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.
New York, NY– July 24, 2013 – Basho is a proud sponsor and exhibitor of DevCon5 2013, the HTML5 and mobile application developer conference. DevCon5 takes place July 24-25 in New York, NY.
DevCon5 is a conference where both front and back end developers are familiarized with disruptive technologies that enable UX/UI and back end mobile development. While this is Basho’s first year at DevCon, their distributed database, Riak, is already a key tool for backend mobile developers looking to provide “always on” user experiences. Due to Riak’s redundant, fault-tolerant design, Riak also provides a consistently fast mobile user experience that can easily scale and support highly concurrent access. It is currently used to power mobile applications like Voxer, Bump, and Rovio. For more information on how mobile applications and platforms can use Riak, download “Mobile on Riak: A Technical Introduction.”
In addition to sponsoring, Basho UX/UI Lead Designer, Sarah Drasner, will be speaking at DevCon5. Drasner’s talk, “CSS Animations to Tell A Story” will be a deep-dive into creating scalable web graphics for maximum impact, while telling a broader story of emerging tools that allow for less operational complexities and amplified impact. Like Basho’s flagship product Riak, Drasner will discuss how technologies are shifting to meet emerging business requirements, while minimizing immediate operational burdens and enabling ease of scale.
Drasner’s talk begins at 3:30pm ET on Wednesday, July 24th.
July 24, 2013
It is tempting, when considering documentation, to decide that it is “someone else’s problem.” In truth, writing and maintaining documentation is a cross-disciplinary function. Content is paramount, clarity and comprehension of design determines whether the content is accessible, and information architecture will expedite learning…or frustration.
At Basho, we are proud of our documentation. All design, updates, and edits are done in the open and we encourage community participation. Recently, we launched a major refresh to our docs and, in the interest of sharing our learnings with our community, we wanted to describe some of the ideas and principles behind it.
With this recent update, we were particularly interested in a clean and legible design. We wanted a redesign that was easy to read, easy to reference, and easy to reuse.
To that end, we updated the font set to include a serif and a sans serif (Gandhi and Open Sans, respectively). Our design team selected two open source types that worked well together, but also had the best cross-browser and cross-display consistency.
We made the text larger, changed its color to be black on white for higher contrast, and limited the width of the page for ease of reading (à la Matthew Butterick’s suggestions). This focus on legibility allows us to scale content within the same design theme as needed.
As we continue updating Riak, prior documentation remains relevant and accessible. Previously, the Riak version selection was displayed horizontally, with all major releases visible. We added a selection menu that flows vertically and now only indicates the currently-viewed product version.
The navigation has also been updated so the collapse behavior maintains state across pages and links to the Help Page and GitHub repository remain static.
To appeal to our audience of both developers and operators, we now have two distinct tracks of content that are highlighted and organized in the left-hand navigation menu. These tracks are bookended by new introductory content (a slimmed-down version of “The Riak Fast Track”) and conceptual information relevant to both developers and operators.
Furthermore, since developers tend to actually write code, our examples are being refreshed to use code samples, rather than HTTP calls. This will be an ongoing process.
Where Art Meets Science
The decisions about the documentation refresh combined instinct, preference, and empirical data about usage. As the community provides feedback, we will continue to make changes to improve usability.
As with any project of this scope, many members of the Basho team were involved: our engineers who write documentation, the Docs Cabal that managed the process, and the Basho design team that provided dozens of possible designs. This distributed team was able to leverage the best of each others work to produce something beautiful and, most important of all, useful.
July 23, 2013
This week is O’Reilly OSCON, a conference dedicated to all things open source. Basho is a sponsor and Basho engineer, Eric Redmond, will be delivering a presentation entitled “Distributed Patterns In Action“.
Basho first open sourced Riak in 2009. It’s a decision that helped us grow our business, and become a leader in newer, agile enterprise environments. Our participation in the open source community benefits our culture, our development process, and our business.
In honor of OSCON, we thought it important to explore the commercial aspects of our open source decision.
The Business of Open Source
Open source is in the DNA of our company, with both Riak and Riak CS available under the Apache 2 license. (It is worth noting that these products are but a few of our open source contributions, which also include Webmachine and Lager.) To turn this great code into a business, we chose to stay true to our roots as a software company, instead of just selling services. The enterprise versions of Riak and Riak CS offer the entirety of our open source software, with the addition of multi-datacenter replication and monitoring capabilities.
The decision to sell licenses to the enterprise, rather than to rely just on services, makes Basho unique. It allows us to engage with our enterprise customers in the transformation of their application architecture. They can be confident in the software’s availability and in Basho’s commitments to support them – as customers. Enterprises need an alternative to traditional database vendors, but one that can still fit — in license structure, operational management, and process integration — into a traditional organization.
Our licensing model for Riak Enterprise and Riak CS Enterprise lets us balance agility with tradition. Our community helps us develop groundbreaking software, while the enterprise license helps corporate IT and Operations sleep at night.
Open source drives adoption (a concept discussed at length in Stephen O’Grady’s book The New Kingmakers). That means Riak is used across many different industries, powering thousands of applications. That commercial validation — our success in production deployments — is accelerated due to the open source availability.
We remain keenly aware, and tremendously appreciative, that our community (from the individuals to the large organizations) guides Riak and Riak CS updates, and has been crucial to the refinement and forward momentum of this software.
Basho’s success is open source’s success. Our strengths reside both in our team and in our community, as their combined efforts improve our technology and its utilization. We are excited to see what other open source showcases are in view at OSCON 2013.
Portland, OR – July 22, 2013 – Basho is a proud sponsor of O’Reilly OSCON, a conference focused on the entire open source ecosystem. In addition to sponsoring, Basho software engineer, Eric Redmond, will also be speaking at OSCON.
Redmond’s talk, “Distributed Patterns in Action,” will go through a set of distributed data structures and discuss how each works and when should be used. Redmond is a longtime advocate of alternative storage mechanisms (especially the distributed kind) and has co-authored the books, “Seven Databases in Seven Weeks” and “A Little Riak Book.” His talk begins at 11:30am on Thursday, July 25th.
In its fifteenth year, OSCON is known as the primary gathering place for the open source community – bringing together developers, innovators, businesspeople, and investors. It works to bridge partnerships between businesses and the open source community, while also unveiling some of the most groundbreaking open source products and projects. OSCON takes place July 22-26 in Portland, OR.
July 15, 2013
Today, we are sending out our quarterly Riak Community Survey. This survey is to help us better understand how you’re using Riak. By understanding how Riak is being used, we can make more educated decisions about how to improve Riak in the future. We will also anonymize this data and share it with the community to provide a more holistic view of how Riak is being used.
To participate in this survey, simply click here to get started. All survey participants will receive Basho swag and a discount code for RICON West tickets. One lucky participant will be selected to receive a free RICON West ticket.
Thanks for participating in our survey and be sure to grab a RICON West ticket. Early bird prices end August 29th.
Chicago, IL – July 8, 2013 – Throughout the Lambda Jam Conference this week, Basho will be presenting twice about various aspects of Riak, as well as hosting a workshop on Webmachine. Lambda Jam is a conference for functional programmers and features a mix of sessions and workshops. It takes place in Chicago from July 8-10.
John Daily (Technical Evangelist at Basho), will be presenting first on “Distributed Programming with Riak Core and Pipe.” During his talk, he will dive into how Riak Core and Riak Pipe can be used, both within and beyond Basho. His talk begins at 9am on Tuesday, July 9th.
On July 10th at 9:50am, Basho Architect, Steve Vinoski, will be speaking on “Addressing Network Congestion in Riak Clusters.” In this talk, he will discuss an experimental approach to alleviating network congestion effects, such as timeouts and throughput collapse for Riak clusters under extreme load. In addition to exploring network scalability issues, this talk shows how Erlang can seamlessly integrate with non-FP languages.
Finally, Sean Cribbs and Chris Meiklejohn (Software Engineers at Basho) will be hosting a workshop entitled, “Functional Web Applications with Webmachine.” This workshop will provide guidance for understanding and getting started with Webmachine. It will then gradually expose richer HTTP features, while building out an application that is used by browsers and API clients alike. Their workshop begins at 1pm on July 10th.
To see where else Basho will be speaking, please visit our Basho Events Page.
July 3, 2013
Basho CTO, Justin Sheehy, recently participated in a “Not Only SQL Summit,” alongside executives from some of the top NoSQL vendors. This summit was moderated by Ted Neward of Neward & Associates LLC and discussed the evolution of NoSQL systems as well as some associated best practices. It also included insights from customers currently using these NoSQL solutions.
In addition to Justin Sheehy, panelists included:
- Anthony Molinaro, Infrastructure Architect at OpenX, discussing how they use Riak
- Patrick McFadin, Principal Solution Architect at DataStax
- Michael Kjellman, Software Engineer at Barracuda Networks, discussing how they use Cassandra
- Justin Weiler, CTO at FatCloud
- Attinder Khalsa, Executive Software Architect at Wilshire Axon, discussing how they use FatDB
Throughout this summit, OpenX, Barracuda Networks, and Wilshire Axon discussed not only why they chose to move away from relational systems but also why they chose the NoSQL vendor that they did. They also talk about their experiences dealing with eventual consistency and schemaless data. You can view the full summit below:
June 27, 2013
Today, we are excited to share a recent whitepaper released by the Amazon team entitled, “NoSQL Database in the Cloud: Riak on AWS.” This paper provides technical guidance on running Riak on the Amazon platform, including an overview of:
- Basic Installation
- Riak Architecture and Scale
- Operational Considerations (including sizing and configuration)
- AWS specific security configuration
- A discussion of Replication (as enabled by Riak Enterprise)
Given the number of Riak users (both open source and enterprise) who leverage public cloud environments, either as a part of their infrastructure or as the foundation of it, Basho will continue to invest in partnerships that provide deployment choice and deployment ease. Whether it’s for a hybrid cloud model – used to address burst capacity, tenancy/data locality, and proof of concept needs – or for an investment solely in public cloud, Riak will provide the operational simplicity and scalability required for your critical data.
For more information about deploying Riak on AWS, check out our posts about the Riak AMI and our other deployment options, including automated scripts and manual installation. You can also find more information about what to consider when installing Riak on AWS in our documentation.
June 26, 2013
Camille Fournier is the VP of Technical Architecture at Rent the Runway and is an expert in distributed systems and ZooKeeper. She was also one of the speakers at RICON East, Basho’s distributed systems conference. Her talk was entitled, “ZooKeeper for the Skeptical Architect.”
ZooKeeper has become quite ubiquitous, since it’s the core component of the Hadoop ecosystem and enables high availability for systems like Redis and Solr. However, as Camille points out, just because something’s popular, doesn’t mean you should use it. To help you decide whether ZooKeeper is right for you, she goes over the core uses of ZooKeeper in the wild and why it is suited to these use cases. She also talks about systems that don’t use ZooKeeper and why that can be the right decision. Finally, she discusses the common challenges of running ZooKeeper as a service and things to look out for when architecting a deployment. Her full talk is below:
You can also check out her slide deck here.
If you’re interested in speaking at RICON West (Oct. 29-30th in San Francisco), we are now accepting proposals through July 1st. If you’re interested in attending, you can purchase early bird tickets here.