Big Data Turns to Technical Operations Company to Get the Job Done

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1 AKUDA PEAK HOSTING Big Data Turns to Technical Operations Company to Get the Job Done When Managed Hosting Becomes Unmanageable Version 2.0 Everything but your code ṢM Las Vegas Chicago New York Ashburn/Washington, DC Atlanta Miami London Paris Amsterdam Frankfurt Milan

2 Download: Really big data requires really big hardware, running at a really fast speed with really fast throughput. Vince Schiavone, CEO, AKUDA LABS (855) (PEAK) Network Points of Presence: Hong Kong Singapore San Francisco Seattle San Jose Los Angeles Phoenix Houston Dallas

3 AKUDA PEAK HOSTING Big Data Turns to Technical Operations Company to Get the Job Done As the ability to process, filter and classify big data becomes an increasingly critical utility of doing business, finding an economical hosting solution capable of handling vast amounts of information, free from downtime, latency, scaling and throughput issues, is a mission-critical need. This white paper addresses the challenges AKUDA LABS, which provides streaming big data filtering, classification and analytics, and its customer ListenLogic, a pioneer in the advanced social intelligence space, faced in their mutual quest to ensure their big data technical infrastructure needs were met in order to reliably deliver critical, real-time insights to many of the world s leading brands. Definitions and Concepts The following are definitions and concepts used within this white paper: Big data is defined as, a new generation of technologies and architectures, designed to economically extract value from very large volumes of a wide variety of data, by enabling high velocity capture, discovery and/or analysis. 1 Big data analytics, then, is the process of analyzing vast amounts of unstructured and semi-structured data that are too voluminous and time-sensitive to load into a traditional relational database. Cloud computing is, a model for enabling convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications, and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction. 2 This is also known as cloud hosting. Within the context of this paper, the cloud refers to the concept of cloud hosting/cloud computing. Dedicated hosting refers to hardware and network connectivity provisioned exclusively for the customer at a facility not owned or leased by the customer. The customer is responsible for all administration and support of the system, though the facility owner may offer remote hands services for basic hardware issues, for an extra fee. Managed hosting refers to a more sophisticated version of dedicated hosting, where the hosting provider takes on the responsibility of the day-to-day operation of the customer s system. This frees the customer from network administration, infrastructure and support issues, making it possible for the customer to reduce or eliminate the need for network and infrastructure personnel. A Massive Challenge ListenLogic is a pioneering big social data analytics company, delivering advanced social intelligence and real-time threat detection to many of the world s leading brands across the consumer packaged goods, food and beverage, media and entertainment and pharmaceutical industries. Billions of daily posts are shared by hundreds of millions of contributors across millions of sources, ranging from social networks to blogs to forums. In order to strategically deliver this advanced social intelligence, ListenLogic must translate millions of daily digital conversations into real-time insight to manage risk, enhance revenue and drive innovation. 3 AKUDA LABS system must be capable of processing over 1 billion streaming classification operations per second (SCOPS) to enable Big Data Requirement: System must be capable of processing over 1 billion streaming classification operations per second (SCOPS) 1 Las Vegas Chicago New York Ashburn/Washington, DC Atlanta Miami London Paris Amsterdam Frankfurt Milan

4 Download: ListenLogic to ask Hadoop-level, deep-dive questions about massive amounts of streaming, open social data, and to answer those questions in real-time. With the right network, the hours- or dayslong wait intrinsic to Hadoop batch processing would be over. Leading global brands rely on ListenLogic to identify and protect against social risks and threats. ListenLogic relies on AKUDA LABS to maintain an economical and reliable hosting solution, all day, every day, said Vincent Schiavone, CEO for AKUDA LABS. And AKUDA relies on Peak Hosting to be that solution. BUILD pros & cons To meet ListenLogic s needs, AKUDA s hosting options fell under the traditional Build vs. Buy argument, requiring the company to either make a major investment in building and running its own data center, or to find a reliable partner to host their infrastructure (such as the network, servers, storage, and firewall). Each had its advantages, and each had its issues. Build (includes colocation and unmanaged, dedicated hosting) + Infinite control Rolling your own data center allows for maximum control over every aspect of the infrastructure. The design of the network, facility and hosting environment is under the company s complete control. 2 BUY pros & cons + Transparent + Customizable + Uptime under AKUDA s control Staffing is a nightmare It goes beyond the salary expense; it has become increasingly difficult to find talented, experienced and knowledgeable staff capable of filling the 17 different disciplines and skill-sets required to run a DIY operations team. Hugely expensive This was the biggest argument against AKUDA LABS taking on the task itself. While offering the most control, the do-it-yourself solution required a massive investment in equipment, significant and ongoing investment in personnel capable of running the network, and infrastructure such as bandwidth, power, and facilities maintenance. As requirements increased, so would the need for additional equipment, capital and operational planning, personnel and overhead. Buy (includes cloud and dedicated, managed hosting) + Significantly reduced infrastructure investment + Lower personnel requirements and expenditures + Nearly no server administration + Scalable on demand + Reduced responsibility for server and network environment Less control over the server and network environment Reduced customization The cost of doing it on their own prompted AKUDA LABS to reject colocation or building its own data center and facilities. They decided to pay to host their infrastructure and needed to choose between cloud or managed hosting. Network Points of Presence: Hong Kong Singapore San Francisco Seattle San Jose Los Angeles Phoenix Houston Dallas

5 AKUDA PEAK HOSTING AKUDA LABS First Choice: The Cloud By design, the cloud operates in a multi-tenant environment where hosted companies networks are virtualized on the many servers owned and operated by the host provider. The cloud is often thought of as a dream-home where companies can move their data center to and then live happily ever after, but the reality is that it s more of a seedy hotel than the French Riviera. It appears attractive, with a deceptively lower cost model offering promises that convince you nothing will go wrong, it will scale and be perfect forever, and there is no possible way to run your technical operations less expensively. Once companies move in, however, they soon realize that the cloud is not all it s cracked up to be: It s usually overbooked There are more customers on your servers than is optimal, so getting what you expect in terms of performance is just not there. cloud hosting Administration unmanaged managed Resources made available by Cloud providers typically the service provider to the do not manage the customer, where customer is hosted company s server one of many customers on the environments, though servers, ACT provisioned in a a few will for virtual server environment. additional fees. Noisy neighbors Like a stay in a loud hotel, having your business live next to someone banging away on the local hard drives, RAM, CPU, or network leaves little room for your services to work in AT WE DO peace and quiet. PR dedicated hosting Colocation is most common. Generally no price break for customers leasing equipment from hosting company, so this option is often unattractive. Customer leases equipment from provider, and provider administers and maintains some of the network, servers and facilities. Service stinks In the cloud, you re left to support everything yourself. If there are performance or application problems, you re on your own. Service in a cheap hotel is folding the towels and swirling the dirt in the room, but that doesn t mean it s clean enough for you to want to live there. Subject matter expertise In the cloud, there is none. It s like trying to get food in a hotel and your only choices are a vending machine down the hall, ordering pizza delivery, or going hungry. In the cloud, you hope for a gourmet meal where people know what they re doing but, in the end, you re left holding the bag with no subject matter expertise from the cloud, just a bunch of API, FAQ and GUI for your staff to do all of the work. Cost Any hotel may be affordable for a night or two. However, if you need to stay day after day, week after week, the economics immediately break down and you wind up paying more for a flophouse than you would for a palace. Don t let the veneer of the cloud fool you into thinking it s a perfect white picket fence house, complete with a housekeeper, butler, chauffeur, gardener, cook, personal assistant, nanny, and masseuse. The reality is you will be left to perform every one of these services yourself. The cloud doesn t clean this house for you; it gives you a threadbare mop and wishes you the best of luck. 3 Las Vegas Chicago New York Ashburn/Washington, DC Atlanta Miami London Paris Amsterdam Frankfurt Milan

6 Download: If these weren t enough, the cloud presents even more challenges to big data companies considering hosting in this environment. Additional issues AKUDA LABS would have faced were: Transparency While being told to pay no attention to the man behind the curtain might work for the Wizard of Oz, that kind of obfuscation would have made their operations in the cloud more difficult. Cloud companies limit visibility into their systems, making troubleshooting, performance analysis and bug detection extremely difficult. Because AKUDA would have had little insight into the hardware, software or virtualization method hosting their systems, it would have been difficult for AKUDA LABS to ensure everything was working correctly. Customization AKUDA s code requires deep levels of customization around TCP stacks, kernel patches, and a number of other factors. The plain-vanilla nature of cloud services meant the company would have been left with a system incapable of offering what AKUDA LABS required. PLAN A: the cloud not all it s cracked up to be Service Level Agreement (SLA) The cloud SLA guaranteed AKUDA could always provision and pay for more systems, but not necessarily receive the performance they actually needed. The cloud SLA made no provisions for their systems staying up; a system could fail but as long as AKUDA could start over provisioning more systems, the cloud provider s SLA was intact. Server Sprawl In the cloud, a customer is not supposed to notice, or care, whether their next virtual machine/server is provisioned on the same server, the next server, another server rack, or even in an entirely different data center. Latency is dictated by the laws of physics, to which even cloud providers are subject. AKUDA LABS and ListenLogic s data would have jumped among an unknown number of hops and locations, causing throughput to drop. Add in variable pipe sizes (100 Mb, 1 Gb, 10 Gb) and saturation, and throughput would have gone from bad, past horrible, straight to untenable. 4 Jitter and Latency Networking issues like latency and jitter (variations in latency times) kill big data performance. Big data and distributed applications can only process as fast as signaling packets are able to move between systems. When these packets are delayed, the entire system must slow to match the slowest common denominator (packet) in order to maintain synchronization. In networks with high latency or jitter, big data application performance drops exponentially. Within the cloud, ListenLogic would have seen between 1 and 1,000 microseconds of latency, three orders of magnitude. The cloud s level of jitter was like a car engine not being able to get into gear; every time the distributed application would have built up a head of steam, jitter would stall the engine. Based on the performance of the cloud and AKUDA LABS needs, the cloud wasn t an option. Network Points of Presence: Hong Kong Singapore San Francisco Seattle San Jose Los Angeles Phoenix Houston Dallas

7 AKUDA PEAK HOSTING AKUDA LABS Second Choice: Managed Hosting Since the cloud was unworkable for AKUDA LABS and they weren t going to build their own solution, the logical choice was to use dedicated equipment in a managed environment. Managed hosting gave AKUDA LABS a level of customization and support unavailable in the cloud, with the added benefit they wouldn t need any network staff. The hosting company s personnel did all the hardware upgrades, some day-to-day server management, occasionally diagnosed throughput issues, and server OS upgrades and patches. For AKUDA, it was most of the benefits of running its own data center, without the personnel or capital expenses. Managed hosting was far better than the cloud would have been, though AKUDA LABS discovered not all dedicated managed hosting companies were equally dedicated. AKUDA LABS started their hosting adventure with Serverbeach/Peer1, and soon after started a concurrent relationship with Hosting.com after the latter offered a price break worth pursuing. A lack of resources at the time, however, prevented AKUDA LABS from moving the entire operation to Hosting.com. Latency and custom configurability were still problematic, as were multi-hour turnaround on support issues and cumbersome administrative requirements. Nevertheless, AKUDA saved some money on hosting costs, so it was a decent short-term solution. PLAN B: managed hosting an improvement over the cloud, but still not an ideal or complete solution Then along came ThePlanet, which offered AKUDA better prices and a sales rep that made things happen when we had a problem, said Schiavone. Hoping the third time might be the charm, AKUDA switched to the larger company. ThePlanet provided AKUDA LABS a series of dedicated servers with 48 GB of memory each, an unprecedented amount of memory at the time. ThePlanet also provided four different physical and logical 1- Gigabit networks, which allowed for iscsi traffic, data migration, signaling traffic and other proprietary traffic to interact without interference from each other. The architecture required AKUDA LABS and ListenLogic to deploy an appropriate number of servers dedicated to each new customer, in small clusters. Performance was better than the cloud would have been, but better didn t mean great, or even good. Though ThePlanet offered greater custom configuration than Serverbeach/Peer1 or Hosting.com, there were still problems. Server sprawl, variable latency and jitter issues continued, meaning unused resources were wasted because availability on one customer cluster wasn t usable by another customer cluster. ThePlanet s large support department and customer base meant no one really understood AKUDA LABS or how their multi-network, complex, custom environment should have been deployed. Servers were always delivered incorrectly, but never twice with the same mistake. ThePlanet assigned different technical staff for each deployment, and the resultant confusion, frustration, and do-overs cost AKUDA LABS time and money. In a business where time is money, the multi-day downtime periods required to correct the configurations were unacceptable. With [ThePlanet], incorrect server issues were the issue. Given the associated time of a couple of days per incident, we just couldn t afford it, said Schiavone. The straw that broke the camel s back came when SoftLayer acquired ThePlanet. In seeking revenue escape velocity to support an IPO, the new management directed that all services would need to be configured through their software API, FAQ and GUI. Any one-off configurations, customizations and individual service requests were now the customer s responsibility. 5 Las Vegas Chicago New York Ashburn/Washington, DC Atlanta Miami London Paris Amsterdam Frankfurt Milan

8 Download: AKUDA LABS was now responsible for any custom kernels or other modifications needed beyond boilerplate installations. Alternatively, they could pay an expensive hourly engineering rate if they wanted SoftLayer to do it, or AKUDA could do some combination of the two. With 40 servers under their control, the first option would require AKUDA to hire a $150k-per-year IT engineer, while the second meant AKUDA still would have to oversee the details of server management. AKUDA LABS essentially was offered a lower level of service with no break in price. AKUDA LABS Winning Choice: Customized Managed Hosting with Peak Hosting Neither running a data center nor cloud hosting were options, and multiple dedicated managed hosting solutions weren t as dedicated as claimed. What was AKUDA LABS to do? The answer: move to Peak Hosting. As a fully-outsourced technical operations service provider, Peak Hosting created a dedicated, customized managed hosting solution for AKUDA and, by extension, ListenLogic. The free migration process and resultant system gave both companies first-hand experience that Peak Hosting s team could live up to their motto, Everything but your code SM. Look at how Peak Hosting stacks up against the other solutions, in every category critical to AKUDA LABS: type of service critical categories transparent do it yourself cloud managed hosting customized, dedicated managed hosting via peak hosting yes no maybe yes customized yes no maybe yes no vendor lock-in yes no maybe yes 100% alwaysup sla sm including maintenance windows maybe no maybe yes deterministic performance yes no maybe yes scalable yes maybe maybe yes low latency maybe no maybe yes no server sprawl yes no maybe yes 6 cost personalized support and customer care $$$$$ $$$$ $$$ $ maybe no maybe yes Network Points of Presence: Hong Kong Singapore San Francisco Seattle San Jose Los Angeles Phoenix Houston Dallas

9 AKUDA PEAK HOSTING Generally speaking, a server is a commodity item. All things being equal, a Dell R710 is a Dell R710, irrespective of whether it s provided by Hosting Company A or Hosting Company B. The service, configuration, and deployment are where the magic happens. What good is the best designed and configured network if it stops working and the hosting company doesn t have the expertise to fix it? Isn t it better to have a system that doesn t fail to begin with? In order to cope with SAN issues, we store a lot of data in memory. If those servers crash, we lose all our data. None of our in-memory servers [with Peak Hosting] have ever crashed. That s 100% availability, said Schiavone. AKUDA LABS requires a system with bulletproof reliability. Where latency is low and transparency is high. Where component failure doesn t result in service or system failure. Where redundant systems mean its service is never offline. Peak Hosting s AlwaysUp Architecture SM eliminates possible points of failure. Servers are deployed with at least two HDD in RAID-1 configuration and upgraded RAID controllers. Dual power supplies, dual UPS and dual backup generators are also included. All servers have a physically separate and isolated out-of-band IP KVM network for server management. PLAN C: Peak Hosting a dedicated, customized managed hosting solution. This redundancy accounts for 30% of Peak Hosting s equipment costs, but offers customers such as AKUDA LABS and ListenLogic a system so robust that Peak Hosting is the only company in our industry to offer a no fine print, 100% AlwaysUp SLA SM that allows for zero exceptions, not even maintenance windows. AKUDA asked, and Peak Hosting delivered: Peak Hosting provided a customized solution that met every AKUDA LABS need and reduced their monthly bill by over 30%. There was no other solution that approached the performance-to-cost ratio offered by Peak Hosting, said Schiavone. Schiavone said that while cost was the main factor for their selection, other features convinced AKUDA LABS that Peak Hosting was the best choice: Custom operating system and hardware installation Deterministic performance impossible in the cloud Network performance of 20-microsecond latency and zero jitter Unbelievably High performance I/O subsystem Exceptionally Large amounts of memory (512 GB) per server In every proposal AKUDA LABS received from other hosting service providers, these items either were not available or extremely expensive. Schiavone was impressed by both the affordability of AKUDA LABS customized solution, and by how Peak Hosting lived up to its core customer service philosophy of, What s the most we can do? 7 Las Vegas Chicago New York Ashburn/Washington, DC Atlanta Miami London Paris Amsterdam Frankfurt Milan

10 Download: When hardware resources became bottlenecks, Peak Hosting upgraded the hardware the AKUDA platform runs on, at no extra cost. For example, to sustain 1 billion classification operations per second, data needed to be pushed across servers at rates well over 500 Mbps. Peak Hosting quickly replaced our four 1 Gbps network cards with two 10 Gbps network cards so that we could achieve our target processing speed. In order to cope with SAN issues, we store a lot of data in memory. If those servers crash, we lose all our data. None of our inmemory servers [with Peak Hosting] have ever crashed. That s 100% availability. Vince Schiavone, CEO, AKUDA LABS The original network design required dedicated NICs for individual network tasks, which led to slower potential performance and an underutilization of resources. Peak Hosting separated the physical topology (what was built) from the logical topology (how the system communicated) to give unprecedented throughput, low latency, and higher performance. As a result, AKUDA no longer needed to dedicate clusters of servers to individual customers, but could combine all servers into one large resource group. Previously, any unused capacity for a given customer group was lost. When AKUDA pooled all customers across a shared infrastructure, they reduced the total number of servers by approximately 20%. Additionally, performance improved because of the mere 20-microsecond latency on Peak Hosting s One-hop network topology, so memory from one server could be used by the compute on another server, decreasing the time to deploy new features. Developers were no longer restricted to scheduling jobs across multiple systems only at times when the available resources were perfect. Peak Hosting s service is backed by its technical experts, who average 15 years of experience. They ve been an active part of designing, building, and maintaining many of the Internet s largest and most well known properties. Their know-how allows them to take the identical equipment used by other hosting companies and achieve unmatched levels of performance, scalability and cost savings. Conclusion AKUDA LABS had, and continues to have, an unusual set of needs other companies looking for hosting solutions may not have. AKUDA LABS and ListenLogic deal in massive quantities of data. Their hardware, expertise and network requirements are such that a do-it-yourself solution would have been prohibitively expensive, the cloud would have been unworkable and AKUDA LABS initial choices of dedicated hosting companies didn t have the expertise or capacity to do the job AKUDA LABS needed done. All in all, Peak Hosting s combination of technical know-how, customer service dedication and a philosophy of What s the most I can do for my customer? gave AKUDA LABS an even better experience than the company had hoped for. Schiavone agreed. The story is that really big data requires really big hardware, running at a really fast speed with really fast throughput. Peak Hosting delivers that, and at a price less than we expected. 1 IDC, Big Data Analytics: Future Architecture, Skills and Roadmaps for the CIO. P5, NIST, NIST Cloud Computing Definition, 25 October Network Points of Presence: Hong Kong Singapore San Francisco Seattle San Jose Los Angeles Phoenix Houston Dallas

11 AKUDA PEAK HOSTING (855) (PEAK) Las Vegas Chicago New York Ashburn/Washington, DC Atlanta Miami London Paris Amsterdam Frankfurt Milan

12 Download: Everything but your code ṢM (855) (PEAK) Copyright Peak Hosting. All rights reserved. Peak Hosting is a privately owned and operated technical operations service company. 13_08_PH_WP_AKUDA_US_v9_4 Share me Network Points of Presence: Hong Kong Singapore San Francisco Seattle San Jose Los Angeles Phoenix Houston Dallas

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