Welcome!

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

Related Topics: @DXWorldExpo

@DXWorldExpo: Blog Feed Post

EMC's Greenplum Unit Helps with Large Publicly Accessible Hadoop Cluster

Need to test your Hadoop app on a thousand nodes? Here’s how.

It isn’t often that you can get access to a thousand-node network to test your latest app, but thanks to the efforts of EMC’s Greenplum unit and some additional computing vendors, you can, and more amazingly, it is free of charge too.

The network was announced last fall at Strata and connects 1,000 specialized servers from Supermicro running dual Intel Xeon processors with 48 GB of RAM apiece along with Mellanox 10 GB Ethernet adapters and switches, and a total of 12,000 Seagate 2 TB drives. It is all contained within Greenplum’s Las Vegas data center, with the goal of having the largest publicly accessible Hadoop cluster around. While Yahoo and eBay and others have some fairly large Hadoop clusters, they generally don’t let anyone else come in and try out their apps. The cluster goes under the name of Analytics Workbench. On this page, you can click on the “learn more” button and submit your name if you are interested in using the cluster.

The goal, according to Greenplum staffers, is to have a community and collaborative big data platform that can be applied to a set of analytical problems that have wide appeal. When the Strata announcement was made last fall, Greenplum stated that they wanted to eventually publish any results from the cluster, but they haven’t yet. Intel was one of the first clients to use the workbench (and running a thousand-node job too), but they are still reviewing their results.

Other clients that are running tests on the cluster include Mellanox and VMware, who both donated gear to power it, and a research team from the University of Central Florida. A group from NASA Goddard is using it to perform an analysis of historical weather patterns. The cluster formally opened up in July, and yes, it is really is free of charge. Applicants need to be vetted and work closely with the Greenplum engineers to get their apps uploaded and configured to the cluster.

“We accept bids based on any submitted application and developers can request specific time and resources,” says William Davis, one of the Greenplum product marketers involved with the cluster’s creation. Applications are reviewed by an internal group of Hadoop experts called the Jedi Council, and they try to select who will have the best fit for the next test run on the cluster.

Greenplum intends to use the cluster in a variety of ways besides public testing. Sometime next quarter they will launch a training program for Hadoop. A unique aspect of the program is that each member of the course will be granted access to the cluster to use as a sandbox environment for their own project. They are still working out the details on how this will work. The company has other fee-based programs to leverage its experience with this cluster, including what it calls its Analytics Lab packages. This uses their team of data scientists on specific vertical markets or particular custom applications.

There are several other tools that are offered on the cluster in addition to Hadoop including MapReduce, the parallel job processing software; VMware’s Rubicon system management team; and standard Hadoop add-ons such as Hive, Pig, and Mahout.

Greenplum isn’t the first to have such a large test bed assembled, but probably the first to use this level of gear for Hadoop and other data science activities. In the late 1980s, a group of Novell engineers in Utah created the “SuperLab” which eventually grew to 1,700 PCs connected together. The lab was used to prove the features and scalability of Novell’s Netware network operating system, a piece of software that at one time could be found in most enterprises but now is largely a historical curiosity. Just to give you some perspective, in 1999 the PCs in Novell’s lab had a whopping 256 MB of RAM and 8 GB of storage (try buying that on today’s PCs). How times have changed.

Anyway, the SuperLab team left Novell a few years later and built their own private test lab for a startup called Keylabs. I was one of their early customers, using the facility to publish some of the test results in cNet and other IT publications of the first Web server comparison tests.

The Keylabs engineers very quickly discovered that automating the sequencing and actions of the individual PCs was tedious, and they wrote software that eventually spawned Altiris. Part of the assets of this company was later purchased by Symantec and is still used for their desktop imaging and management tool line.

Speaking of scaling up to a thousand machines automatically, running tests on this scale can be tricky. Greenplum has already seen several hardware failures that take down particular nodes as they have begun using their cluster. And like Keylabs, understanding how to sequence all this gear to come online quickly can be vexing: imagine if each machine takes just ten minutes to boot up and launch an app: times ten or twenty nodes that isn’t much of a big deal, but when you are trying to bring up hundreds it could tie up the cluster for the better part of a week in just starting up the tests. “It is a bit of a challenge in educating our customers on how to use and manage something of this size and how to deploy their software across the entire cluster. You can’t deploy software serially, and we have to make sure that our customers understand these issues,” says Davis.

So get your application in now for testing your app. You could be making computing history.

More Stories By David Strom

David Strom is an international authority on network and Internet technologies. He has written extensively on the topic for 20 years for a wide variety of print publications and websites, such as The New York Times, TechTarget.com, PC Week/eWeek, Internet.com, Network World, Infoworld, Computerworld, Small Business Computing, Communications Week, Windows Sources, c|net and news.com, Web Review, Tom's Hardware, EETimes, and many others.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


IoT & Smart Cities Stories
Poor data quality and analytics drive down business value. In fact, Gartner estimated that the average financial impact of poor data quality on organizations is $9.7 million per year. But bad data is much more than a cost center. By eroding trust in information, analytics and the business decisions based on these, it is a serious impediment to digital transformation.
In an era of historic innovation fueled by unprecedented access to data and technology, the low cost and risk of entering new markets has leveled the playing field for business. Today, any ambitious innovator can easily introduce a new application or product that can reinvent business models and transform the client experience. In their Day 2 Keynote at 19th Cloud Expo, Mercer Rowe, IBM Vice President of Strategic Alliances, and Raejeanne Skillern, Intel Vice President of Data Center Group and G...
Discussions of cloud computing have evolved in recent years from a focus on specific types of cloud, to a world of hybrid cloud, and to a world dominated by the APIs that make today's multi-cloud environments and hybrid clouds possible. In this Power Panel at 17th Cloud Expo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists addressed the importance of customers being able to use the specific technologies they need, through environments and ecosystems that expose their APIs to make true ...
The current age of digital transformation means that IT organizations must adapt their toolset to cover all digital experiences, beyond just the end users’. Today’s businesses can no longer focus solely on the digital interactions they manage with employees or customers; they must now contend with non-traditional factors. Whether it's the power of brand to make or break a company, the need to monitor across all locations 24/7, or the ability to proactively resolve issues, companies must adapt to...
We are seeing a major migration of enterprises applications to the cloud. As cloud and business use of real time applications accelerate, legacy networks are no longer able to architecturally support cloud adoption and deliver the performance and security required by highly distributed enterprises. These outdated solutions have become more costly and complicated to implement, install, manage, and maintain.SD-WAN offers unlimited capabilities for accessing the benefits of the cloud and Internet. ...
Business professionals no longer wonder if they'll migrate to the cloud; it's now a matter of when. The cloud environment has proved to be a major force in transitioning to an agile business model that enables quick decisions and fast implementation that solidify customer relationships. And when the cloud is combined with the power of cognitive computing, it drives innovation and transformation that achieves astounding competitive advantage.
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that "IoT Now" was named media sponsor of CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO 2018 New York, which will take place on November 11-13, 2018 in New York City, NY. IoT Now explores the evolving opportunities and challenges facing CSPs, and it passes on some lessons learned from those who have taken the first steps in next-gen IoT services.
Founded in 2000, Chetu Inc. is a global provider of customized software development solutions and IT staff augmentation services for software technology providers. By providing clients with unparalleled niche technology expertise and industry experience, Chetu has become the premiere long-term, back-end software development partner for start-ups, SMBs, and Fortune 500 companies. Chetu is headquartered in Plantation, Florida, with thirteen offices throughout the U.S. and abroad.
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that ICC-USA, a computer systems integrator and server manufacturing company focused on developing products and product appliances, will exhibit at the 22nd International CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO. DXWordEXPO New York 2018, colocated with CloudEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 11-13, 2018, in New York City. ICC is a computer systems integrator and server manufacturing company focused on developing products and product appliances to meet a wide range of ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that DatacenterDynamics has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7–9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. DatacenterDynamics is a brand of DCD Group, a global B2B media and publishing company that develops products to help senior professionals in the world's most ICT dependent organizations make risk-based infrastructure and capacity decisions.