Welcome!

Apache Authors: William Schmarzo, Christopher Harrold, Elizabeth White, Talend Inc., Adrian Bridgwater

Related Topics: @BigDataExpo

@BigDataExpo: 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.


@ThingsExpo Stories
Companies can harness IoT and predictive analytics to sustain business continuity; predict and manage site performance during emergencies; minimize expensive reactive maintenance; and forecast equipment and maintenance budgets and expenditures. Providing cost-effective, uninterrupted service is challenging, particularly for organizations with geographically dispersed operations.
SYS-CON Events announced today TechTarget 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, and the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. TechTarget is the Web’s leading destination for serious technology buyers researching and making enterprise technology decisions. Its extensive global networ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Commvault, a global leader in enterprise data protection and information management, has been named “Bronze 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, and the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Commvault is a leading provider of data protection and information management...
As cloud and storage projections continue to rise, the number of organizations moving to the cloud is escalating and it is clear cloud storage is here to stay. However, is it secure? Data is the lifeblood for government entities, countries, cloud service providers and enterprises alike and losing or exposing that data can have disastrous results. There are new concepts for data storage on the horizon that will deliver secure solutions for storing and moving sensitive data around the world. ...
SYS-CON Events announced today Object Management Group® 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, and the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Events announced today that MangoApps will exhibit at 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. MangoApps provides modern company intranets and team collaboration software, allowing workers to stay connected and productive from anywhere in the world and from any device. For more information, please visit https://www.mangoapps.com/.
The essence of data analysis involves setting up data pipelines that consist of several operations that are chained together – starting from data collection, data quality checks, data integration, data analysis and data visualization (including the setting up of interaction paths in that visualization). In our opinion, the challenges stem from the technology diversity at each stage of the data pipeline as well as the lack of process around the analysis.
The IoTs will challenge the status quo of how IT and development organizations operate. Or will it? Certainly the fog layer of IoT requires special insights about data ontology, security and transactional integrity. But the developmental challenges are the same: People, Process and Platform. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Craig Sproule, CEO of Metavine, will demonstrate how to move beyond today's coding paradigm and share the must-have mindsets for removing complexity from the development proc...
Designing IoT applications is complex, but deploying them in a scalable fashion is even more complex. A scalable, API first IaaS cloud is a good start, but in order to understand the various components specific to deploying IoT applications, one needs to understand the architecture of these applications and figure out how to scale these components independently. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Nara Rajagopalan is CEO of Accelerite, will discuss the fundamental architecture of IoT applications, ...
A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, wh...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Tintri Inc., a leading producer of VM-aware storage (VAS) for virtualization and cloud environments, will exhibit at the 18th International CloudExpo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, and the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Bruce Swann, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Adobe, will discuss how the Adobe Marketing Cloud can help marketers embrace opportunities for personalized, relevant and real-time customer engagement across offline (direct mail, point of sale, call center) and digital (email, website, SMS, mobile apps, social networks, connected objects). Bruce Swann has more than 15 years of experience working with digital marketing disciplines like web analytics, social med...
SYS-CON Events announced today that EastBanc Technologies will exhibit at 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. EastBanc Technologies has been working at the frontier of technology since 1999. Today, the firm provides full-lifecycle software development delivering flexible technology solutions that seamlessly integrate with existing systems – whether on premise or cloud. EastBanc Technologies partners with p...
SYS-CON Events announced today that BMC Software has been named "Siver Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2015 at the Javits Center in New York, New York. BMC is a global leader in innovative software solutions that help businesses transform into digital enterprises for the ultimate competitive advantage. BMC Digital Enterprise Management is a set of innovative IT solutions designed to make digital business fast, seamless, and optimized from mainframe to mo...
The IoT is changing the way enterprises conduct business. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Eric Hoffman, Vice President at EastBanc Technologies, discuss how businesses can gain an edge over competitors by empowering consumers to take control through IoT. We'll cite examples such as a Washington, D.C.-based sports club that leveraged IoT and the cloud to develop a comprehensive booking system. He'll also highlight how IoT can revitalize and restore outdated business models, making them profitable...
Customer experience has become a competitive differentiator for companies, and it’s imperative that brands seamlessly connect the customer journey across all platforms. With the continued explosion of IoT, join us for a look at how to build a winning digital foundation in the connected era – today and in the future. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Nguyen, Group Product Marketing Manager at Adobe, will discuss how to successfully leverage mobile, rapidly deploy content, capture real-time d...
SYS-CON Events announced today that ContentMX, the marketing technology and services company with a singular mission to increase engagement and drive more conversations for enterprise, channel and SMB technology marketers, has been named “Sponsor & Exhibitor Lounge Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York. “CloudExpo is a great opportunity to start a conversation with new prospects, but what happens after the...
SoftLayer operates a global cloud infrastructure platform built for Internet scale. With a global footprint of data centers and network points of presence, SoftLayer provides infrastructure as a service to leading-edge customers ranging from Web startups to global enterprises. SoftLayer's modular architecture, full-featured API, and sophisticated automation provide unparalleled performance and control. Its flexible unified platform seamlessly spans physical and virtual devices linked via a world...
IoT generates lots of temporal data. But how do you unlock its value? How do you coordinate the diverse moving parts that must come together when developing your IoT product? What are the key challenges addressed by Data as a Service? How does cloud computing underlie and connect the notions of Digital and DevOps What is the impact of the API economy? What is the business imperative for Cognitive Computing? Get all these questions and hundreds more like them answered at the 18th Cloud Expo...
What a difference a year makes. Organizations aren’t just talking about IoT possibilities, it is now baked into their core business strategy. With IoT, billions of devices generating data from different companies on different networks around the globe need to interact. From efficiency to better customer insights to completely new business models, IoT will turn traditional business models upside down. In the new customer-centric age, the key to success is delivering critical services and apps wit...