July 25, 2013

Hosted Graphite is an open-source, application metrics system that lets you measure, analyze, and visualize large amounts of data about your applications and backend systems, without worrying about setting up your own server and dealing with scaling, backups, or maintenance. They use Riak to store all of their metrics – a time series collection of name-value data.

Hosted Graphite was originally using Whisper, a fixed-size database, which stored their time series data as binaries on disk. However, its focus on simplicity meant that it didn’t offer replication or other helpful features. As their data set grew, they knew they’d need to switch to a system that could more easily distribute their data and scale effectively. Additionally, since there weren’t any plans to hire past the existing two-person ops team, they needed a system that provided always-on availability (as any failures are highly visible to their customers) and operational simplicity.

Based on their criteria, they were able to quickly rule out many other database options. When they came across Riak, it fit all of their requirements and looked operationally friendly, so they decided to try it. They were able to easily get Riak into production and have been live with Riak since June of 2012.

Hosted Graphite runs two Riak clusters and a total of nine nodes. They are currently storing 1.5 billion keys and see 60 GB of growth per day across their nodes. They use both the Bitcask and LevelDB backends.

As Charlie von Metzradt, co-founder of Hosted Graphite, said, “Launching with Riak has helped us sleep at night. We don’t need to worry when a node or two goes down, as we can just deal with it later. For a two person team, this has been invaluable.”

For more information on Hosted Graphite’s experiences with Riak, check out Charlie’s talk from a recent meetup.

You can also visit basho.com to see if Riak is the right fit for your data.