|By Scott Middleton||
|January 7, 2014 08:30 AM EST||
We recently completed a proof-of-concept (POC) that involved pulling data out of DynamoDB and into Redshift so that business users could analyze the data in an ad hoc manner with JasperSoft. JasperSoft and Redshift are touted as the new way to do data warehousing in the cloud and we were using DynamoDB as a sort of alternative to something Hadoop based.
We were amazed at how quickly and easily you could get a business-user friendly view of the data we had stored in DynamoDB using Redshift and JasperSoft. The actual human effort required to copy some initial data from DynamoDB into Redshift and then view it in JasperSoft was barely a few hours. However, there were a few unforseen technical challenges, but these challenges were not insurmountable. Ultimately we will continue with this technology combination because, as well as being easy to deploy and use, it gives us confidence that we can scale the POC into a "real" solution, and that our growing data needs will be taken care of.
Redshift's inbuilt copy from DynamoDB function makes getting data into Redshift fast but has limitations
Redshift provides an out-of-the-box copy function to copy data from DynamoDBinto Redshift without the need to set up servers or write any code other than a few simple lines of SQL. We were able to copy many of our tables straight out of DynamoDB and into Redshift and start running ad hoc queries without having to fire up servers or create an entire data translation layer of software.
We couldn't copy all of our tables, however, as DynamoDB's String Set field type is not currently supported by Redshift's copy function. After attempts at various SQL hacks and closely reading the Redshift manual we realized that we would not be able to work with these tables in the POC. In the future we will write some simple copy scripts (unless Amazon beats us to it and updates the copy command which, given their continuous product improvement, is likely).
Copying takes time
As it was a POC we were only copying across 3.5GB or 50 million rows of data but this process did take some time to complete - it took us 37 hours. Both Redshift and DynamoDB were running on the lowest performance settings and the DynamoDB instance was also servicing the needs of the live beta application we were trying to extract data from. We suspect this process could easily be made quicker by increasing the DynamoDB instance power and the power of Redshift but we did not test this.
The time it takes to copy 3.5GB of data indicated to us that a considered approach is necessary for getting data from DynamoDB into Redshift, especially considering that the live data will be much larger in volume. For example, when this goes into production we are only going to copy new records on a daily basis instead of clearing the entire Redshift database and reloading it to stay up to date.
Working in SQL with Redshift makes life easy
Once we had pulled our initial copy of data into Redshift we needed to manipulate the data to get it into a form that business users could analyze and create reports with.
The great thing about Redshift is that you are working in an environment you are familiar with. SQL. Redshift, at the time of writing, is based on PostgreSQL 8.0.2 so we were able to apply familiar string manipulation and math functions as well as create and join new tables to make the data much easier to understand for a non-technical business user.
Some SQL functions aren't yet supported by Redshift so we had to read through the documentation every now and then to find a suitable alternative. Sometimes it was just about trying to find the alternate name Redshift was using for a function we were used to using. Other times it meant creating some interesting workaround SQL. For example, Redshift doesn't support a function that can convert a Unix timestamp to a date so we had to manually convert our time stamps to dates using a mathematical formula.
Instant, non-technical user friendly data access with JasperSoft
We easily spun up a JasperSoft OnDemand instance and connected it to Redshift quite quickly. We were then creating ad hoc views and reports in a matter of minutes.
We did have some issues analyzing one of our tables straight out-of-the-box, one table had almost 3.5GB. Attempting to view reports on this table led to JasperSoft crashing. With some tweaking of the way the reports ran we were able to prevent analysis of this table from crashing JasperSoft.
Between the mockups and specs produced by analysts, and resulting applications built by developers, there exists a gulf where projects fail, costs spiral, and applications disappoint. Methodologies like Agile attempt to address this with intensified communication, with partial success but many limitations. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 19th Cloud Expo, Charles Kendrick, CTO at Isomorphic Software, will present a revolutionary model enabled by new technologies. Learn how business and deve...
Aug. 31, 2016 06:15 PM EDT Reads: 173
DevOps at Cloud Expo – being held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA – announces that its Call for Papers is open. Born out of proven success in agile development, cloud computing, and process automation, DevOps is a macro trend you cannot afford to miss. From showcase success stories from early adopters and web-scale businesses, DevOps is expanding to organizations of all sizes, including the world's largest enterprises – and delivering real results. Am...
Aug. 31, 2016 06:15 PM EDT Reads: 3,613
Although it has gained significant traction in the consumer space, IoT is still in the early stages of adoption in enterprises environments. However, many companies are working on initiatives like Industry 4.0 that includes IoT as one of the key disruptive technologies expected to reshape businesses of tomorrow. The key challenges will be availability, robustness and reliability of networks that connect devices in a business environment. Software Defined Wide Area Network (SD-WAN) is expected to...
Aug. 31, 2016 06:15 PM EDT Reads: 260
Developing software for the Internet of Things (IoT) comes with its own set of challenges. Security, privacy, and unified standards are a few key issues. In addition, each IoT product is comprised of (at least) three separate application components: the software embedded in the device, the back-end service, and the mobile application for the end user’s controls. Each component is developed by a different team, using different technologies and practices, and deployed to a different stack/target –...
Aug. 31, 2016 05:15 PM EDT Reads: 267
SYS-CON Events announced today that Hitrons Solutions will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Hitrons Solutions Inc. is distributor in the North American market for unique products and services of small and medium-size businesses, including cloud services and solutions, SEO marketing platforms, and mobile applications.
Aug. 31, 2016 05:00 PM EDT Reads: 872
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 19th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal and enterprise IT since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago. All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devices - comp...
Aug. 31, 2016 04:45 PM EDT Reads: 3,841
SYS-CON Events announced today that Numerex Corp, a leading provider of managed enterprise solutions enabling the Internet of Things (IoT), will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Numerex Corp. (NASDAQ:NMRX) is a leading provider of managed enterprise solutions enabling the Internet of Things (IoT). The Company's solutions produce new revenue streams or create operating...
Aug. 31, 2016 04:39 PM EDT Reads: 185
Enterprises have forever faced challenges surrounding the sharing of their intellectual property. Emerging cloud adoption has made it more compelling for enterprises to digitize their content, making them available over a wide variety of devices across the Internet. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Santosh Ahuja, Director of Architecture at Impiger Technologies, will introduce various mechanisms provided by cloud service providers today to manage and share digital content in a secure manner....
Aug. 31, 2016 04:15 PM EDT Reads: 975
We are always online. We access our data, our finances, work, and various services on the Internet. But we live in a congested world of information in which the roads were built two decades ago. The quest for better, faster Internet routing has been around for a decade, but nobody solved this problem. We’ve seen band aid approaches like CDNs that attack a niche's slice of static content part of the Internet, but that’s it. It does not address the dynamic services-based Internet of today. It doe...
Aug. 31, 2016 04:12 PM EDT Reads: 222
As the world moves toward more DevOps and Microservices, application deployment to the cloud ought to become a lot simpler. The Microservices architecture, which is the basis of many new age distributed systems such as OpenStack, NetFlix and so on, is at the heart of Cloud Foundry - a complete developer-oriented Platform as a Service (PaaS) that is IaaS agnostic and supports vCloud, OpenStack and AWS. Serverless computing is revolutionizing computing. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Raghav...
Aug. 31, 2016 04:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,127
While DevOps promises a better and tighter integration among an organization’s development and operation teams and transforms an application life cycle into a continual deployment, Chef and Azure together provides a speedy, cost-effective and highly scalable vehicle for realizing the business values of this transformation. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 19th Cloud Expo, Yung Chou, a Technology Evangelist at Microsoft, will present a unique opportunity to witness how Chef and Azure work tog...
Aug. 31, 2016 03:29 PM EDT Reads: 192
As cloud adoption continues to transform business, today’s global enterprises are challenged with managing a growing amount of information living outside of the data center. The rapid adoption of IoT and increasingly mobile workforce are exacerbating the problem. Ensuring secure data sharing and efficient backup poses capacity and bandwidth considerations as well as policy and regulatory compliance issues.
Aug. 31, 2016 03:15 PM EDT Reads: 313
Why do your mobile transformations need to happen today? Mobile is the strategy that enterprise transformation centers on to drive customer engagement. In his general session at @ThingsExpo, Roger Woods, Director, Mobile Product & Strategy – Adobe Marketing Cloud, covered key IoT and mobile trends that are forcing mobile transformation, key components of a solid mobile strategy and explored how brands are effectively driving mobile change throughout the enterprise.
Aug. 31, 2016 03:00 PM EDT Reads: 789
Data is the fuel that drives the machine learning algorithmic engines and ultimately provides the business value. In his session at Cloud Expo, Ed Featherston, a director and senior enterprise architect at Collaborative Consulting, will discuss the key considerations around quality, volume, timeliness, and pedigree that must be dealt with in order to properly fuel that engine.
Aug. 31, 2016 02:30 PM EDT Reads: 2,099
The Internet of Things can drive efficiency for airlines and airports. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Shyam Varan Nath, Principal Architect with GE, and Sudip Majumder, senior director of development at Oracle, will discuss the technical details of the connected airline baggage and related social media solutions. These IoT applications will enhance travelers' journey experience and drive efficiency for the airlines and the airports. The session will include a working demo and a technical d...
Aug. 31, 2016 02:03 PM EDT Reads: 221