Coder Brad Heller, Cloudability & Riak

This coming April 29th (Monday) we’ll have Brad Heller coming in to give us the low down on how Cloudability has used Riak (click link meetup event). He sent me a short list outline of the topics he plans to hit. Here’s a few key data problems they’ve run into and how they’ve solved those problems with Riak & other solutions.


    • What does Cloudability do?
    • Why do we like Riak?
    • Challenges of raw storage in our data pipeline.
  • Idempotency
  • Scale
  • Reliability
    • S3 vs. Riak
  • Queryable S3
  • Maintain “State”
    • Data Pipelines: Specific problems.
    • Idempotency
  • What has been processed?
  • How to figure out what to reprocess?
    • Scaling this.
  • Pipelines scale horizontally
  • Backpressure / failure modes
    • How do we use Riak to address these?
    • Raw data goes directly in Riak (metadata record, raw data record)
    • 2i on metadata record to find what needs processing
    • 2i on metadata record to find stuff to reprocess.
    • Atomic writes: Let Riak assign keys.
  • Duplicate Data is OK, idempotency maintained further down the chain.
  • Don’t worry about collisions–last one wins.
  • Predictable keys are helpful though.
    • Scale is built in!!
  • Read/write throughput gets better with more nodes.
    • What we don’t use.
    • Online MapReduce.
    • Only use for backoffice processes
  • When something isn’t indexed, identify bad data.
  • Add index.
    • Key filtering
  • Riak craps it’s pants.
    • Problems we’ve had
    • Ops is easy, but lots of unexpected behavior.
  • Riak eats all memory, craps it’s pants.
    • Erlang is hard.
  • Everyone on our team hates Erlang except me (Brad).
  • Stacktraces will confuse you a lot at first.
    • Riak is “expensive” compared to S3.
  • We run a ring of 5 m1.xlarge with EBS + provisioned IOPS.

That covers all the topics Brad wants to cover, which I’m sure that brings up a lot of questions already! So the presentation will be great and we’ll be sure to have a good chunk of time for questions and a few beers afterwards!

For more on Brad, give a follow on twitter @bradhe and endorse him for random skill sets like dishwasher programming and coffee cup holding on LinkedIn! Also you can read

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