March 17, 2015
As a Solutions Architect for Basho, I’m often called upon by customers to explain Riak. Frequently this is in the context of a specific use-case they are deploying, or a problem they are attempting to solve. In each of these cases, an important component of the conversation is ensuring a base level of understanding of the design principles in Riak’s distributed architecture. It is this architecture, and these early design decisions that ensure that Riak “just works” and why companies choose Riak for their business critical applications.
This blog highlights key reasons why Riak “just works” from a high availability, fault tolerant, data distribution, predictable performance and operational simplicity perspective. It also shows how Riak addresses data replication, detection of node failures, read latency, and rolling restarts due to upgrades, failures or operating system related issues.
Uniform Data Distribution and Predictable Performance
If you have ever seen a presentation about Riak, you have seen an inclusion of the “ring diagram.” The image is fairly simple and one that we use to describe data distribution, scalability, and performance characteristics of Riak. But the underlying architectural implementation that this ring represents is an important characteristic of Riak’s architecture.
Riak employs a SHA1 based consistent hashing algorithm that is mathematically proven to produce a perfectly uniform distribution about a 160-bit space (the ring). This 160-bit space is divided into equal partitions called “vnodes.” These vnodes, in turn, are evenly distributed amongst participating physical nodes in the cluster. Uniform distribution about the 160-bit space and an even allocation of vnodes amongst physical nodes ensures keys are uniformly distributed about the cluster. Participating nodes in a Riak cluster are homogeneous – meaning any node can service any request – and due to the nature of consistent hashing, every node in the cluster knows where data should reside within the cluster.
Riak’s default behavior is to seek equilibrium. Each node in a cluster is responsible for 1/nth data within the cluster and 1/nth total performance, where n represents total node count in a cluster. This architectural principle allows operators to make reasonable assumptions about Riak’s linear scalability. Often in sharded systems, access patterns that disproportionately access specific ranges of data will cause “hot spots” in a cluster making predictable operations more difficult to maintain. Uniform data distribution about the cluster (and Hinted Handoff described below) allows for continuous normal operations of an active Riak cluster while maintaining a predictable level of performance as any node is removed from the cluster for any reason. Even in resource-starved virtual environments, a Riak cluster will work to maintain its equilibrium and equal data distribution such that operators may assemble larger numbers of slower individual virtual machines to achieve their desired performance profile in aggregate. Additionally, each physical node in a Riak cluster maintains its own performance statistics that are easily accessible and parsable such that an advanced deployment would be able to wrap those statistics into a sick-node detection algorithm based on their own specific thresholds.
Furthering the predictable performance rationale, Riak uses vector clocks, specifically dotted version vectors in Riak 2.0, to internally reason about conflict resolution as it relates to multiple updates to the same object. Updates to any object are independent of updates to any other object and thus there is no locking in Riak for any of its core operations – reads, writes and deletes. There are no global or local locks on any tables or rows – those structures do not exist in Riak. Locks introduce nondeterministic delays in performance yet are often a necessary component of any absolutely consistent database. Riak on the other hand is an eventually consistent database (caveat Riak 2.0’s strong consistency feature at the expense of availability). Additionally, because the base level of abstraction in Riak is the vnode, and data is replicated amongst a set of vnodes operating on distinct physical hardware, background processes such as file compaction is scheduled in such a way that it only affects a segment of the cluster at any given time. This rolling compaction ensures a high degree of availability with minimal performance penalty.
High Availability and Failure Recovery
The measure of a distributed system is not how well that system runs under optimal conditions in the general case, but rather how that system performs in the face of failure. An architect must ask herself how well her system will perform in the face of node failure and how well that system will recover from failure. Failures happen with increasing frequency as the size of your system grows. Riak implements a number of technologies that when combined ensure Riak excels at failure recovery. These technologies provide a baseline set of features that allow Riak to quickly recover from failure scenarios with minimal operator intervention. Not only will these built-in recovery mechanisms maintain eventual consistency within the database but they will also maintain synchronicity with features such as Solr’s full text indexing and Multi Datacenter Replication.
Hinted Handoff ensures data is replicated an appropriate number of times in spite of failure by allowing a node to take over responsibility for a vnode and then return that data to its original “owner.” Handoff from one vnode to another can happen on a temporary (in the case of failure) or permanent (in the case of cluster resizing) basis. In both cases, Riak handles this automatically while the cluster remains available. Because Riak is able to dynamically allocate vnode assignments continuously, the cluster can absorb the loss of any physical node(s) for write operations and ensure availability of data as long as one vnode of any replica set is still accessible. This allows Riak to maintain availability when a node is removed from the cluster for any reason – whether scheduled or not. Ultimately, an unscheduled failure or a scheduled upgrade of Riak or the operating system results in the removal of a node from the cluster – Riak’s core architecture and capabilities accommodate this behavior with minimal operator intervention.
Read Repair is a mechanism triggered on a successful read of a value where all replicas may not agree on the value. There are two possibilities where this can happen: when one replica returns not found – meaning it doesn’t have a copy, and when one replica returns a value where the vector clocks is an ancestor of the successful read. When this situation occurs, Riak will force the errant nodes to update the object’s value based on the value of the successful read.
Finally, Active Anti Entropy corrects inconsistent data continuously in the background. Where Read Repair corrects data at read time, AAE corrects all data regardless of whether or not it is actively accessed by running a background process that continuously checks for inconsistencies. AAE uses Merkle Tree hash exchanges between vnodes to look for these inconsistencies. When a difference at the top of the tree is detected, Riak recursively checks the tree until it finds the exact values with a difference between vnodes and then sends the smallest amount of data necessary to regain equilibrium.
Architecture Makes a Difference
Riak’s core architecture and key technical features provide the building blocks valued in a highly distributed environment. Uniform data distribution, homogeneous nodes, hinted handoff, read repair and active anti entropy all play a role in providing the high availability, fault tolerance, predictable performance and operational simplicity developers and managers are looking for from their non-relational persisted data solutions.
We’ve seen Riak adopted across a wide variety of verticals and for a broad range of use cases. From gaming to retail to advertising to mobile, our customers begin by identifying a workload, or use case, where availability, scalability, and fault tolerance are critical. We then work closely with these customers to ensure Riak is an ideal fit for the architectural design and business requirements. This process often begins with a Tech Talk. Someone like me, working with you either onsite or remotely, to assess how Riak can help you solve your critical business requirements. You can sign up for a Tech Talk here.
February 17, 2015
According to TechTarget, a common definition of “High Availability” is:
“In information technology, high availability refers to a system or component that is continuously operational for a desirably long length of time. Availability can be measured relative to “100% operational” or “never failing.”
The reality is that this phrase has become semantically overloaded by its inclusion in marketing copy across a disparate set of technologies. Much like “Big Data”, perspectives on availability vary based on industry and customer expectation.
For many of today’s applications and platforms, high availability has a direct impact on revenue. A few examples include: cloud services, online retail, shopping carts, gaming and betting, and advertising. Further, lack of availability can damage user trust and result in a poor user experience for many social media and chat applications, websites, and mobile applications. Riak provides the high availability needed for your critical applications.
Availability – By the Numbers
As we highlighted in an infographic entitled Down with Downtime, more than 95% of businesses with 1,000+ employees estimate that they lose more than $100,000 for every 1 hour of downtime. For more than 1 in 2 large businesses, the cost of downtime amounts to more than $300,000 per hour. At the lower end of this scale, this is $83 dollars per minute. At the upper end of the spectrum (in financial services) it can amount to $1,800 a second of downtime.
This fiscal impact has resulted in availability being measured as a percentage calculation of uptime in a given year. This percentage is often referred to as the “number of 9s” of availability. For example, “one nine” of availability equates to 90% uptime in a year. Similarly, “five nines” (the standard that was set by consulting firms on enterprise projects) equates to 99.999% availability in a year. While that percentage is often referenced, the practical reality is that it means there can be no more than 6.05 seconds of unplanned downtime per week.
Availability – A Feature or A Benefit?
Often, when describing Riak, I begin by explaining the benefits of Riak (availability, scalability, fault tolerance, operational simplicity) and then discuss, in detail, the properties that these benefits are derived from. Availability is not something that can be added to a system (be it a distributed database or otherwise), rather it is an outcome of the core architectural decisions that were made in the development of the product.
Consider, for example, the AXD 301 ATM switch. It, reportedly, delivers at or better than “nine nines” (99.9999999%) of availability to customers. This is a staggering number that requires NO MORE than 6.048 milliseconds of downtime per week. Interestingly, it shares a common architectural component with Riak also being developed in Erlang.
“How does Riak achieve high availability?” Or, perhaps better stated as, “What are the architectural decisions made in Riak that enable high availability?”
Availability – An Architectural Decision
Riak is a masterless system designed for high availability, even in the event of hardware failures or network partitions. Any server (termed a “node” in Riak) can serve any incoming request and all data is replicated across multiple nodes. If a node experiences an outage, other nodes will continue to service read and write requests. Further, if a node becomes unavailable to the rest of the cluster, a neighboring node will take over the responsibilities of the missing node. The neighboring node will pass new or updated data (termed “objects”) back to the original node once it rejoins the cluster. This process is called “hinted handoff” and it ensures that read and write availability is maintained automatically to minimize your operational burden when nodes fail or comes back on-line.
More information about the architectural decisions involved in Riak’s design are available in our documentation. In particular, the Concepts – Clusters section is deeply illustrative.
Availability – A Use Case
Consider, for example the implementation of Riak at Temetra. Temetra has thousands of users and millions of meters that create billions of data points. The massive influx of data that was being generated quickly became difficult to manage with the company’s legacy SQL database. When considering how this structured database could be overhauled, Temetra conducted evaluations with Cassandra and Hadoop but ultimately chose Riak due to its high availability, relatively self-maintaining and easy to deploy infrastructure. It is essential that the data collected from the meters is always available as it is relied on to determine correct billing for Temetra’s customers.
Availability – A Summary
The reality is that a database, even a distributed, masterless, multi-model platform like Riak, is only one component of the application stack. Understanding your availability requirements requires deep knowledge of the entirety of the deployment environment. “High Availability” cannot be retrofit into a system. Rather it requires conscious effort in the early stages to ensure that customer requirements are met and that downtime does not result in lost customers and lost revenue.
By: Jeremy Hill
Business Intelligence makes it possible for organizations to make sense of the vast amount of customer, manufacturing and competitive information they have available in order to make smarter and better informed decisions. In turn, this enables organizations to become more responsive to customer needs, increase efficiencies in manufacturing processes, and respond to significant events quickly.
Historically the data that drives business intelligence has been stored in structured formats in a data warehouse, such as customer information on how much is spent. However, this approach misses out on the value of semi-unstructured and unstructured data, like the details from a customer call or a customer tweet.
With such information missing, a complete view of the customer or business can be limited. The consequence is that an inability to gain knowledge and measure customer information means businesses can fall behind, especially in a competitive market.
Business Intelligence needs NoSQL
Having access to all types of relevant customer information – structured, semi-structured and unstructured – is an essential requirement for business intelligence (BI) to help enterprises get ahead of the competition. Unlike structured, relational data warehouses, NoSQL databases make this possible with improved availability, scalability and fast response times. NoSQL databases are ideal for BI and data warehousing not only because of the diverse types of information it can deal with, but also because they are able to deliver data at the very time it is needed.
Enabling real-time analytics
NoSQL keeps up with transaction speeds as-it-happens, enabling real-time analytics. E-commerce transactions, for example, benefit from a NoSQL database because it can make a decision about what to do next when a buyer doesn’t complete a purchase. Instead of waiting 24 hours or longer for the data to move through a traditional data warehouse system, with a NoSQL system a feed goes straight from a transaction through a connecter to a NoSQL database. A sales analytics process can make a decision with the intelligence at that very minute, to consult the customer and understand the behavior in real-time, helping secure the purchase and preventing the loss of a customer transaction.
A recently announced Basho partner, Caserta Concepts, a technology consulting firm specializing in big data analytics, data warehousing and business intelligence, works with CIOs to deliver analytics solutions that support business goals. It uses Riak and Riak CS to accommodate unique client requirements across a broad range of data types – structured, semi-structured and unstructured – and provides continuous availability to keep critical line-of-business applications going around the clock. Caserta’s practice illustrates the viability for NoSQL in the database revolution to take on the volume, variety and velocity of data dynamics of today’s web-scale applications.
Intelligence for IoT transactions
With the vast amounts of information from Internet of Things (IoT) technologies, more business intelligence needs and use cases are at the cusp. Consider oil and gas organizations providing annual service contracts for boilers – analytics tells the business that anything beyond the second call out (or truck roll) wipes out the profit on the contract. In the connected world, NoSQL enables the next level of intelligence, which allows organizations to collect information so that, in the event of failure, they are able to determine which parts are needed in advance, eliminating the need for multiple visits. Gathering intelligence from this data also allows organizations to perform preemptive maintenance during the annual inspections to lower the frequency of unplanned, costly site visits.
With NoSQL, BI and data warehousing can become quicker and much more efficient. It allows organizations to react to events more quickly, increase customer attention, streamline the supply chain, predict customer behavior at the point it matters and predict future service calls. At the rise of big, unstructured data, NoSQL presents enormous opportunity for the future of business intelligence.
Basho is pleased to announce the release of Riak CS 1.5, which provides additional performance enhancements and simplifies administration and development with additional admin tools, enhanced S3 compatibility and a technical preview of an architecture to support clusters with very large amounts of storage. Highlights include:
- riak-cs-admin: Consolidates admin operations into a command line tool.
- riak-cs-stanchion: Changes the Stanchion IP and port.
- riak-cs-debug: Packages log, configuration and operating system command files along with Riak command results.
- syslog: Support for standardized syslog output for log aggregation using third-party tools.
S3 API Features
- multi-object delete: Reduces request overhead by supporting multiple deletes in a single request (up to 1,000 keys per request).
- cache control headers: Method for providing caching instructions in a request header.
- PUT object – copy: Creates a copy of an object that already exists in Riak CS.
A full list of S3 API compatibility can be found on the Basho docs site here.
Increased Scalability (Enterprise Feature)
Partly due to limitations with distributed Erlang, prior to 1.5 scalability, Riak CS was limited to several petabytes. CS 1.5 introduces a technical preview of an architecture that allows multiple Riak clusters to reside under a single CS namespace, thereby significantly increasing the amount of storage possible in a cluster. A production-ready version is planned for later this year, with multi-data center support to follow.
Garbage Collection Improvements
In Riak CS, deleted and updated objects are not removed immediately. Instead, a reference is written to a special bucket and later removed by the garbage collection process at regular intervals. CS 1.5 includes several garbage collection enhancements that will benefit customers with a high rate of object deletion or updates.
- concurrent garbage collection worker processes: Speed up the rate of garbage collection with the addition of multiple workers.
- flexible enforcement of leeway interval: In previous versions, updated and deleted objects are reaped only after they reach a predefined time-based leeway interval, which was set when an object was marked for deletion. In CS 1.5 the leeway interval is managed by the garbage collection daemon and can be changed to remove objects sooner, for example, in emergency situations where maximum storage capacity is reached.
Other Notable Enhancements
- faster bucket listings: Optimizations in the OTP xmerl library enables faster bucket listings, in particular for large buckets.
- setting ACLs upon PUT object: Ability to set ACLs via header at PUT object creation is now fully functional.
Riak CS 1.5 is available at: http://docs.basho.com/riakcs/latest/riakcs-downloads/. A full list of changes is available in the release notes. Watch the blog for a detailed discussion of the multi-cluster work.
Distributed cloud storage software adds additional Amazon S3 compatibility, performance improvements, simplified admin and increased scalability
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – August 5, 2014 – Basho, the creator and developer of Riak, the industry leading distributed NoSQL database, today introduced Riak CS 1.5 and Riak CS 1.5 Enterprise, Basho’s distributed object storage software. Riak CS (Cloud Storage) is open source software built on top of Riak, used to build public or private clouds, or, as reliable storage to power applications and services. Riak CS 1.5 delivers new features that improve operation, performance and scalability. Basho continues to offer enterprise-class features in Riak CS Enterprise, which includes multi-datacenter replication, world class 24 by 7 support and flexible pricing model.
Companies dealing with large amounts of unstructured data like videos, images and documents are adopting cloud object storage so that data is highly available through a seamlessly scalable architecture. Businesses in industries such as broadcasting and telecommunications are relying on stability, integration functionality and performance of Riak CS to efficiently store, organize and access data while making it simple to manage.
“We offer our customers affordable and scalable cloud storage solutions built on Basho’s Riak CS,” said Makoto Oya, vice director of IDC Frontier. “The enhanced Amazon S3 compatibility and ability to scale well into the multi-petabyte level in Riak CS 1.5 will help us better support the rapid growth we are seeing in our storage business.”
I-NET Corp, a data processing service headquartered in Japan, uses Riak CS for its cloud service called Dream Cloud® and is looking to achieve further cost efficiency thanks to the increased scalability capabilities in Riak CS 1.5.
“Cloud-based object storage is ideal for storing our customer’s growing business-critical data, and we have relied on the excellent performance, cost efficiency and high reliability of Riak CS for the I-NET Dream Cloud®,” said Tsutomu Taguchi, senior managing director, business group of I-NET Corp. “Riak CS already provides us with high availability and now that Riak CS is further optimized to scale, we believe that Riak CS 1.5 delivered by Basho will drive even higher adoption of Dream Cloud®.”
New features enhance performance for object storage to store increasing amounts of data worldwide
Basho delivers new functions in Riak CS that include:
- Additional Amazon S3 compatibility: Expanded storage API compatibility with S3 includes features such as multi-object delete, put object copy, and cache control headers for more flexible integration with content delivery networks (CDNs).
- Performance improvement in garbage collection process: Delivered especially for customers with high rate of object updates and deletes, Riak CS now more quickly reaps objects flagged for garbage collection.
- New, simplified administrative features: New and consolidated admin features make organizational tasks easier for activities such as cluster management, monitoring and troubleshooting.
- Multi-cluster support: Technology preview for increased scalability of Riak CS Enterprise by allowing multiple Riak clusters to reside under a single CS namespace, thereby expanding the maximum capacity of a single cluster.
“Providing the strongest key value solution and object store means responding to customer needs and demands attentively,” said Dave McCrory, CTO of Basho. “With Riak CS 1.5 Enterprise, new features are delivered as requested by our customers. We are committed to make it easier to consume cutting edge versions of Riak and will continue to do this by executing a more iterative approach in how we release Riak.”
Availability and Pricing
Riak CS 1.5 is available immediately for Debian, Ubuntu, FreeBSD, OS X, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Fedora, SmartOS and Solaris. To view the latest technical documentation or to download Riak CS, visit docs.basho.com/riakcs/latest/.
Basho delivers customized packages for its commercial software, Riak Enterprise and Riak Enterprise Plus, with health checks, as well as options for project-based Professional Services engagements. Full pricing details of Basho commercial software are at http://basho.com/riak-enterprise/#pricing. To request a trial license of Riak CS Enterprise, prospective inquiries can request a Riak CS Tech Talk at http://info.basho.com/SignUpRiakTechTalk.html.
- Basho Website (http://basho.com)
- Basho Blog (http://basho.com/blog/)
- Riak (http://basho.com/riak/)
- Riak CS (http://basho.com/riak-cloud-storage/)
- Riak CS doc (docs.basho.com/riakcs/latest/)
- Additional Resources (http://basho.com/resources/)
- Twitter: @Basho (https://twitter.com/basho)
- LinkedIn (https://www.linkedin.com/company/basho-technologies-inc)
About Basho Technologies
Basho is a distributed systems company dedicated to making software that is highly available, fault-tolerant and easy-to-operate at scale. Basho’s distributed database, Riak, and Basho’s cloud storage software, Riak CS, are used by fast growing Web businesses and by one third of the Fortune 50 to power their critical Web, mobile and social applications and their public and private cloud platforms.
Riak and Riak CS are available open source. Riak Enterprise and Riak CS Enterprise offer enhanced multi-datacenter replication and 24×7 Basho support. For more information, visit basho.com. Basho is headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
March 31, 2014
AiMED Stat is a startup working to facilitate better medical information capture, analysis, and reporting through web and mobile technologies. They provide clinicians with easy-to-use tools and provide researchers with direct access to real-time information capture from the front lines of medicine. They recently worked with the audiology clinic at University of Western Ontario (UWO) and used a Riak system to help the University collect and search data related to the research.
In general, innovation in health research databases has been very stagnant – with many companies simply opting for a legacy relational system like MySQL or PostgreSQL. However, AiMED Stat realized the limitations of these systems. With these relational systems, researchers would need to decide their schemas at the start of studies. However, once researchers were a few months into a study, they would need to update data or collect data in a different way. This meant researchers needed to update the entire table, which involved very costly data migration. As AiMED Stat set out to manage and present research data in a better way, it simply wasn’t feasible for their two-person team to manage a costly data migration every time there was a data update. So they began to look at more flexible, NoSQL databases as a replacement.
They first looked at MongoDB, but soon learned that MongoDB wouldn’t be able to handle their high write volumes without losing data. In clinical research, data loss is never acceptable as it can skew results. They then looked at Cassandra; however, for a small team, they found Cassandra to be too complex to operate efficiently. Finally, they evaluated Riak. They were immediately drawn to Riak’s flexible data model, schemaless design, and ability to scale out quickly. In 2011, they brought Riak into production as the backend of their research data application.
“We set out to create an application that stores and queries data in a way researchers understand,” said Kartik Thakore, Co-Founder at AiMED Stat. “By using Riak to power our application, it gives us a sizable competitive advantage (relative to other electronic audiograms). Its flexibility allows us to store data exactly as needed, its ease-of-scale eliminates the chunk of our budget previously dedicated to data migration, and its high availability ensures we never have to worry about losing data. Riak is a breath of fresh air – it does exactly what we need it to do.”
Their Riak application enables rich HTML5 forms for data collection, using a method that increases compliance and data integrity at the point of capture. From data collection, demographic identifiers are used as the key in Riak and values are stored as JSON. Riak post- and pre-commit hooks are used to further validate the data. Additionally, Riak Search, Secondary Indexes, and MapReduce are all used to allow researchers to store and search data (via a D3.js enabled application) using an Audiogram shown below:
(Audiogram shows Frequency vs. Decibel and uses the ANSI Symbol Legend)
This Audiogram allows researchers to easily search within the graph to find and compare patients that match certain audiological profiles. The quicker researchers can find patients for their study, the quicker they can get funding, making this queryability imperative.
AiMED Stat is currently running five-nodes in production and looking to scale out as they grow. “For us, the importance is not on big data but on never losing data,” continued Kartik. “With Riak, we can rest assured that all our data is archived and accessible, regardless of scale or write volume.”
November 14, 2013
This series of blog posts will discuss how Riak differs from traditional relational databases. For more information about any of the points discussed, download our technical overview, “From Relational to Riak.” The previous post in the series was Relational to Riak – High Availability.
Riak is designed for scalability, which truly separates it from relational systems. As described in the previous post, relational databases run best on a single server. If the dataset grows beyond the capacity of this single machine, it can become prohibitively expensive (or even impossible) to simply upgrade to a bigger machine. In such a scenario, the only option may be to add more machines and divide the dataset across them using a technique called sharding.
Sharding divides data into logical parts (such as alphabetical, by customer, or by geographic region) that can be distributed across multiple machines – often manually. If data continues to grow, this process may need to be repeated at great expense.
Sharding is not only difficult, it also will typically lead to hot spots – meaning certain machines are responsible for storing and serving a disproportionately high amount of both data and requests. Hot spots can cause unpredictable latency and degraded performance.
(And remember all the ways in which availability is a challenge? Combine sharding with a master/slave architecture for maximal expense and general unpleasantness.)
Instead of sharding, Riak evenly distributes data across a cluster using consistent hashing. In a Riak cluster, the data space is divided into partitions which are claimed by the servers. When new data is written to the database, these objects are evenly placed around the ring and replicated 3 times (by default). This ensures that your data will always be available, even when nodes fail.
When nodes are added or removed, data is rebalanced automatically. New machines assume ownership of some of the partitions and existing machines hand off relevant partitions and associated data until data ownership is equal amongst nodes.
By eliminating the manual requirements of sharding and making hot spots highly unlikely, Riak makes it significantly easier for companies to scale, whether it’s just for a few months to handle peak loads or to support long-term growth strategies.
January 29, 2013
This is the first in a series of blog posts covering the benefits Riak offers to developers and operators of retail and eCommerce platforms. To learn more, join our “Retail on Riak” webcast on Friday, February 8th.
As retailers grow and have to store more and more data, traditional relational databases aren’t always the best option. Retailers want to scale easily, without the operational burden of manual sharding. Meanwhile, business requirements demand their data is always available for reads and writes. Riak is a highly available, low latency distributed database that is ideal for retailers who need to serve product data quickly and maintain “always on” shopping experiences. Riak is based on architectural principles from Amazon. Riak is designed for high availability and scale so retailers can always serve customers, even under failure conditions, and rapidly grow to meet peak loads.
Retailers of all sizes have chosen Riak to power parts of their business, including:
- Best Buy: Best Buy is North America’s top specialty retailer of consumer electronics, personal computers, entertainment software, and appliances. Riak has been an integral part in the transformation push to re-platform Best Buy’s eCommerce platform. For more info, check out Best Buy’s talk from our 2012 developer conference, RICON.
- ideal: ideel is one of the fastest growing retailers with over 5 million members and more than 1,000 brand partners. They use Riak to serve HTML documents and user-specific products. ideel chose Riak to power their event-based shopping experience due to Riak’s ability to serve users information at low latency and provide ease of use and scale to ideel’s operations team. Check out the complete case study for more details.
- Copious: Copious is a social commerce marketplace that makes it easy for people to buy and sell the things they love. They currently store all registered accounts in Riak as well as the tokens that make it possible for users to authenticate with Copious via their Facebook or Twitter accounts. They chose to use Riak for their social login functionality because of its operational simplicity, which allows them to easily scale up without sharding and provides the high availability required for a smooth user experience. For more details, check out the complete Copious story on our blog.
For more information about the benefits of Riak for retailers and the retailers already using it, register for our “Retail on Riak” webcast on February 8th!
January 22, 2013
Traditionally, most retailers have used relational databases to manage their platforms and eCommerce sites. However, with the rapid growth of data and business requirements for high availability and scale, more retailers are looking at non-relational solutions like Riak.
Riak is a masterless, distributed database that provides retailers with high read and write availability, fault-tolerance and the ability to grow with low operational cost. Architectural, operational and development benefits for retailers include:
- “Always On” Shopping Experience: Based on architectural principles from Amazon, Riak is designed to favor data availability, even in the event of hardware failure or network partition. For retailers, failure to accept additions to a shopping cart, or serve product information quickly, has a direct and negative impact on revenue. Riak is architected to ensure the system can always accept writes and serve reads at low-latency.
- Resilient Infrastructure: At scale, hardware malfunction, network partition, and other failure modes are inevitable. Riak provides a number of mechanisms to ensure that retail infrastructure is resilient to failure. Data is replicated automatically within the cluster so nodes can go down but the system still responds to requests. This ensures read and write availability, even in serious failure conditions.
- Low-Latency Data Storage: Many retailers now operate online and mobile experiences with an API or data services platform. In order to provide a fast and available experience to end users, Riak is designed to serve predictable, low-latency requests as part of a service-oriented infrastructure and is accessible via HTTP API, protocol buffers, or Riak’s many client libraries.
- Scale to Peak Loads with Low Operational Cost: During major holidays and other periods of peak load, retailers may have to significantly increase their database capacity quickly. When new nodes are added, Riak automatically distributes data evenly to naturally prevent hot spots in the database, and yields a near-linear increase in performance and throughput when capacity is added.
- Global Data Locality and Redundancy: Riak Enterprise’s multi-site replication allows replication of data to multiple data centers, providing both a global data footprint and the ability to survive datacenter failure.
Top retailers using Riak include Best Buy and ideel. Best Buy selected Riak as an integral part in the transformation push to re-platform its eCommerce platform. For more information about how Best Buy is using Riak, check out this video.
ideel uses Riak to serve HTML documents and user-specific products. ideel chose Riak to provide its highly available, event-based shopping experience – Riak gives them the ability to serve user information at low latency and provides ease of use and scale to ideel’s operations team. For more information on ideel’s use of Riak check out the complete case study.
Common use cases for Riak in the retail/eCommerce space include shopping carts (due to Riak’s “always-on” capabilities), product catalogs (Riak is well suited for the storage of rapidly growing content that needs to be served at low-latency), API platforms (Riak’s flexible, schemaless design allows for rapid application development), and mobile applications (Riak is ideal for powering mobile experiences across platforms due to its low-latency, always-available small object storage capabilities).
To help retailers evaluate and adopt Riak, we’ve published a technical overview: “Retail on Riak: A Technical Introduction.” We discuss more in-depth information on modeling applications for common use cases, switching from a relational architecture, querying, multi-site replication and more.
**January 02, 2013**
New to Riak? Thinking about using Riak instead of a relational database? Join Basho chief architect Andy Gross and director of product management Shanley Kane for an intro this Thursday (11am PT/2pm ET). In about 30 minutes, we’ll cover the basics of:
* Scalability benefits of Riak, including an examination of limitations around master/slave architectures and sharding, and what Riak does differently
* A look at the operational aspects of Riak and where they differ from relational approaches
* Riak’s data model and benefits for developers, as well as the tradeoffs and limitations of a key/value approach
* Migration considerations, including where to start when migrating existing apps
* Riak’s eventually consistent design
* Multi-site replication options in Riak
Register for the webcast [here](http://info.basho.com/RelationalToRiakJan3.html).