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.
June 5, 2013
To help make Riak even more accessible, we have partnered with a number of different hosting providers, consulting services, system integrators, and OEMs to help you better use Riak. You can check out all of our partners at the Partnerships Page, which highlights how we are collaborating. Below is a look at some of our wonderful partners.
For those of you in need of a hosting provider for Riak, Basho is partnered with a number of great companies to help get you deployed quickly. Partners include: Amazon Web Services, Windows Azure, Joyent, SoftLayer (which was recently acquired by IBM and also offers hosting for Riak Enterprise), and Engine Yard – which is offering 500 free hours when you sign up.
Some companies that are using Riak and Riak CS to power applications or other product offerings include Datapipe and Yahoo! Japan subsidiary, IDC Frontier. ePlus and Trifork act as resellers of Riak to help expand our global reach.
Finally, Gazzang helps to ensure that your Riak environment is secure and meets all regulations related to sensitive information.
June 4, 2013
If you’re interested in learning more about Riak, tune in this Friday, June 7th at 11am PT/2pm ET for an Intro to Riak webcast. You can sign up for this 30-minute webcast here.
This webcast will cover:
- Riak’s architecture, properties, and principles
- How to build apps with Riak’s key/value data model
- APIs and client libraries
- Deploying Riak in the cloud with AWS, Engine Yard, Azure, and more
- Common use cases for a variety of industries including advertising, retail, and mobile
- Case studies from users such as Copious, Yammer, Voxer, and OpenX
We will also be available after the webcast to answer any questions that you might have. You can register for the Intro to Riak webcast here.
May 29, 2013
On our site, you may have noticed a new addition, the Resources Page. On this page, you can download or watch the latest content related to Riak, Riak CS, partnerships, key users, and the most popular verticals (such as Gaming, Retail, Advertising, and Mobile).
If you’re looking for whitepapers, case studies, videos, docs, slides, or webcasts, this is the place to find them. It will be continuously updated with up-to-date resources about Basho. Below is a glimpse at what you can find on the Resources Page.
- Sign up for our upcoming webcast on May 31st
- Get Riak CS up and running quickly by following our Fast Track documentation
- Learn how to launch Riak quickly via our hosting partners: AWS, Azure, Engine Yard, SoftLayer, and Joyent
- Watch Angry Birds developer, Rovio, speak on how they use Riak
- Read about how Copious uses Riak for their eCommerce marketplace
- Learn how to model advertising data using a key/value structure
- Download the technical introduction to Riak specifically for mobile applications and platforms
May 28, 2013
Shopzilla allows customers to easily find, compare, and buy anything on the web. They reach over 40 million customers each month, connecting them to 100 million products from tens of thousands of retailers. Riak powers both their Keyword and Scrapbook Data Services.
Previously, Shopzilla was using large installations of RDBMS as their primary data platform. This worked well for some use cases – however, it had unnecessary features and was expensive for some services, especially read-heavy use cases with large datasets. For these use cases, they wanted an open source solution that offered deployment on commodity hardware and support for high read and write throughput. With downtime having a direct impact on revenue, availability was a critical factor. Riak was evaluated alongside MongoDB, Redis, and HBase. Ultimately Riak not only fit all of their criteria, but also offered ease of management and operations, allowing their development team to focus on other areas of the business.
Shopzilla uses Riak to store data for its Keyword and Scrapbook Services. The Keyword Service serves metadata about primary keywords and requires real-time access. It stores over 1 billion keywords and can process tens of millions of new keywords at a time. They migrated this service over to a six-node Riak cluster that uses Varnish for caching. Riak is accessed via protocol buffers for high performance and uses the LevelDB backend, best suited to implementations with a very large number of keys. Under moderate load, they see 95% of traffic requests come in under 10 milliseconds.
The Scrapbook Service allows Shopzilla to aggregate product information from different web sources to add supplemental details on their product pages. This means they potentially need to store data equivalent to the scale of their product inventory. Since this product information is accessed via Product ID, it was a perfect fit for Riak’s key/value data model. To provide familiar ad-hoc SQL querying capabilities, they worked with their content team to aggregate and stage this data in an Oracle schema before bringing it into Riak. This allowed them to design a schema based on their needs that would not affect the speed in which Riak serves this data. Most of their online requests are served in well under 5 milliseconds.
Riak has been in production at Shopzilla for over a year now. According to Will Gage, Principal Software Architect at Shopzilla, “I haven’t had to worry about Riak since implementation because we haven’t had any significant problems with it. We’re confident we made the right choice with Riak. It works as it’s supposed to and its stability is great. We’ve watched it work through real-life network partitions under load and recover quickly with no intervention. In short, Riak lets us focus on things other than the database.”
May 22, 2013
Basho recently held its second distributed systems conference, RICON East in New York City. Months of preparation led to two days of concentrated learning, with community members from academia and industry sharing where we’ve been and where we’re going.
By design, many of the presentations had little direct relationship to Riak: RICON is a marketplace for ideas, not for product. However, two of the speakers tackled topics I discussed recently in my blog series on the subtleties of Riak configuration.
This is a follow-up to that series to examine those talks. I won’t repeat earlier content in any significant detail.
Rich Hickey, Using Datomic with Riak
Datomic is a very different take on databases, more akin to a version control system than a traditional RDBMS. In Datomic, records (“facts”) are never changed, but rather can be replaced as needed.
The notion of immutable facts leads to a conceptually simple distributed model that allows for transactions: a view into the database is simply a checkpoint of the facts. It’s always possible that a client may be reading an old checkpoint, but the facts at that checkpoint will be consistent regardless of what further updates have been applied.
Riak is one of several backends that can be used with Datomic.
How Datomic queries Riak
Because Datomic keeps a record of all keys in the system, and because the values for those keys never change, reads can be expedited by setting
However, as you’ll recall,
R=1 has an important complication: if the first vnode to respond does not have a copy of that key (perhaps there’s a sloppy quorum in play due to a node failure) the request will “successfully” complete with a
This default behavior can be changed by setting
notfound_ok=false so that the coordinating node will await an actual value before reporting it back to the client, and in fact this is how Datomic operates.
Kyle Kingsbury, Call Me Maybe: Carly Rae Jepsen and the Perils of Network Partitions
Kyle conducted extensive testing of various distributed databases in the face of network partition. Specifically, he wanted to see whether writes were successful (and properly retained) during and after the partition.
His testing of Riak with
allow_mult=false (the default) revealed 91% of writes were lost after the partition healed.
Riak is, however, the only database that retained 100% of writes during a partition, but only when
allow_mult was set to
true in order to allow sibling resolution on the client side after the partition.
allow_mult=true, there is no way (currently) for Riak to resolve conflicting writes other than to accept the last value written.
Important: Riak would also do a perfectly good job of preserving all writes under the Datomic model of creating immutable key/value pairs. It may seem like all databases should handle that scenario properly, but in fact some will throw away all writes on one side of the partition.
Kyle emphasizes what I mentioned in part 1 of this series: if you can’t create immutable objects, and don’t want to handle conflict resolution via the client, CRDTs will allow for automatic resolution in the future, so long as you can make your data fit that model.
Kyle has expanded his talk into a blog series.
Basho will be hosting two more RICON conferences this year, in San Francisco and London. As was true in New York City in May and San Francisco last fall, the talks will be streamed live over the Internet and would be well worth your time.
However, speaking from personal experience, the talks are just a portion of the overall value offered by RICON. It is difficult to convey the atmosphere during and between sessions, but even the afterparty was replete with technical discussions.
If you’ve not experienced it, you can browse the #riconeast tag at Twitter for a feel for the reactions of those present (and those not) to the RICON experience, and please consider joining us next time.
RICON East videos should be available soon; the album of RICON 2012 videos is recommended.