Interview With Ofer Bengal, CEO Of Garantia Data, On Redis And The NoSQL Landscape

Cloud Computing Today recently had the privilege to interview Garantia Data CEO Ofer Bengal about the positioning of Redis within the larger landscape of NoSQL databases. Redis is an an open source, in-memory, key value data store. In his responses to the questions below, Bengal remarks on the ability of Redis to “serve a very high volume of write and read requests…at sub millisecond latency,” its “single threaded event-driven architecture,” and protocols that, in collaboration with its other features, render it 5-10 times faster than other in-memory databases. Bengal also elaborates on the richness of data structures within the Redis platform that empower developers to write more elegant and streamlined code.

Garantia Data’s core offering consists of the Redis Cloud and Memcached Cloud on well known cloud platforms such as Amazon Web Services and Windows Azure. Its Redis Cloud platform provides a fully managed service for Redis deployments that includes handling of scalabilty and failover considerations. Garantia Data recently acquired MyRedis, a production-grade deployment of Redis that runs on Heroku and AppHarbor.

1. Cloud Computing Today: Why, in your view, will Redis become the preferred database technology platform?

Ofer Bengal: NoSQL databases like Redis are becoming increasingly popular. According to a 451 Research report, Redis adoption is projected to increase from 11.3 percent today to 15.9 percent in 2015. Redis in particular will become a preferred database technology because it is faster than any other database and it has rich data structures – which are very similar to those of today’s high level programming languages. Leading companies like Twitter and Pinterest use Redis, which shows it is highly useful for companies with rapidly growing datasets.

2. Cloud Computing Today: What differentiates the performance of Redis from other datastores?

Ofer Bengal: Redis is an in-memory database designed from the ground up to serve a very high volume of write and read requests (over 100K ops/sec on a typical cloud instance) at sub millisecond latency. This, in most cases, means two orders of magnitude faster than other disk-based databases. Versus other in-memory databases, Redis is based on a single threaded event-driven architecture which frees it from lock mechanisms. In addition, its protocol is simple and fast to process – making Redis 5x-10x times faster than any other in-memory database available today.

3. Cloud Computing Today: What makes developing apps with Redis a much simpler task than with other database platforms?

Ofer Bengal: Redis has a rich set of data structures which are very similar to those of today’s high level programming languages. Users are also able to do more with Redis as an in-memory database because it is less complicated to manipulate than the same data structure on disk. This means developers do far less damage to the concepts of their programs when using Redis, resulting in faster development, improved code quality and more attractive code.

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Windows Azure IaaS Takes Aim At Amazon Web Services Via Price, Functionality And Service

This was the week where Microsoft announced the general availability of Windows Azure Infrastructure as a Service. More than a simple declaration of production-grade availability, Microsoft’s announcement about its IaaS platform delivered the strongest possible elaboration of its intent to compete head to head with Amazon Web Services in the IaaS space to date. In a blog post, Microsoft’s Bill Hilf accurately assessed enterprise readiness with respect to cloud adoption by noting that customers are not interested in replacing traditional data centers with cloud based environments. Customers typically want to supplement existing data infrastructures with IaaS and PaaS installations alongside private cloud environments and traditional data center ecosystems. In other words, hybridity is the name of the game with respect to enterprise cloud adoption at present, and Hilf’s argument is that no one is better suited to recognize and respond to that hybridity than Microsoft. In conjunction with the general availability of its Azure IaaS platform, Microsoft pledges a commitment to “match Amazon Web Services prices for commodity services such as compute, storage and bandwidth” alongside “monthly SLAs that are among the industry’s highest.”

Microsoft also announced new, larger Virtual Machine sizes on the order of 28GB/4 core and 56 GB/8 core in addition to new Virtual Machine image templates featuring a gallery of image templates including Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2008 R2, SQL Server, BizTalk Server and SharePoint Server as well as VM templates for applications that run on Ubuntu, CentOS, and SUSE Linux distributions. Overall, the announcement represents an incisive and undisguised assault on the market dominance of Amazon Web Services within the IaaS space that is all the more threatening given Microsoft’s ability to match AWS in price, functionality and service. The key question now is the degree to which OpenStack and Google’s Google Compute Engine (GCE) will emerge as major players within the IaaS space. OpenStack has already emerged as a major IaaS player, but it remains to be seen which distribution will take the cake at the enterprise level. Nevertheless, analysts should expect a tangible reconfiguration of IaaS market share by the end of 2013, with a more significant transformation in place roughly a year from the release in general availability of Google’s Compute Engine, which was released in Beta in June 2012.

Red Hat’s OpenShift Becomes First PaaS to Support Java EE 6

Red Hat announced that its OpenShift Platform as a Service (PaaS) offering now supports Java Enterprise Edition 6 (Java EE 6) by means of its JBoss Application Server 7 on Wednesday. OpenShift’s support of Java EE 6 makes it the first PaaS development environment to support Java EE 6, differentiating it from competitors such as Google App Engine, Microsoft Azure and VMware Cloud Foundry. OpenShift’s support of Java EE 6 provides developers with access to the latest enhancements in Java technology and facilitates the migration of Java based applications to the cloud. Java EE 6 includes “Context and Dependency Injection (CDI), a standards-based, modern programming framework that makes it easier for developers to build dynamic applications and picks up where some proprietary frameworks left off.”

JBoss Application Server 7 enables OpenShift’s support of Java EE 6 and additionally marks the foundation of Red Hat’s forthcoming JBoss Enterprise Application 6. Released with limited access in May 2011, JBoss Enterprise Application 6 constitutes Red Hat’s vision of “the future of Java application platforms for both traditional and cloud-based environments.” JBoss Enterprise Application 6 is expected to be released for general access early in 2012.

Red Hat’s press release about OpenShift’s support of Java EE 6 noted that “the combination of OpenShift with JBoss application server now allows Java EE to be more easily scaled, managed and monitored in the cloud.” Moreover, “developers looking for a faster on-ramp to the cloud with built-in management and auto-scaling capabilities can use OpenShift so they can focus on coding mobile, social and enterprise applications while leaving stack setup, maintenance and operational concerns to a trusted hosted service.”
Scarcely three months old, OpenShift is an open source PaaS that supports Ruby, Python, Perl, PHP, Java EE, Spring, MySQL, SQLite, MongoDB, MemBase and Memcache.

Red Hat Enters IaaS and PaaS Space with CloudForms and OpenShift

At its May 2010 summit in Boston, Red Hat, the world’s leading provider of open source solutions, announced the launch of CloudForms and OpenShift, two products that represent the company’s boldest entrance into the cloud computing space so far. CloudForms marks an IaaS service offering that enables enterprises to create and manage a private or hybrid cloud computing environment. CloudForms provides customers with Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) functionality that enables management of an application deployed over a constellation of physical, virtualized and cloud-based environments. Whereas VMWare’s vCloud enables customers to manage virtualized machines, Red Hat’s CloudForms delivers a more granular form of management functionality that allows users to manage applications. Moreover, CloudForms offers a resource management interface that confronts the problem in the industry known as virtual sprawl wherein IT administrators are tasked with the problem of managing multiple servers, hypervisors, virtual machines and clusters. Red Hat’s IaaS product also offers customers the ability to create integrated, hybrid cloud environments that leverage a combination of physical servers, virtual servers and public clouds such as Amazon EC2.

OpenShift represents Red Hat’s PaaS product that enables open source developers to build cloud computing environments from within a specified range of development frameworks. OpenShift supports Java, Python, PHP and Ruby applications such as Spring, Seam, Weld, CDI, Rails, Rack, Symfony, Zend Framework, Twisted, Django and Java EE. In supporting Java, Python, PHP and Ruby, OpenShift offers the most flexible development environment in the industry as compared to Amazon’s Elastic Beanstalk, Microsoft Azure and Google’s App Engine. For storage, OpenShift features SQL and NoSQL in addition to a distributed file system. Red Hat claims OpenShift delivers greater portability than other PaaS products because customers will be able to migrate their deployments to another cloud computing vendor using the DeltaCloud inter-operability API. The only problem with this marketing claim is that DeltaCloud is by no means the most widely accepted cloud computing inter-operability API in the industry. Red Hat submitted the DeltaCloud API to the Distributed Management Task Force (DMTF) in August 2010, but the Red Hat API faces stiff competition from open source versions of Amazon’s EC2 APIs as well as APIs from the OpenStack project.

In summary, Red Hat’s entrance into the IaaS and PaaS space promises to significantly change the cloud computing landscape. CloudForms signals genuine innovation in the IaaS space because of its Application Lifecycle Management capabilities and hybrid infrastructure flexibility. OpenShift, meanwhile, presents direct competition to Google Apps, Microsoft Azure and Amazon’s Elastic Beanstalk because of the breadth of its deployment platform and claims about increased portability. What makes OpenShift so intriguing is it that constitutes Red Hat’s most aggressive attempt so far to claim DeltaCloud as the standard API for the cloud computing industry.

Dell announces plans to invest $1 billion in cloud computing

Dell announced it plans to spend $1 billion in cloud computing products and services over the next fiscal year in an attempt to gain market share in an environment currently dominated by Amazon, IBM, Microsoft, Google, Rackspace and HP. Over the next two years, the company plans to build 10 data centers devoted to deployment of cloud computing technology in the U.S., Europe and Asia. Moreover, the company plans to open a total of 22 Global Solutions Centers that enable customers to obtain consultative services about the cloud computing strategy that constitutes the best fit for their organization. In support of its plans to invest in cloud computing infrastructure, Dell announced the availability of vStart, a product that integrates server, storage, networking and management ability to provide customers with out of the box, racked and cabled virtualization hardware and software. Designed to instantly enable the virtualization of 100-200 machines in its initial configuration, vStart comes pre-loaded with VMware’s ESXi hypervisor virtualization technology but expects to accommodate a broader range of virtualization technology as the product matures. vStart 100’s technical specifications include a PowerEdge 610 server for managing the VMWare technology, 3 PowerEdge R710 servers, Dell EqualLogic™ PS6000XV iSCSI storage, Dell PowerConnect™ 6248 switches and Dell management tools.

Dell’s decision to invest heavily in cloud computing marks the most explicit recognition from the Texas based IT corporation that the market for PCs and data center servers is insufficient to sustain its growth in an enterprise environment that increasingly seeks IT standardization and efficiency, and a consumer environment that demands access to information in real-time, 24-7. Dell has yet to announce what cloud computing software will power its IaaS and PaaS offerings in the data centers it intends to build. One possibility is that the IaaS platform will feature the OpenStack platform while the PaaS leverages Microsoft Azure. In an April 6 press conference in San Francisco, Steve Schuckenbrock, Dell’s president of Dell Services, noted that Dell’s forthcoming cloud computing data centers will house “public and private cloud capabilities.”