Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Riak for Gaming [feedly]

  

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Riak for Gaming
// Basho

April 16, 2014

The world of gaming can be unpredictable. It can be hard to judge if a game is going to be the next Angry Birds and experience exponential, global growth. Riak is designed to help gaming platforms handle this uncertainty with ease. Its focus on high availability means that all data remains accessibility, even during node failure. Its flexible data model and redundant, fault-tolerant design easily allows gaming platforms to store any type of data needed. Riak is also built for operational simplicity at scale, so Riak will seamlessly grow with data and popularity. Finally, the option for multi-datacenter replication means that gamers all over the world will get the same low-latency experience across multiple devices.

Top Use Cases for Riak in Gaming

  • Player Data: Riak provides low-latency, highly available data storage for key player data, including user and profile information, game performance, statistics and rankings, and more. Riak also provides many different tools for querying and indexing this data, such as Riak Search, Secondary Indexing, and MapReduce.
  • Session Storage: Riak is frequently used to store and serve session data with predictable low-latency – necessary for game play. Riak imposes no restrictions on the type of content stored (since all objects are stored on disk as binaries), so session data can be encoded in many ways and can evolve without administrative changes to schemas.
  • Social Information: Riak provides flexible, robust storage for social data such as social graph information, player profiles and relationships, and social authentication tokens.
  • Global Data Locality: When gaming, players require a low-latency experience, regardless of where they're physically located. Otherwise, interrupted or slow game play can lead to poor user experience and possible user abandonment. Riak Enterprise's multi-datacenter capabilities allow game data to be physically close to players and serve them data no matter where they happen to be.

Riak in Production

Riak is already in production by many top gaming platforms. Here's a look at a few that have switched to Riak.

Rovio
Rovio is the creator of the popular mobile game, Angry Birds. Since user growth can be hard to predict, they needed an infrastructure that could support unexpected viral growth without failing or causing downtime. They selected Riak due to its ease-of-scale and fault tolerance. Riak now powers their new cartoon series, Angry Birds Toons, and new mobile games. Learn more about why they moved to Riak in this case study and video from GDC.

Hibernum
Hibernum is a creator and developer of unique gaming experiences that combine the latest in social gaming, top quality visuals and animations, and cutting edge design. They switched from a relational database to Riak due to the high availability, ability to scale to peak loads, and predictable operational cost. Riak is used to store user game information for one of their most popular social games. Check out the complete case study, Hibernum Selects Riak for User Data Storage.

Kiip
Kiip is a platform for building rewards and achievements into your games. Kiip replaced MongoDB with Riak in order to achieve low read/write latencies and horizontal scalability. Kiip uses Riak for storing and serving session and device data. Learn more from the video on scaling Riak to 25MM Ops/Day.

Riot Games
Riot Games is the creator of League of Legends and faced some challenges with supporting millions of concurrent players at any given moment. They switched to Riak from MySQL for their next generation stats system, which tracks gameplay statistics and stores terabytes of data that gets aggregated and presented to players in near real-time. More information on how they use Riak and why they selected it can be found here.

Data Modeling in Riak

Riak has a "schemaless" design. Objects are comprised of key/value pairs, which are stored in flat namespaces called buckets. Here are some common approaches to structuring gaming data with Riak's key/value design:

Data Type Key Value
Player Data Login, Email, UUID Player Attributes (often stored as a JSON document); Player Rewards and Stats
Social Data Login, Email, UUID Player Profiles, Social Graph Information, Facebook/Twitter Tokens
Session Information User/Session ID Session Data
Image or Video Content Content Name, ID or Integer .JPG .PNG, .GIF or other image format; .MOV, .MPG, .MP4 or other video file format

To learn more about how gaming platforms can use Riak for their data needs, check out the complete overview, "Gaming on Riak: A Technical Introduction." To get started with Riak, Contact Us or download it now.

Basho


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Citrix Solutions Lab Executes Citrix Ready VDI Capacity Program [feedly]

  

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Citrix Solutions Lab Executes Citrix Ready VDI Capacity Program
// Citrix Blogs

@The Citrix Solutions Lab, our primary focus is the validation of end to end customer relevant solutions and to document our results to ensure partner and customer success. Storage represents one element of our overall design but an area where technologies are rapidly changing and customers are looking for more support and guidance. The drive for more cost optimized approaches also calls out some of…

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Vegas comes to Synergy [feedly]

  

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Vegas comes to Synergy
// Citrix Blogs

Citrix just announced the Grammy-winning rock band, Imagine Dragons for the Synergy Closing party. After three full days of training, insight and networking, this event will conclude on a high note at the Synergy Party. Conference attendees will gather for an evening of great food, fun activities, and entertainment featuring a live concert by Imagine Dragons, the award-winning alternative rock band from Las Vegas.The band…

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Citrix Synergy offers outstanding training and did you say social media advice too?! [feedly]

  

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Citrix Synergy offers outstanding training and did you say social media advice too?!
// Citrix Blogs

Citrix Synergy offers an exceptional three-day agenda that provides strategic insights into trends and innovations, intensive business and technical training and professional networking. Considering the many new programs and activities as well as four core tracks on Virtualization, Mobility, Networking and Cloud, you may wonder if social media plays a part amidst all of the business strategy, product updates and technology deep dives. I am…

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82% of Mobile Subscribers Fear Data Usage Impact of Mobile Apps [feedly]

  

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82% of Mobile Subscribers Fear Data Usage Impact of Mobile Apps
// Citrix Blogs

We surveyed mobile subscribers to find out what they really thought about mobile data usage and the user experience. It turns out that 82% of subscribers fear how much data usage a mobile app could consume and consequently curb usage.  Consumers also said they would use more data services if they were offered through a sponsored data plan. Specifically, 39% of subscribers would access bank…

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Network Automation Comes Alive in the DevNet Zone at Cisco Live! [feedly]

  

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Network Automation Comes Alive in the DevNet Zone at Cisco Live!
// Citrix Blogs

Today's networking model is complex and can be difficult to provision and troubleshoot for security, path optimization, QoS, and policy compliance.  A distinct problem is implementing and maintaining network settings across multiple devices in a campus or WAN network.  At best, the settings are static and time consuming to implement; at worst, manually maintained, error-prone and poorly managed, or just not feasible.  Is there a…

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From The Field! – XenDesktop/XenApp Bandwidth Update [feedly]

  

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From The Field! – XenDesktop/XenApp Bandwidth Update
// Citrix Blogs

Last year I published a series of blogs around the bandwidth requirements of XenDesktop and some of the optimizations that can be done to minimize those requirements and improve the overall user experience. The final blog explored XenDesktop 7.x and the new encoding methods which are now a key design decision in dictating the bandwidth requirements and user experience. I recently had the opportunity to…

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Synergy will get you moving – day and night [feedly]

  

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Synergy will get you moving – day and night
// Citrix Blogs

Citrix Synergy Los Angeles is all about enterprise mobility. You'll learn about solutions that help people work better, work smarter, and work from anywhere. Synergy by day You'll learn about mobile workspaces – what it means, how it's used, and what it can do for your business. You'll see state-of-the-art solutions from Cisco, IBM, HP, Dell, Microsoft, NetApp, SoftLayer, Nexenta, CSC, Citrix of course, and…

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The Dell-Citrix-NVIDIA Partnership – Delivering vGPU Accelerated Graphics TODAY [feedly]

  

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The Dell-Citrix-NVIDIA Partnership – Delivering vGPU Accelerated Graphics TODAY
// Citrix Blogs

At the NVIDIA GPU Technology Conference (GTC)  a couple weeks ago, VMware made a strategic announcement that they will support NVIDIA GRID™ vGPU technology for desktop virtualization.  VMware stated that this technology will become generally available in 2015.   The good news, though, is that VMware's announcement is a great endorsement for the high performance GRID vGPU technology already available with XenServer, one of the three hypervisors…

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New: Citrix Service Provider Center of Excellence [feedly]

  

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New: Citrix Service Provider Center of Excellence
// Citrix Blogs

Rarely does the "build it and they will come" strategy work in the technology industry. Therefore today Citrix is launching the Citrix Service Provider Center of Excellence  - a significant investment made on behalf of ALL of the  2,600+ Citrix Service Provider partners.  The singular focus is to accelerate the value their  hosted desktop businesses by providing industry-proven best practices, implementation resources, communities, and knowledge bases…

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Citrix Partner Hubbub: “Mission Benefits chooses ShareFile Cloud for Healthcare” [feedly]

  

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Citrix Partner Hubbub: "Mission Benefits chooses ShareFile Cloud for Healthcare"
// Citrix Blogs

Citrix ShareFile is winning industry awards and was featured in an IDC buyer case study. Learn about the strong market momentum of this solution. Mission Benefits, an employee benefits and health insurance advisory firm, selected ShareFile Cloud for Healthcare to help meet HIPAA compliance requirements, reduce internal inefficiencies and enhance customer service. This organization is featured in an IDC report, which states, "While cloud-based solutions…

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Part 4: Working to make migration simpler for XenApp customers! [feedly]

  

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Part 4: Working to make migration simpler for XenApp customers!
// Citrix Blogs

In the last week, our engineers have published two blogs covering technologies we're working on to simplify high availablility of XenApp and XenDesktop and improving session pre-launch/linger – both on the new Flexcast Management Architecture.  As promised, there is more information coming… Today, I want to cover migration and upgrade of XenApp, specifically what Citrix is doing to help customers start planning their migration from…

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Patching the Heartbleed OpenSSL Vulnerability with Puppet Enterprise [feedly]

  

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Patching the Heartbleed OpenSSL Vulnerability with Puppet Enterprise
// Puppet Labs

Patch management can be quick and easy with Puppet Enterprise. In cases like the recent Heartbleed vulnerability, time is of the essence: As system administrators, we need to quickly and efficiently deploy patches for these security vulnerabilities, and just as important, be able to show our management team that we've done it.


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Does the datacenter even matter anymore? [feedly]

  

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Does the datacenter even matter anymore?
// Citrix Blogs

Everybody's talking "cloud" these days. From marketing literature to the boardroom, cloud computing is one of the hottest topics, as the cloud promises to dynamically extend services and lower costs. Who wouldn't want that? The discussions are prompting many to ask whether onsite datacenters are still needed to best serve the needs of the modern business. It's an intriguing question. While onsite datacenters used to…

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Register Now! Designing your XenApp 7.5 Environment [feedly]

  

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Register Now! Designing your XenApp 7.5 Environment
// Citrix Blogs

Following the announcement of the technical webinar series around the release XenApp/XenDesktop 7.5, I am pleased to announce details of the first webinar in the series. This 3-part webinar series brought to you by Citrix Services will show you how to achieve implementation success with XA/XD 7.5, whether you are new to Citrix or a long-time Citrix admin. The first webinar in the series covers Designing…

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Highlights of Support Articles March 2014 [feedly]

  

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Highlights of Support Articles March 2014
// Citrix Blogs

Citrix Support is committed to providing updated and accurate information to our consumers. We are focused on ensuring there is relevant content to assist you in managing your environment. Find below the Citrix Knowledge Center Highlighted Articles for March 2014 .     Highlighted Desktop Virtualization Articles CTX128013   FAQ: XenDesktop Licensing CTX140452 Microsoft Security Patch Validation Report March 2014 CTX140427 How to Deploy XenApp and XenDesktop…

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The XenMobile Guide to Mobility Mastery at Citrix Synergy 2014 [feedly]

  

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The XenMobile Guide to Mobility Mastery at Citrix Synergy 2014
// Citrix Blogs

This blog will be continuously updated as we get closer to Citrix Synergy 2014. Be sure to check back frequently for even more updates on XenMobile, Mobile Workspaces and Mobility at Citrix Synergy 2014. It goes without saying but everyone has mobility on the mind today. In fact recent changes in the industry has validated the vision Citrix envisioned years ago. If mobility was an…

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VMs – The New Infrastructure Anachronism [feedly]

  

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VMs – The New Infrastructure Anachronism
// A Collection of Bromides on Infrastructure

 

anaThe virtualization of resources has been fundamental at every stage of the development of computing.  Today, application developers don't think about disk capacity, memory limits, or network bandwidth.  And they depend on resource virtualization for application isolation, privacy and security.  But as our appetite for computing has continued to grow, mapping virtualization onto point-in-time realities imposed by Moore's Law and human abilities to provision and manage resources at scale has required the constant addition of new abstractions.

Ten years ago in enterprise IT the key constraint was human:  It was simpler to provision a single application per (relatively cheap) x86 server and to scale-out, than to deal with the administrative challenges of multi-application servers; moreover applications had a pesky habit of being OS version dependent.   Meanwhile Moore's Law did its job, delivering vastly more capacity per device than the OS and a single application needed.   Result: lots of servers with low utilization.   The smart folk at VMware, followed by others (Xen, Microsoft Hyper-V, KVM) re-discovered hardware virtualization, using a hypervisor to permit a single server to host multiple Virtual Machines, each of which encapsulates and isolates an OS instance and its application(s) and enables it to execute unchanged against a virtualized hardware abstraction.

Fast-forward:  In today's enterprise datacenters server (and storage and network) virtualization has delivered far more than utilization gains:  Computing resources can be dynamically delivered to application instances based on business needs; relocation of running VMs delivers high-availability; and IT can quickly respond to demands for new capacity.  Most importantly, hypervisor based virtualization laid the foundation for Infrastructure as a Service cloud computing – a transformation that eliminates the (human labor practice of) physical resource provisioning and enables consumption-based resource pricing and VM-based server multi-tenancy.

But the abstraction has once again broken, and this time VMs are part of the problem.   Moore's Law never sleeps (why buy a server, or a router or switch?). Fast adoption of IaaS led to the DevOps movement, and mobile-fueled consumer SaaS (eg Netflix, Facebook), big-data, and the rise of Platform as a Service clouds that hide the very concept of an OS from the app developer increasingly make VMs an anachronism.   Applications adapt to infrastructure failures, and DevOps and PaaS frameworks can auto-scale application capacity across multiple servers – even in different data centers.  The (human) notion of running a VM on a server is irrelevant.  Moreover, public clouds increasingly thrive on OS homogeneity (eg: Ubuntu in AWS, or Windows Server in Azure) and having many copies of the OS on a single server (one in each VM) wastes memory, bloats storage and clogs the network.  Using a VM just to achieve the property of isolation, or to permit secure multi-tenancy is wasteful.  Applications can be better secured if the OS against which they run is minimized in size and optimized for the cloud – and only one copy of the OS is needed.

Crucially, the hardware-isolation technologies incorporated into CPUs to support server virtualization can now be used to deliver hardware-enforced multi-tenancy for applications, without the bulk of a full VM per application, using technologies such as micro-virtualization.   Today, the IaaS clouds rent you memory based on the size of your VM.   But how many copies of the OS do we really need on a server? Right: One.  The use of micro-virtualization in a cloud context will provide an extraordinarily light-weight capability for hardware multi-tenancy of applications – in micro-VMs.

Instead of booting a VM instance on a virtual server, micro-virtualization in the cloud will permit an application to just run, aganst a single bare-metal OS instance – in milliseconds – while benefiting from the hardware isolation offered by virtualization features in the server chipset.  In the Linux world, ZeroVM, built on NaCl offers a minimized bare-metal Linux that aims to offer secure isolation.  One could deliver a similar Windows capability fashioned on server core.

Instead of creating and managing VMs through their life-cycles (create the VM, patch the OS, install the app, boot, snapshot, suspend, resume, clone…) it will be easier to dynamically provision application instances into cloud-hosted micro-VMs using light-weight application containers such as Docker.  Why wait for a VM to boot when an app can instantly launch and run?  Docker application containers can also be moved on the fly – just as VMs before them – but there's no need to lug around a whole OS with the app. Instead, the application container can be moved to a new micro-VM and the old one destroyed.  In the Azure world, expect an evolution of today's application virtualization technologies, starting with an ability to move applications from Windows to Azure (FD). The recently announced .NET Foundation.could play a key role in future.

In both IaaS and PaaS clouds it is key to be able to efficiently run, relocate and automate application instances - for example to permit big-data queries to  execute mutually isolated on nodes that manage the data.  Hardware-isolation for application containers – using micro-virtualization – will do the rest.

There's another good reason to use micro-virtualization in the cloud: Density.   For Bromium's use case, micro-virtualization delivers about 100x density improvement by comparison with traditional fat VMs. On my Windows PC, hardware isolated applications in micro-VMs all share the Windows 7 OS, but execute copy-on-write.  I regularly have ~150 micro-VMs in under 4GB memory.   My guess is that if we were to re-price today's IaaS cloud offerings at a penny on the dollar while continuing to deliver hardware-enforced multi-tenancy, enable apps to just "run", and get IT out of OS and VM lifecycle management, adoption of cloud wouldn't be an option, it would be an imperative.

When we look back on enterprise IT infrastructure in 10 years, VMs will still play an important role – in private/hosted-private clouds where humans manage traditional enterprise IT applications that are tied to legacy OS dependencies.  For as long as legacy infrastructure applications remain, VMs will remain a key infrastructure abstraction.     But real clouds, both public and private, will provide granular, agile, app-centric hardware-enforced multi-tenancy with vastly superior resource utilization and availability – without the explicit need to expose the concept of a "virtual machine".

Next post: VMs are an anachronism in end-user computing too!



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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

What Heartbleed Tells Us About the Need for IT Automation [feedly]

  

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What Heartbleed Tells Us About the Need for IT Automation
// Puppet Labs

Heartbleed amply demonstrated how important IT automation is in security situations. But it's just as important for turning on a dime when the business demands it.


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O'Reilly Programming Blog: Ruby - The Unit Test-Friendly Language [feedly]

  

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O'Reilly Programming Blog: Ruby - The Unit Test-Friendly Language
// RubyFlow

Another post on the O'Reilly Programming blog, on how Ruby makes it easy to create mocks and stubs for unit tests.

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