Wednesday, August 28, 2013

In-Stream Big Data Processing

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The shortcomings and drawbacks of batch-oriented data processing were widely recognized by the Big Data community quite a long time ago. It became clear that real-time query processing and in-stream processing is the immediate need in many practical applications. In recent years, this idea got a lot of traction and a whole bunch of solutions like Twitter’s Storm, Yahoo’s S4, Cloudera’s Impala, Apache Spark, and Apache Tez appeared and joined the army of Big Data and NoSQL systems. This article is an effort to explore techniques used by developers of in-stream data processing systems, trace the connections of these techniques to massive batch processing and OLTP/OLAP databases, and discuss how one unified query engine can support in-stream, batch, and OLAP processing at the same time.

At Grid Dynamics, we recently faced a necessity to build an in-stream data processing system that aimed to crunch about 8 billion events daily providing fault-tolerance and strict transactioanlity i.e. none of these events can be lost or duplicated. This system has been designed to supplement and succeed the existing Hadoop-based system that had too high latency of data processing and too high maintenance costs. The requirements and the system itself were so generic and typical that we describe it below as a canonical model, just like an abstract problem statement.

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