Welcome!

Apache Authors: Pat Romanski, Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, Christopher Harrold, Janakiram MSV

Blog Feed Post

Quick MapReduce with beanstalkd

At ProjectLocker, we operate a polyglot environment with a heavy Ruby bias. While we love Ruby and Rails, one of the drawbacks of Ruby is its Global VM Lock. In a nutshell, the Global VM Lock makes it harder to write Ruby code that can fully utilize a modern multi-core server. For Web applications, this isn’t a problem because the web server manages multiple processes for you (e.g. via Passenger). However, for offline processes, parallelism doesn’t come for free.

I was recently working on a project that involved the offline batch processing of lots of data. This project has been operating successfully for some time, but the data set has grown, causing the process to need more more time to complete than we’d like. So I dove in to see what we could do to speed it up. Fortunately, the process was still single-threaded, so we knew we’d be able to inject concurrency to increase throughput without adding hardware.

The job in question runs on a fairly well-equipped server, but the server was underutilized due to the process being serial. Here’s an outline of the initial code:

def main_job
  for retrieve_giant_dataset().each do |item|
    long_process(item)
  end

  summarize_results(retrieve_all_results()) 
end

def long_process(item)
  # Do some work on item that uses a lot of CPU time.
  item.save
end

That approach gets the job done, but I wanted to parallelize it. Conceptually, I wanted to transform the main_job method so that it looked something like this:

def main_job
  threads = []
  for retrieve_giant_dataset().each do |item|
    threads << Thread.new(item) do
      long_process(item)
    end
  end

  threads.each { |t| t.join }

  summarize_results(retrieve_all_results()) 
end

Unfortunately, it’s not that easy due to the aforementioned Global VM Lock. What I needed was a way to get my threads running on a bunch of independent processes. This is a problem tailor-made for a job queueing system. Enter beanstalkd, a simple & fast work queue. We paired beanstalkd with Stalker, a DSL that makes it easy to queue and process jobs from Ruby. Integrating these two was a cinch. Here’s what the restructured code looks like now:

def main_job
  for retrieve_giant_dataset().each do |item|
    Stalker.enqueue(JOB_NAME, :id => item.id)
  end

  beaneater = Beaneater::Pool.new(['localhost:11300'])
  tube = beaneater.tubes.find TUBE_NAME
  while tube.peek(:ready)
    sleep(5)
  end

  summarize_results(retrieve_all_results()) 
end

So instead of processing each item during the loop, now we just add each to the beanstalkd queue. Once we finish queueing all of the items, we wait until all of our entries have been processed by the worker processes. The workers are initiated via a jobs.rb file that looks something like this:

include Stalker
  
job JOB_NAME do |args|
  item = ItemClass.find(args['id'])
  Worker::long_process(item) 
end

We then start beanstalkd and a few worker processes and we’re off to the races. Now our job runs in parallel via multiple processes, and we can tune the number of worker processes we run to consume as much of the machine’s resources as we like. As a bonus, we can also run Stalker workers on other machines in our cluster for added parallelism. With just a few minor tweaks to our code, we’ve gone from single-threaded to a solution that is limited only by the capacity of the shared database used. Sweet!

What about the MapReduce reference in the title of this post? The MapReduce algorithm basically has two steps. In the Map step, you divide the work and assign it to worker nodes. The Reduce step simply combines the results of each individual node’s computation into an aggregate result. In our solution here, the Map step is done by us enqueuing our jobs into beanstalkd and then beanstalkd making the jobs available for consumption by our nodes. Our database serves to communicate the details of the jobs, and stands in for a shared filesystem like the HDFS used by Hadoop. I didn’t go into detail about this step, but our Reduce is also assisted by database aggregates; we’re able to construct a few simple queries that get us what we want from the database.

So there it is, distributed MapReduce for Ruby using beanstalkd, Stalker, and a healthy database. This is probably not the best solution if you need to scale to thousands or tens of thousands of workers. But if you just need to get tens of workers running in parallel quickly, you may be able to adapt this approach to fit your needs.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Damon Young

Damon Young is Director of Sales at ProjectLocker.com. ProjectLocker was founded in 2003 to provide on-demand tools for software developers. Guided by the simple mission of helping companies build better software, ProjectLocker's services have expanded to include services for the complete lifecycle of software projects, from requirements documentation to build and test automation. ProjectLocker serves companies from startups to Fortune 1000 multinationals.

@ThingsExpo Stories
As hybrid cloud becomes the de-facto standard mode of operation for most enterprises, new challenges arise on how to efficiently and economically share data across environments. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Dr. Allon Cohen, VP of Product at Elastifile, will explore new techniques and best practices that help enterprise IT benefit from the advantages of hybrid cloud environments by enabling data availability for both legacy enterprise and cloud-native mission critical applications. By rev...
As popularity of the smart home is growing and continues to go mainstream, technological factors play a greater role. The IoT protocol houses the interoperability battery consumption, security, and configuration of a smart home device, and it can be difficult for companies to choose the right kind for their product. For both DIY and professionally installed smart homes, developers need to consider each of these elements for their product to be successful in the market and current smart homes.
Join IBM November 1 at 21st Cloud Expo at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, and learn how IBM Watson can bring cognitive services and AI to intelligent, unmanned systems. Cognitive analysis impacts today’s systems with unparalleled ability that were previously available only to manned, back-end operations. Thanks to cloud processing, IBM Watson can bring cognitive services and AI to intelligent, unmanned systems. Imagine a robot vacuum that becomes your personal assistant tha...
In his Opening Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, John Considine, General Manager of IBM Cloud Infrastructure, will lead you through the exciting evolution of the cloud. He'll look at this major disruption from the perspective of technology, business models, and what this means for enterprises of all sizes. John Considine is General Manager of Cloud Infrastructure Services at IBM. In that role he is responsible for leading IBM’s public cloud infrastructure including strategy, development, and offering ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that N3N will exhibit at SYS-CON's @ThingsExpo, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. N3N’s solutions increase the effectiveness of operations and control centers, increase the value of IoT investments, and facilitate real-time operational decision making. N3N enables operations teams with a four dimensional digital “big board” that consolidates real-time live video feeds alongside IoT sensor data a...
In a recent survey, Sumo Logic surveyed 1,500 customers who employ cloud services such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform (GCP). According to the survey, a quarter of the respondents have already deployed Docker containers and nearly as many (23 percent) are employing the AWS Lambda serverless computing framework. It’s clear: serverless is here to stay. The adoption does come with some needed changes, within both application development and operations. Tha...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Avere Systems, a leading provider of enterprise storage for the hybrid cloud, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Avere delivers a more modern architectural approach to storage that doesn't require the overprovisioning of storage capacity to achieve performance, overspending on expensive storage media for inactive data or the overbui...
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing Cloud strategies, now is the perfect time to attend 21st Cloud Expo October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center, CA, and June 12-14, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is on the right path to Digital Transformation.
SYS-CON Events announced today that mruby Forum will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. mruby is the lightweight implementation of the Ruby language. We introduce mruby and the mruby IoT framework that enhances development productivity. For more information, visit http://forum.mruby.org/.
Digital transformation is changing the face of business. The IDC predicts that enterprises will commit to a massive new scale of digital transformation, to stake out leadership positions in the "digital transformation economy." Accordingly, attendees at the upcoming Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, Oct 31-Nov 2, will find fresh new content in a new track called Enterprise Cloud & Digital Transformation.
Most technology leaders, contemporary and from the hardware era, are reshaping their businesses to do software. They hope to capture value from emerging technologies such as IoT, SDN, and AI. Ultimately, irrespective of the vertical, it is about deriving value from independent software applications participating in an ecosystem as one comprehensive solution. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Kausik Sridhar, founder and CTO of Pulzze Systems, will discuss how given the magnitude of today's applicati...
SYS-CON Events announced today that NetApp has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. NetApp is the data authority for hybrid cloud. NetApp provides a full range of hybrid cloud data services that simplify management of applications and data across cloud and on-premises environments to accelerate digital transformation. Together with their partners, NetApp emp...
Smart cities have the potential to change our lives at so many levels for citizens: less pollution, reduced parking obstacles, better health, education and more energy savings. Real-time data streaming and the Internet of Things (IoT) possess the power to turn this vision into a reality. However, most organizations today are building their data infrastructure to focus solely on addressing immediate business needs vs. a platform capable of quickly adapting emerging technologies to address future ...
Amazon is pursuing new markets and disrupting industries at an incredible pace. Almost every industry seems to be in its crosshairs. Companies and industries that once thought they were safe are now worried about being “Amazoned.”. The new watch word should be “Be afraid. Be very afraid.” In his session 21st Cloud Expo, Chris Kocher, a co-founder of Grey Heron, will address questions such as: What new areas is Amazon disrupting? How are they doing this? Where are they likely to go? What are th...
SYS-CON Events announced today that SkyScale will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. SkyScale is a world-class provider of cloud-based, ultra-fast multi-GPU hardware platforms for lease to customers desiring the fastest performance available as a service anywhere in the world. SkyScale builds, configures, and manages dedicated systems strategically located in maximum-security...
Join IBM November 1 at 21st Cloud Expo at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, and learn how IBM Watson can bring cognitive services and AI to intelligent, unmanned systems. Cognitive analysis impacts today’s systems with unparalleled ability that were previously available only to manned, back-end operations. Thanks to cloud processing, IBM Watson can bring cognitive services and AI to intelligent, unmanned systems. Imagine a robot vacuum that becomes your personal assistant th...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Avere Systems, a leading provider of hybrid cloud enablement solutions, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Avere Systems was created by file systems experts determined to reinvent storage by changing the way enterprises thought about and bought storage resources. With decades of experience behind the company’s founders, Avere got its ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Taica will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. ANSeeN are the measurement electronics maker for X-ray and Gamma-ray and Neutron measurement equipment such as spectrometers, pulse shape analyzer, and CdTe-FPD. For more information, visit http://anseen.com/.
High-velocity engineering teams are applying not only continuous delivery processes, but also lessons in experimentation from established leaders like Amazon, Netflix, and Facebook. These companies have made experimentation a foundation for their release processes, allowing them to try out major feature releases and redesigns within smaller groups before making them broadly available. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Brian Lucas, Senior Staff Engineer at Optimizely, will discuss how by using...
In this strange new world where more and more power is drawn from business technology, companies are effectively straddling two paths on the road to innovation and transformation into digital enterprises. The first path is the heritage trail – with “legacy” technology forming the background. Here, extant technologies are transformed by core IT teams to provide more API-driven approaches. Legacy systems can restrict companies that are transitioning into digital enterprises. To truly become a lead...