Newsletter – Trends
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We’re privy to meeting and talking with hundreds of high tech, hyper growth companies and therefore we have a unique opportunity to see trends that are taking place in the industry. Here are a few that we thought would be interesting to share with our friends.
NoSQL Skills – Many companies are experimenting with NoSQL solutions including Membase, Hadoop, Cassandra, and many others but are finding that employees with skills in these are hard to come by. Even in areas rich in talent such as the Silicon Valley, Boston, Austin, Seattle and NY the demand for this rather nascent skill set is higher than the current supply. Many companies are relying on on-the-job training for these types of open source solutions. Most importantly, if you’ve properly fault isolated your architecture you can tolerate the risk associated with small segments going down during beta releases while you iron out the kinks.
Oracle’s NoSQL – Oracle recently announced their entry into NoSQL with announcements around Hadoop integration and their own NoSQL key-value solution. The Hadoop integration isn’t much more than a conduit to allow data to and from an Oracle database and a Hadoop cluster. This technology has been around for quite a while in other relational database solutions such as GreenPlum and Asterdata. It was also recently announced by Microsoft that SQL Server would support this Hadoop connection as well.
Oracle’s NoSQL is a distributed, replicated key-value store and is new and exciting even though it has attributes similar to other product offerings including their acquisition, Berkeley DB. Given trend #1 above, it may sound like an interesting alternative to adopting an enterprise supported NoSQL alternative to open source solutions but beware. The marketing materials for Oracle’s NoSQL solution include the BASE acronym (Basically Available, Soft State, Eventaully Consistent) but unlike other NoSQL products such as Dynamo, SimpleDB, or Cassandra, the Oracle NoSQL Database does not support eventual consistency. Oracle’s solution to eventual consistency appears to be by not accepting writes when the primary node for that key is down.
ORM – many companies start off using an object relational mapping solution such as Hibernate or Active Record but we are seeing many of them having difficulty scaling with them. The solution for several companies has been to use ORMs for simple queries but resort to ODBC or their own Data Access Layer for handling more complex queries. Be wary of using a solution to handle your query development as we’ve had a number of clients with incredibly complex and costly queries bring down their platforms for extended periods of time.
Enterprise Monitoring Frameworks – Until very recently, we had not seen a proprietary third party (non open-sourced) monitoring solution at a customer for at least 2 years and that includes our large Fortune 500 clients. Many of our clients have adopted innovative new monitoring solutions from Wilytech and Coradiant (now CA and BMC respectively) that look for and help diagnose patterns “on the wire” – whether it be from the browser to their servers or from app servers to databases. While these are interesting and potentially worth some of your attention, our very best clients design their systems to be monitored from the ground-up – ensuring that their software helps identify performance problems as they happen.
Distributed File Systems – Take your pick of implementations, but many of our clients are eschewing traditional NAS/NFS devices for distributed storage pools the likes of Gluster, MogileFS and Ceph. Nearly every case has resulted in significant savings relative to proprietary systems with few reported impacts to availability or response times. Of course, as with any other architectural change you need to ensure that you are properly managing your risk through pods or swim lanes.