January 22, 2014
Before heading over to 25 Lusk for the RICON West 2013 after party, Engine Yard sponsored the Lightning Talks at the end of Day One. Lightning Talks are 5-10 minute presentations by the attendees of RICON. Lightning Talks can cover a wide range of topics, including new projects being worked on, new services being built, or how a company is using Riak.
This past RICON West featured 11 speakers, including:
- Ines Sombra (EngineYard) discussing EngineYard’s Cloud and hosted Riak
- Armon Dadgar (HashiCorp) discussing Serf
- Michael Shavell (Symantec) discussing how the Norton Notification Service uses Riak
- Chris Meiklejohn (Basho) discussing Verified Vector Clocks
- Heinz Gies (Project FiFo) discussing Project FiFo
- Chris Doherty (Ooyala) discussing Communicating Effectively
- Jason Johnson (SoftLayer) discussing filesystems
- Kyle Kingsbury (Factual) discussing Skuld
- Nicolas Favre-Felix (Acunu) discussing CRDTs for real-time analytics
- Joe DeVivo (Basho) discussing Cuttlefish
- Christopher Merz (SolidFire) discussing Riak on SolidFire
You can watch all of the Lightning Talks below.
To watch all of the sessions from RICON West 2013, visit the Basho Technologies Youtube Channel.
October 31, 2013
If you attended RICON West, we’d love to hear your feedback! Please fill out the survey here.
Thanks to everyone who helped make the sold-out RICON West a huge success! RICON has come a long way in just one year and we are excited to see how it grows and evolves in the future.
RICON West featured over 25 speakers from academia and industry, including speakers from Basho, Google, Microsoft Research, Netflix, Salesforce, Seagate, The Weather Company, and Twitter. Over two days, they discussed the theory, practice, and importance of running distributed systems in production as well as some predictions on what’s in store for the future. Over the next few weeks, we will be posting slides and videos from all of the talks on both ricon.io and the blog.
In case you missed it, we also received some great press. Here’s a quick recap:
- “Salesforce’s data-center design: ‘Go for web scale, and build it out of s**t!’“
- “What do we want? Strong consistency! When do we… oh, it’s in Riak v2“
What’s next for RICON? With three conferences already under our belt, we are excited to get to work on RICON Europe (our first international conference!) and continue RICON East. Keep an eye on Ricon.io and our blog for more details.
RICON West was also paired with a one-day Riak training. We plan on making these a more regular occurrence all over the country.
October 7, 2013
RICON West, Basho’s distributed systems conference, is quickly approaching at the end of October. This event will feature speakers from both academia and industry, presenting on a wide variety of distributed systems topics. This installment of RICON will be the largest to date and it would not be possible without our amazing sponsors.
Similar to the RICON speaker lineup, the sponsors stem from a variety of different industries. Current sponsors include Seagate, Engine Yard, Yammer, Google, SoftLayer, and Tower3. Additionally, this year RICON has its first media sponsorship from The Register. The Register’s Jack Clark has put together a list of the sessions that he’s most excited about attending in his article, “Distributed Systems Boffins Flock to RICON West.”
RICON West will be at the St. Regis in San Francisco from October 29-30th. In addition to the conference, Basho will be hosting a one-day Riak training the day before (October 28th). Be sure and grab tickets to both before they sell out!
October 1, 2013
On October 29-30th, RICON West will take over the St. Regis in San Francisco. RICON is Basho’s distributed systems conference that brings together engineers, developers, scientists, and architects. You can purchase tickets for this almost sold-out event here: ricon-west-2013.eventbrite.com/
This year’s keynote speaker is Jeff Dean, Google Fellow at Google Inc. His talk entitled, “The Tail at Scale: Achieving Rapid Response Times in Large Online Services,” will describe a collection of techniques and practices that lower response times in large distributed systems whose components run on shared clusters of machines, where pieces of these systems are subject to interference by other tasks, and where unpredictable latency hiccups are the norm, not the exception. He will also share examples of how these techniques are used in various pieces of Google’s systems infrastructure and in various higher-level online services.
RICON West also features speakers from academia and industry, including: Peter Bailis (UC Berkeley), Justin Sheehy (Basho), Pat Helland (Salesforce.com), Jeff Hodges (Twitter), Diego Ongaro (Stanford University), Susan Potter (Finsignia), Ryland Degnan and Jason Brown (Netflix), Miles O’Connell (StackMob), Derek Murray (Microsoft), Raja Selvaraj and Arvinda Gillella (The Weather Company), and many others.
If you’ll be in San Francisco on Oct. 28th, we will also be hosting a full-day Riak training. This training will teach you everything you need to know to start building highly available, scalable systems on Riak. Tickets to both the training and RICON are still available.
Be sure to grab tickets to RICON West before they sell out and see you in San Francisco!
August 6, 2013
Basho would not be where we are today without the valuable partnerships we have forged. Our partners have made Riak much more accessible and powerful. If you’re not familiar with our range of partners, check out our Partnership Page.
A large part of our partnership program is with hosting providers. Currently, we partner with five hosting providers:
Amazon Web Services: Riak can be quickly implemented via the AMI available on the Amazon Marketplace. To help you set up and configure a Riak cluster with this AMI, check out our blog post that walks you through the process. If AMI isn’t the right option for you, we have a few other deployment options available as well.
Windows Azure: Riak is a fully supported and tested NoSQL database option available on the Microsoft VM Depot. You can quickly deploy a virtual machine image or manually install via our packaging tools. You can learn more about this partnership on our blog.
Engine Yard: Hosted Riak is officially supported on the Engine Yard cloud platform. A Riak cluster can be deployed as simply as defining some configuration values and clicking “Add Cluster.” Ines Sombra, Lead Data Engineer at Engine Yard, has put together a talk to help you get started using Riak in cloud environments.
Joyent: Riak SmartMachines, developed in partnership with Joyent, enable SmartOS users to quickly deploy Riak on the Joyent infrastructure. These SmartMachines are scalable, fault-tolerant, open source key/value database servers intended to be the primary data storage mechanism in production applications. Check out Joyent’s site for more information.
SoftLayer: Riak and Riak Enterprise are available on SoftLayer’s global cloud platform. Customers can design and deploy a complete solution through SoftLayer’s solution designer and leverage the global footprint of SoftLayer data centers to provide for multi-datacenter replication. Check out our blog post for more information.
May 14, 2013
We hope you all enjoyed the first day of RICON East. There were some great talks yesterday and we’re looking forward to even more today. As a reminder, all of the talks are being live streamed here, just in case you weren’t able to get your ticket in time.
We wanted to give a quick shout out to all of the great sponsors of RICON East this year. This conference would not be possible without them. A big thank you to Fastly, Meraki, Engine Yard, SoftLayer, NoSQL Weekly, OmniTI, Erlang Solutions, Github, and GoFactory for all of your help!
We also just announced the date and location for RICON West, happening October 29-30th at the St. Regis Hotel in San Francisco. Full conference details are available at the official conference RICON West site, and we’ve already got some great speakers announced. Tickets are available for the early bird price of $299 for a limited time. We hope to see you in October!
April 17, 2013
This post looks at five commonly asked questions about Riak. For more questions and answers, check out our Riak FAQ.
What hardware should I use with Riak?
Riak is designed to be run on commodity hardware and is run in production on a variety of different server types on both private and public infrastructure. However, there are several key considerations when choosing the right infrastructure for your Riak deployment.
RAM is one of the most important factors – RAM availability directly affects what Riak backend you should use (see question below), and is also required for complex MapReduce queries. In terms of disk space, Riak automatically replicates data according to a configurable n_val. A bucket-level property that defaults to 3, n_val determines how many copies of each object will be stored, and provides the inherent redundancy underlying Riak’s fault-tolerance and high availability. Your hardware choice should take into consideration how many objects you plan to store and the replication factor, however, Riak is designed for horizontal scale and lets you easily add capacity by joining additional nodes to your cluster. Additional factors that might affect choice of hardware include IO capacity, especially for heavy write loads, and intra-cluster bandwidth. For additional factors in capacity planning, check out our documentation on cluster capacity planning.
Riak is explicitly supported on several cloud infrastructure providers. Basho provides free Riak AMIs for use on AWS. We recommend using large, extra large, and cluster compute instance types on Amazon EC2 for optimal performance. Learn more in our documentation on performance tuning for AWS. Engine Yard provides hosted Riak solutions, and we also offer virtual machine images for the Microsoft VM Depot.
What backend is best for my application?
Riak offers several different storage backends to support use cases with different operational profiles. Bitcask and LevelDB are the most commonly used backends.
Bitcask was developed in-house at Basho to offer extremely fast read/write performance and high throughput. Bitcask is the default storage engine for Riak and ships with it. Bitcask uses an in-memory hash-table of all keys you write to Riak, which points directly to the on-disk location of the value. The direct lookup from memory means Bitcask never uses more than one disk seek to read data. Writes are also very fast with Bitcask’s write-once, append-only design. Bitcask also offers benefits like easier backups and fast crash recovery. The inherent limitation is that your system must have enough memory to contain your entire keyspace, with room for a few other operational components. However, unless you have an extremely large number of keys, Bitcask fits many datasets. Visit our documentation for more details on Bitcask, and use the Bitcask Capacity Calculator to assist you with sizing your cluster.
LevelDB is an open-source, on-disk key-value store from Google. Basho maintains a version of LevelDB tuned specifically for Riak. LevelDB doesn’t have Bitcask’s memory constraints around keyspace size, and thus is ideal for deployments with a very large number of keys. In addition to this advantage, LevelDB uses Google Snappy data compression, which provides particular efficiency for text data like raw text, Base64, JSON, HTML, etc. To use LevelDB with Riak, you must the change the storage backend variable in the app.config file. You can find more details on LevelDB here.
Riak also offers a Memory storage backend that does not persist data and is used simply for testing or small amounts of transient state. You can also run multiple backends within a single Riak instance, which is useful if you want to use different backends for different Riak buckets or use a different storage configuration for some buckets. For in-depth information on Riak’s storage backends, see our documentation on choosing a backend.
How do I model data using Riak’s key/value design?
Riak uses a key/value design to store data. Key/value pairs comprise objects, which are stored in buckets. Buckets are flat namespaces with some configurable properties, such as the replication factor. One frequent question we get is how to build applications using the key/value scheme. The unique needs of your application should be taken into account when structuring it, but here are some common approaches to typical use cases. Note that Riak is content-agnostic, so values can be any content type.
|Session||User/Session ID||Session Data|
|Content||Title, Integer||Document, Image, Post, Video, Text, JSON/HTML, etc.|
|Advertising||Campaign ID||Ad Content|
|Sensor||Date, Date/Time||Sensor Updates|
|User Data||Login, Email, UUID||User Attributes|
For more comprehensive information on building applications with Riak’s key/value design, view the use cases section of our documentation.
What other options, besides strict key/value access, are there for querying Riak?
Most operations done with Riak will be reading and writing key/value pairs to Riak. However, Riak exposes several other features for searching and accessing data: MapReduce, full-text search, and secondary indexing.
Riak also provides Riak Search, a full-text search engine that indexes documents on write and provides an easy, robust query language and SOLR-like API. Riak Search is ideal for indexing content like posts, user bios, articles, and other documents, as well as indexing JSON data. For more information, see the documentation on Riak Search.
Secondary indexing allows you to tag objects in Riak with one or more queryable values. These “tags” can then be queried by exact or range value for integers and strings. Secondary indexing is great for simple tagging and searching Riak objects for additional attributes. Check out more details here.
How does Riak differ from other databases?
We often get asked how Riak is different from other databases and other technologies. While an in-depth analysis is outside the scope of this post, the below should point you in the right direction.
Riak is often used by applications and companies with a primary background in relational databases, such as MySQL. Most people who move from a relational database to Riak cite a few reasons. For one, Riak’s masterless, fault-tolerant, read/write available design make it a better fit for data that must be highly available and resilient to failure scenarios. Second, Riak’s operational profile and use of consistent hashing means data is automatically redistributed as you add machines, avoiding hot spots in the database and manual resharding efforts. Riak is also chosen over relational databases for the multi-datacenter capabilities provided in Riak Enterprise. A more detailed look at the difference between Riak and traditional databases and how to make the switch can be found in this whitepaper, From Relational to Riak.
A more detailed look at the technical differences between Riak and other NoSQL databases can be found in the comparisons section of our documentation, which covers databases such as MongoDB, Couchbase, Neo4j, Cassandra, and others.
April 10, 2013
Earlier this year, we announced that hosted Riak is now available on the Engine Yard platform. Ines Sombra, Lead Data Engineer at Engine Yard, has put together a talk to help you get started using Riak in cloud environments. This talk introduces Riak’s overall architecture, some common use cases, and goes over some questions to consider when choosing a database. It also discusses what you need to know to run Riak in the cloud and how it differs from traditional hardware installation.
You can view the full talk below:
January 25, 2013
Today we’re excited to introduce early access of Riak on Engine Yard! You can also learn more on the Engine Yard blog. With Riak on Engine Yard, you can deploy a Riak cluster as simply as defining some configuration values and clicking “Add Cluster.”
A common theme, in several of our recent blog posts, has been Basho’s key focus on ease of deployment. We excel in making highly available, low latency, distributed systems. Engine Yard’s strengths lie in providing a hardened and secure Platform as a Service where you can manage your entire platform while retaining control of the environment. In addition, Engine Yard is well known for its contributions to the Ruby, PHP, and Node.js communities. The introduction of Riak on Engine Yard further validates customer demand for reliable and easy to use cloud solutions.
If you were at Ricon2012, you were probably one of the many who attended a talk entitled “Riak in the Cloud.” If you were unable to attend, you missed an amazing session where Ines Sombra and Michael Broadhead from Engine Yard spoke about their experiences with Riak and deploying it in the cloud. It’s great to see the lessons of distributed systems that were discussed translated into reality.
We look forward to seeing what the Basho community builds using Riak on Engine Yard. Get started now with 500 hours for free on their platform.
September 9, 2010
At long last we have all the details ironed out for the upcoming September Riak Meetup in San Francisco. The crew here in SF is quite excited about this month’s event, and here’s why:
Date: Thursday, Sept. 23rd
Location: Engine Yard Offices, located at 500 Third Street, Suite 510
- 7:15 – Riak Basics
After the first meetup, one of the attendees remarked, “Good, but looking for some basics and some hands on demo as well.” Admittedly, this is something we could have addressed a bit better. So at the beginning of this meetup (as well as all meetups moving forward) we are going to devote at least 15 minutes to discuss Riak basics. There are no stupid questions. Ask away.
- 7:30 – Riak vs Git: NOSQL Battle Royale
Presenter: Rick Olson, Github
This talk will compare and contrast Riak and Git on their merits as key/value stores, and look at how the two can work together.
- 8:00 – From Riak to RabbitMQ
Presenter: Andy Gross, Basho Technologies
This will cover using Riak to publish to RabbitMQ using post-commit hooks and gen_bunny.
- 8:30 – General Riak/Distributed Systems Conversation and Networking
Note: There is only seating for 50, so you’ll want to get there on time to secure a seat.
Basho will be providing food (pizza) and refreshments (beer, soda, etc.). And for those of you who can’t join us next Thursday, I will also be filming the talks with the goal of posting them online if everything goes to plan.
You can RSVP on the Riak Meetup Page. So go do it. Now!
Hope to see you there.