Monday, February 16, 2015

SoundCloud’s Prometheus: A Monitoring System and Time Series Database Suited for Containers

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Prometheus is a next-generation monitoring system from SoundCloud that has already earned considerable repsect from the likes of the Docker engineering team. It’s a service especially well designed for containers and provides perspective about the data intensiveness of this new age and how even Internet scale companies have had to adapt.

SoundCloud, of course, is the online exchange for openly shared audio tracks. It’s an enormously popular platform which provides an immediate benefit for artists to be discovered by listeners, possibly by promoters, maybe even by potential agents. It enables amateur and professional musicians to share a common audience.

The company has a new set of realities compare to the summer of 2007 when the company was founded on a monolithic application written in Ruby on Rails. It was the most immediate and effective method at the time to construct a service that audiophiles could begin using right away. The back-end model was a single repository with a replete public API, enabling client apps to utilize whatever architectures or platforms they wished. This is what developers at the time called, keeping things simple. But simple doesn’t scale. That’s especially the case — with apologies to Arthur C. Clarke — with monoliths.

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