fact, when using well designed IMDGs, there should be absolutely no data movement on stable topologies – the only time when some of the data is moved is when new nodes join in or some existing nodes leave, hence causing some data repartitioning within the cluster.

The picture below shows a classic IMDG with a key set of {k1, k2, k3} where each key belongs to a different node. The external database component is optional. If present, then IMDGs will usually automatically read data from the database or write data to it.

Another distinguishing characteristic of IMDGs is Transactional ACID support. Generally a 2-phase-commit (2PC) protocol is used to ensure data consistency within cluster. Different IMDGs will have different underlying locking mechanisms, but usually more advanced implementations will provide concurrent locking mechanisms (like MVCC – multi-version concurrency control) and reduce network chattiness to a minimum, hence guaranteeing transactional ACID consistency with very high performance.

Data consistency is one of the main differences between IMDGs and NoSQL databases. NoSQL databases are usually designed on top of Eventual Consistency (EC) approach where data is allowed to be inconsistent for a period of time as long as it will become consistent *eventually*. Generally, the writes on EC-based systems are somewhat fast, but reads are slow (or to be more precise, as fast as writes are). Latest IMDGs with an *optimized* 2PC should at least match if not outperform EC-based systems on writes, and be significantly faster on reads. It is interesting to note that the industry has made a full circle moving from a then-slow 2PC approach to the EC approach, and now from EC to an *optimized* 2PC which often is significantly faster.

Different products provide different 2PC optimizations, but generally the purpose of all optimizations is to increase concurrency, minimize network overhead, and reduce the number of locks a transaction requires to complete. As an example, Google’s distributed global database, Spanner, is based on a transactional 2PC approach simply because 2PC provided a faster and more straightforward way to guarantee data consistency and high throughput compared to MapReduce or EC.

Even though IMDGs usually share some common basic functionality, there are many features and implementation details that are different between vendors. When evaluating an IMDG product pay attention to eviction policies, (pre)loading techniques, concurrent repartitioning, memory overhead, etc… Also pay attention to the ability to query data at runtime. Some IMDGs, such as GridGain for example, allow users to query in-memory data using standard SQL, including support for distributed joins, which is pretty rare.

The typical use for IMDGs is to partition data across the cluster and then send collocated computations to the nodes where the data is. Since computations are usually part of Compute Grids and have to be properly deployed, load-balanced, failed-over, or scheduled, the integration between Compute Grids and IMDGs is very important. It is especially beneficial if both In-Memory Compute and Data Grids are part of the same product and utlize the same APIs which removes the need of integration and usually renders utmost performant and reliable systems.

IMDGs (together with Compute Grids) are used throughout a wide spectrum of industries in applications as diverse as Risk Analytics, Trading Systems, Bio Informatics, eCommerce, or Online Gaming. Essentially every project that struggles with scalability and performance can benefit from In-Memory Processing and IMDG architecture.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Thomas Krafft

Over 15 years of experience in marketing and demand creation, with strategies driving over $500 million in revenue for a variety of companies in several high-growth and competitive markets, including consumer software and web services, ecommerce, demand creation through web and search, big data, and now healthcare.

@ThingsExpo Stories
Data is an unusual currency; it is not restricted by the same transactional limitations as money or people. In fact, the more that you leverage your data across multiple business use cases, the more valuable it becomes to the organization. And the same can be said about the organization’s analytics. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Bill Schmarzo, CTO for the Big Data Practice at EMC, will introduce a methodology for capturing, enriching and sharing data (and analytics) across the organizati...
DevOps at Cloud Expo, taking place Nov 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 19th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. 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 dev...
I'm a lonely sensor. I spend all day telling the world how I'm feeling, but none of the other sensors seem to care. I want to be connected. I want to build relationships with other sensors to be more useful for my human. I want my human to understand that when my friends next door are too hot for a while, I'll soon be flaming. And when all my friends go outside without me, I may be left behind. Don't just log my data; use the relationship graph. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Ryan Boyd, Engi...
The vision of a connected smart home is becoming reality with the application of integrated wireless technologies in devices and appliances. The use of standardized and TCP/IP networked wireless technologies in line-powered and battery operated sensors and controls has led to the adoption of radios in the 2.4GHz band, including Wi-Fi, BT/BLE and 802.15.4 applied ZigBee and Thread. This is driving the need for robust wireless coexistence for multiple radios to ensure throughput performance and th...
The Internet of Things can drive efficiency for airlines and airports. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Shyam Varan Nath, Principal Architect with GE, and Sudip Majumder, senior director of development at Oracle, will discuss the technical details of the connected airline baggage and related social media solutions. These IoT applications will enhance travelers' journey experience and drive efficiency for the airlines and the airports. The session will include a working demo and a technical d...
SYS-CON Events announced today the Enterprise IoT Bootcamp, being held November 1-2, 2016, in conjunction with 19th Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Combined with real-world scenarios and use cases, the Enterprise IoT Bootcamp is not just based on presentations but with hands-on demos and detailed walkthroughs. We will introduce you to a variety of real world use cases prototyped using Arduino, Raspberry Pi, BeagleBone, Spark, and Intel Edison. Y...
Fact is, enterprises have significant legacy voice infrastructure that’s costly to replace with pure IP solutions. How can we bring this analog infrastructure into our shiny new cloud applications? There are proven methods to bind both legacy voice applications and traditional PSTN audio into cloud-based applications and services at a carrier scale. Some of the most successful implementations leverage WebRTC, WebSockets, SIP and other open source technologies. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Da...
If you’re responsible for an application that depends on the data or functionality of various IoT endpoints – either sensors or devices – your brand reputation depends on the security, reliability, and compliance of its many integrated parts. If your application fails to deliver the expected business results, your customers and partners won't care if that failure stems from the code you developed or from a component that you integrated. What can you do to ensure that the endpoints work as expect...
Information technology is an industry that has always experienced change, and the dramatic change sweeping across the industry today could not be truthfully described as the first time we've seen such widespread change impacting customer investments. However, the rate of the change, and the potential outcomes from today's digital transformation has the distinct potential to separate the industry into two camps: Organizations that see the change coming, embrace it, and successful leverage it; and...
SYS-CON Events announced today that China Unicom will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. China United Network Communications Group Co. Ltd ("China Unicom") was officially established in 2009 on the basis of the merger of former China Netcom and former China Unicom. China Unicom mainly operates a full range of telecommunications services including mobile broadband (GSM, WCDMA, LTE F...
Enterprise IT has been in the era of Hybrid Cloud for some time now. But it seems most conversations about Hybrid are focused on integrating AWS, Microsoft Azure, or Google ECM into existing on-premises systems. Where is all the Private Cloud? What do technology providers need to do to make their offerings more compelling? How should enterprise IT executives and buyers define their focus, needs, and roadmap, and communicate that clearly to the providers?
The Transparent Cloud-computing Consortium (abbreviation: T-Cloud Consortium) will conduct research activities into changes in the computing model as a result of collaboration between "device" and "cloud" and the creation of new value and markets through organic data processing High speed and high quality networks, and dramatic improvements in computer processing capabilities, have greatly changed the nature of applications and made the storing and processing of data on the network commonplace.
SYS-CON Events announced today that SoftLayer, an IBM Company, has been named “Gold Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York, New York. SoftLayer, an IBM Company, provides cloud infrastructure as a service from a growing number of data centers and network points of presence around the world. SoftLayer’s customers range from Web startups to global enterprises.
Digital innovation is the next big wave of business transformation based on digital technologies of which IoT and Big Data are key components, For example: Business boundary innovation is a challenge to excavate third-party business value using IoT and BigData, like Nest Business structure innovation may propose re-building business structure from scratch, as Uber does in the taxicab industry The social model innovation is also a big challenge to the new social architecture with the design fr...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Pulzze Systems will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Pulzze Systems, Inc. provides infrastructure products for the Internet of Things to enable any connected device and system to carry out matched operations without programming. For more information, visit http://www.pulzzesystems.com.
IoT is fundamentally transforming the auto industry, turning the vehicle into a hub for connected services, including safety, infotainment and usage-based insurance. Auto manufacturers – and businesses across all verticals – have built an entire ecosystem around the Connected Car, creating new customer touch points and revenue streams. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Macario Namie, Head of IoT Strategy at Cisco Jasper, will share real-world examples of how IoT transforms the car from a static p...
Big Data has been changing the world. IoT fuels the further transformation recently. How are Big Data and IoT related? In his session at @BigDataExpo, Tony Shan, a renowned visionary and thought leader, will explore the interplay of Big Data and IoT. He will anatomize Big Data and IoT separately in terms of what, which, why, where, when, who, how and how much. He will then analyze the relationship between IoT and Big Data, specifically the drilldown of how the 4Vs of Big Data (Volume, Variety,...
The many IoT deployments around the world are busy integrating smart devices and sensors into their enterprise IT infrastructures. Yet all of this technology – and there are an amazing number of choices – is of no use without the software to gather, communicate, and analyze the new data flows. Without software, there is no IT. In this power panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists will look at the protocols that communicate data and the emerging data analy...
Video experiences should be unique and exciting! But that doesn’t mean you need to patch all the pieces yourself. Users demand rich and engaging experiences and new ways to connect with you. But creating robust video applications at scale can be complicated, time-consuming and expensive. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Zohar Babin, Vice President of Platform, Ecosystem and Community at Kaltura, will discuss how VPaaS enables you to move fast, creating scalable video experiences that reach your...
WebRTC adoption has generated a wave of creative uses of communications and collaboration through websites, sales apps, customer care and business applications. As WebRTC has become more mainstream it has evolved to use cases beyond the original peer-to-peer case, which has led to a repeating requirement for interoperability with existing infrastructures. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Graham Holt, Executive Vice President of Daitan Group, will cover implementation examples that have enabled ea...