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Foursquare Case Study: Amazon Web Services – Foursquare’s balanced rewards using Amazon EMR

Foursquare was able to achieve cost and functionality advantages by using Amazon Elastic MapReduce rather than managing their own Hadoop cluster

I recently was taking a look at some of the more interesting case studies surrounding the use of MapReduce and Hadoop… and came across this case study by AWS on how Foursquare uses AWS Elastic MapReduce (EMR).

Read the full case study:  Foursquare Case Study: Amazon Web Services.

I was pretty amazed with the balance in benefits that Foursquare was able to achieve by using Amazon EMR rather than standing up and managing their own Hadoop cluster.

  • On one side of the scale, it seems that originally Foursquare chose Amazon EMR because of ease of use.  Not having to manage their own Hadoop cluster means they can simply spin up their EMR service whenever they need and even kill it and spin up another one if their application or data changes enough to warrant major configuration changes to the original cluster.  No more changing and fixing their own hadoop cluster… it’s easier just to start another one!
  • However, on the other side of the balance is cost… and because Foursquare was spinning EMR on On-demand high Mem and high CPU instances, their bill probably was pretty healthy by the end of the month.  But that’s ok because they were getting the functionality they needed, so they were willing to just live with the high bills, right?  Wrong… Foursquare purchased reserved instances instead on the on-going on-demand instances, saving over 35% on their yearly bill.  But, truly I’m sure you could hear the screams of rejoice through the streets of NYC when the Foursquare gang heard that Amazon, without warning, dropped the AWS service cost dramatically… helping Foursquare save another 22% on top of the 35% they already saved.
Some things are just worth the money.  And some things should only be done in the cloud.
Is data analysis with Hadoop one of them?  I would love to hear you argue otherwise…

 

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Ryan Hughes

Ryan Hughes, blogging at www.RyHug.com, is the Co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer (CSO) of Skygone (www.skygoneinc.com), a Cloud Computing solution provider to SI's, ISV's, Commercial, and Government. Education: MBA in Project Management from Penn State University; BS in GIS from Bowling Green State University Ryan currently has 10 years in Enterprise-level IT Program Management and Operations Management, as well as vast experience in Enterprise System Design and Cloud implementation methodology.

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