By Philip Howard, October 16, 2014
ScaleBase is a vendor and product for distributing MySQL databases. It is not a database but a layer of software that sits on top of MySQL databases. So it offers a different solution from those proposed by the likes of NuoDB and Clustrix, which require investment in their specific databases.
Like both of those mentioned, ScaleBase is ACID and XA compliant and offers continuous availability. Because it is independent of the underlying database instances it is irrelevant to ScaleBase as to what those instances are being used for: whether transaction processing or analytics. In either case, ScaleBase’s distributed MySQL database retains all relational characteristics.
Where ScaleBase is particularly cool is in what it calls the Analysis Genie. This is available as a free SaaS and download. The Analysis Genie helps you to decide (it provides out-of-the-box recommendations) how best to distribute the data and provides a percentage score (which will change as the environment changes—so it is an ongoing monitoring tool) for you as to how efficient your data distribution is. The Genie examines your data, data relationships and the use of your data to give you a data distribution policy that is tuned efficiently for your application’s unique requirements. There are facilities provided to examine and distribute any existing MySQL databases that you want to move into the ScaleBase environment, without requiring any change to their applications.
A major differentiator for ScaleBase is that distribution is policy-based and transparent. That is, with ScaleBase you can see and control the variables that impact the distribution policy, whereas competitors take a more black-box style approach. A second differentiator is that ScaleBase views a data distribution policy as dynamic. So the software provides policy lifecycle management capabilities to analyse, monitor, maintain and optimise data distributions (and any required re-distributions) to match your application’s ever-evolving requirements.
Distributed database technologies are growing in importance for a number of reasons. For example, there are many companies wanting to move to the cloud and, especially where this is to be a hybrid environment with some data retained on premise and some in the cloud, then a distributed approach makes sense. Another significant market is for geographically-dispersed environments and a third, which is especially suited to ScaleBase, is for small companies that have the potential to grow rapidly. An example of this last type would be companies building social apps and games for mobiles. Many companies start with MySQL because it is freely available and that’s fine as long as you don’t suddenly develop a mega hit game. Now you suddenly need to hugely expand your database capacity and distributed technology allows you to do that relatively inexpensively and rapidly and without changing your application. The same, of course, would apply to a lot of Web 2.0 companies.
ScaleBase is available in the Cloud (Amazon EC2 and RDS, Rackspace, IBM and so on) and also supports hybrid and on-premise environments.
Of course it is possible to take a DIY approach to distributing MySQL databases. I don’t recommend it. As the environment changes you continuously have to change your sharding, change your applications and test those changes. There is no measure of how efficient your distribution is and, overall, this is a high maintenance approach that cannot guarantee efficiency.
From my perspective, if you need to distribute a MySQL environment then ScaleBase is the obvious solution or, at least, one that you should look at seriously. You’d also do well to consider ScaleBase if you are looking to migrate from an on-premise (expensive) relational database to lower cost cloud-based distributed computing.
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By Garrett Heath, September 9, 2014
The cloud ecosystem has given rise to a variety of tools and services that can be easily plugged into applications. Rather that writing code to monitor, load test and/or optimize your cloud environment, consider implementing some of these tools into your application.
The cost of application downtime extends beyond lost revenue. Businesses need to consider the potential for a spike in customer service requests and negative comments on social media, which can damage your company’s reputation. Because system administrators may not be able to diagnose problems 24×7, an Application Performance Monitoring (APM) solution can help.
APM tools like AppDynamics and New Relic provide application intelligence based on user-defined behaviors such as logging in, updating a cart or checking out. They provide information such as page load times and transactions in real time, enabling you to identify issues across the user experience.
The proliferation of mobile devices and social communication has put a strain on application resources. Businesses can identify stress points and potential bottlenecks before going live by load testing their app with companies like LoadImpact and Apica.
Both SaaS solutions generate traffic from different geographic regions while measuring the response rates and throughput of each packet. Results from these tests can include CPU and memory usage along with disk and network I/O, helping you fine-tune your app. These services are particularly helpful for businesses preparing for the holidays or a specific high traffic event.
Speed is important to your users, and companies like CloudFlare and Incapsalaoffer tools to optimize your website. By caching frequently requested content and using a cloud delivery network (CDN) to store files closer to the end user, your site’s load time will be much faster. Additionally, both companies offer security features like in-flight DDoS mitigation, identification and remediation of bot and spam traffic along with software-based Web application firewalls to help keep your site online.
These tools are software-based solutions that can be found in an online marketplace, but one of the best ways to boost your app’s performance is to consult a cloud expert. The Rackspace Managed Cloud connects you with a team of professionals who know the cloud inside and out, offering expertise on cloud architecture, scaling and assistance with your code.
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Database Trends & Applications: ScaleBase Enhances Distributed Database Platform with Version 3.0 and Unveils ‘Analysis Genie’
ScaleBase has announced the 3.0 release of its Distributed Database Platform, which enables users to move from a single MySQL instance to a distributed platform. The company also introduced a beta program for a new product called Analysis Genie.
ScaleBase version 3.0 is a cloud-optimized database platform built primarily for virtual environments. The database is horizontally scalable, built on MySQL and allows customers to keep and maintain their MySQL infrastructure. By logically distributing data across public, private, and geo-distributed cloud environments, this database functionally optimizes workload for greater efficiency.
According to the vendor, ScaleBase version 3.0 simplifies the deployment and management of the software, providing automatic analysis, migration, configuration and schema change; dynamic data optimization and balancing; and transparent failover. The new version also offers enhanced cross-shard joins and is cloud agnostic.
The new Analysis Genie is designed to guide organizations in determining the best way to scale out a database by analyzing a company’s schema and queries. “The Analysis Genie allows users to quickly assess how their application uses the data, what type of command they use, how the schema is built and it allows the relationships that data has to be viewed and then maintained as you move from one instance to many instances,” said Ram Metser, CEO at ScaleBase.
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Let’s say you run a company and you’re trying to get more people to visit your Web site. Your advertising agency comes up with an idea for a YouTube video with a tiny pig pulling your company’s product in a tiny wooden wheelbarrow. The video ends with a screen shot of your company’s logo and web site.
Before the YouTube video is posted, your web site functions nicely handling 100,000 visits a day. But the little pig YouTube video goes viral and suddenly your web site is getting two million daily hits. Your web site crashes since it can’t handle all the volume — instead of getting more potential customers to learn about your company, you get embarrassment.
ScaleBase’s products are built to make sure that if your company uses a database such as MySQL, it will automatically scale to meet the spikes in user demand, so that your company can turn that increased traffic into new customers.
ScaleBase does this by “scaling-out” the database so that businesses — such as customers Autodesk, AppDynamics and Mozilla – get the benefits of scaling their databases to meet increased demand — without adding hardware to their existing infrastructure and or re-writing their applications.
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In the past six months, all three sites went down – at the wrong time – because their databases couldn’t keep up with consumer demand. In every case, unplanned peaks in user traffic pounded the site, and brought performance to a screeching halt.
In this new world of immediate experience and gratification, the database is rapidly becoming the company. Consider Amazon and Pinterest: There’s no storefront, no customer service – they live and die based on each user’s experience. More than ever, that experience is backed every step of the way by data, which means that the dark corners of data performance risk are becoming a bet-the-company vulnerability.
If your data isn’t killing your database today, it will. Maybe next month; maybe next year.
To add a little perspective, one of the largest wireless providers in the UK – O2 – is currently spending close to $20 million in an effort to replace its database following two recent outages that impacted millions of customers. Derek McManus, COO of O2 UK wrote in a blog post that the company is, “…extremely disappointed to have let our customers down again.” He adds that O2 UK is “…not prepared to risk this happening to our customers for a third time and are implementing a proven alternative solution.”
On the flip side, you can get ahead of this chase for big data. It may mean rethinking how big databases are built for growth, because the underlying assumptions of predictable behavior are obsolete.
For just about every company, managing and exploiting the potential of ‘big data’ will be the #1 business opportunity before 2013 is out. Even if your database doesn’t seem like an under-performing asset today, it could easily become one within two or three quarters.
The biggest issue is performance – and staying ahead of the tidal wave of transactions. That’s especially challenging when the ‘conventional wisdom’ about big data points to the importance of analysis. Indeed, it’s the analysis that can be mined for sentiment, patterns, and, once you can decode it, predictability, new opportunities and money.
But it’s the transactions that underlie this intelligence. And it was the breathtaking volume of transactions that caused Amazon, Pinterest and Apple to go dark. Simply too much unexpected activity, likes, posts and uploads. And that – like it or not – is the future of big data. Peaks. Valleys. And not always when you expect them.
Avoiding this mineshaft is, surprisingly, possible. It’s not expensive, either. But it does mean toppling a few sacred cows.
For example, companies like Mozilla – which recently launched an online app store – are putting database scalability and performance systems and solutions in place before they build or launch new apps – in order to guarantee the company will be able to support its anticipated transaction volumes.
Size matters. But not the way you think.
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During last weekend’s frenzied holiday shopping, online retailers pushed the limits of their databases. The strain looks likely to continue during the next four weeks, as retailers continue to promote discounts and incentives in virtually every combination possible.
One way online retailers can prepare for those stressful traffic loads, and handle seasonal jumps in activity, is to optimize their databases. I spoke with Paul Campaniello, vice president of global marketing at ScaleBase, to discuss how the implementation of practices, including distributed databases, can help prevent ecommerce disaster.
SPfR: The holiday season is in full swing. Cybersales were up this year. Have performance expectations changed in recent years?
Campaniello: Performance is critical. So much of what we do is making sure [performance goals are met]. Today, there are many next-gen apps out there — not the traditional Oracle, SAP, and PeopleSoft — but apps like Facebook and Twitter, which are Web based. Our solution is built on MySQL DB, just like Facebook.
SPfR: What do solution providers need to be mindful of when working with retail customers?
Campaniello: What happens when everyone, for example, goes to Zappos and clicks on the same pair of $400 Jimmy Choo shoes? You click into or out of the cart, and you “get the hourglass.” If you “get the hourglass,” that’s a database issue. When you try and optimize a transaction, what you’re really trying to manage is the scale and flow, power and speed of the communication between the application and the database.
SPfR: Some might wonder, why not over-provision? Better safe than sorry, no?
Campaniello: We just did a Webinar and talked about SPRAIN pain: Scalability, Performance, Relaxed consistency, Agility, Intricacy, and Necessity. The idea is that when you stretch a database beyond its normal capacity, SPRAIN will stretch the database. You can solve the problem by throwing hardware at it. But if you don’t look at ways to scale your database, you’re not fixing the underlying problem. You want to find a way to scale your database.
ScaleBase, a Newton, Mass.-based startup that helps companies keep fast-scaling databases up-and-running, today announced that it has landed $10.5 million in series B funding, led by Bain Capital Ventures and Ascent Venture Partners, with participation from its existing investor, Cedar Fund. Having raised $4 million from Cedar in 2010, the investment brings the startup’s total funding to just under $15 million.
As scores of new web and mobile apps launch every day, increasingly companies are finding themselves working overtime to manage the intense processing requirements of big data and struggling to preserve up-time. For this reason, ScaleBase sees a big market opportunity for any company offering uninterrupted database performance solutions.
Being able to deliver realtime scalability obviously can have a big effect on application performance and has the benefit of reducing over-provisioning, which has the tendency to eat holes in the company coffers.
While it’s an auspicious problem for a company to have, exploding user bases and, in turn, significant increases in data production require companies to move fast to scale their databases. Naturally, processing these transactions can be stressful and ridiculously challenging depending on infrastructure and available resources.
More established players had to create ad hoc, internal solutions to solve these problems, but not every company is fortunate to have the available capital that scaling demands. That’s where ScaleBase comes in. As one might expect, high-growth and increasingly active spaces like online gaming and digital media represent big market opportunities for the company.
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Another day, another database company on my radar. This one’s a little different, though.
ScaleBase, a Newton, MA, startup that is trying to enhance the capabilities of existing databases, has raised a $10.5 million Series B funding round led by Bain Capital Ventures and Ascent Venture Partners. Previous investor Cedar Fund also participated in the round, which brings ScaleBase’s total funding to about $15 million.
The startup also announced a new CEO as of today, Ram Metser, who joined ScaleBase as executive chairman in June. Metser, the former CEO of Guardium (acquired by IBM in 2009), succeeds Doron Levari, the founder and now chief technology officer of ScaleBase.
In the IT world, it seems everyone and their brother is trying to develop software that makes database systems (such as MySQL) more scalable and able to handle the explosion of queries and transactions coming through new Web and mobile apps. ScaleBase does this by taking a virtualization approach to managing database loads, so that businesses can still use their existing infrastructure and applications. That’s the idea, anyway. Its big customers include Autodesk and Mozilla.
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Newton startup Scalebase, whose software aims to enable Web firms to rapidly grow their databases, on Wednesday announced a $10.5 million Series B round that includes new backers Bain Capital Ventures and Ascent Venture Partners. The two Boston-based venture capital firms were joined by existing backer Cedar Fund of Israel and Waltham in the round, the company said.
Scalebase also announced that its new CEO is Ram Metser, formerly chief executive of Waltham database security firm Guardium, acquired by IBM (NYSE: IBM) in 2009 for a reported $225 million. Metser had served as executive chairman at Scalebase since the spring.
The company was founded in 2010 by Doron Levari, who’d held the CEO role and is now the firm’s CTO.
In an interview, Metser said Scalebase’s middleware is targeted at companies with explosive growth in both their creation of data and the size of their user base. Those companies face challenges around scaling their databases to process all of the transactions, and can see their growth held back as a result, he said.
“Companies like Facebook had to deal with this problem before Scalebase existed, so they solved the problem with internal resources, and invested a lot,” Metser said. “We are solving this problem for the next companies that are like that — that have massive data growth, and growth to hundreds of thousands of users very quickly.”
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MySQL database management tool ScaleBase virtualizes MySQL database, spreading database load into smaller bite-size chunks
As an open source company, Mozilla developers make a lot of different versions of software code each day, and part of Sheeri Cabral’s job to keep track of them all: which ones work, which don’t, how many times they’ve been downloaded, and which have a bug that needs to be fixed.
To do that, the makers of the Firefox browser have a MySQL database, the common open source structured database system, which organizes the information in a table format. A few months ago Cabral, who is a database administrator and architect for Mozilla and a MySQL community contributor, began running into issues as the database grew to over 100GB. “If that database doesn’t work, the downloads aren’t available,” she says, emphasizing the importance of the database.
Typically the solution to such a problem is to throw more compute capacity at the server housing the database, or potentially switching from hard drive spinning disks to solid state drives, says Paul Burns, an analyst at Neovise. But Cabral found a different solution: Instead of having this one single database, Mozilla has in effect virtualized its database by splitting it up into a group of clusters, each holding a portion of the database. Using technology from a company named ScaleBase, now when a query is made the ScaleBase software identifies the cluster where the data is stored so that the entire database doesn’t have to be searched. This speeds performance without adding additional hardware. “This is not an easy thing to do,” Cabral says, “but they seem to have done it and it’s working.”
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AppDynamics picks ScaleBase for sharding over Clusterix
Find out why application performance management company AppDynamics chose ScaleBase over the other scaling/sharding technologies.Read the Full Casestudy Here
Scalebase was recently mentioned in Paul Burns article, ‘Shard’ Your Database & Speed Analytics Processing, on All Analytics.com
Check around, and you’ll see a small but growing number of companies — as well as open-source offerings — that deliver various types of sharding support. Some companies provide automatic sharding, which removes the difficulty of partitioning a database into shards. ScaleBase, for example, provides automated sharding and a platform that isolates applications from any changes. This means analytics applications can take advantage of sharded databases without any code changes.
Read the full article to learn more about database sharding and how this technique can help boost performance of your analytics environment.
Take a closer look at Mass High Tech’s recent ScaleBase article: ScaleBase ramps up sales, expects new funding