FoundationDB gears up for the Internet of Things

When the anticipated tsunami of data from the Internet of Things hits the enterprise, FoundationDB’s flagship NoSQL database should be ready to handle to deluge.

The company has re-architectured its FoundationDB Key-Value Store to handle a significantly larger amount of data, which IoT sensors will no doubt soon generate and send to data centers.

“If there is one thing machines are good at is creating data,” said CEO Dave Rosenthal, explaining why a significant increase in data ingestion rates is necessary. “We’re moving from a world of human-generated data to a world of machine-generated data.”

In internal tests, version 3 of the FoundationDB Key-Value Store, running on a 32-machine cluster on Amazon’s EC2 (Elastic Cloud Compute), demonstrated the ability to execute more than 14 million writes per second, a significant gain over 400,000 random writes per second earlier versions of the software could handle.

The FoundationDB Key-Value Store also trumpeted a number of other speed tests from competing technologies. A Netflix implementation of Cassandra, for instance, can execute more than a million random writes per second.

Google also said that it was able to get a million writes per second from its cloud-hosted Cassandra.

As its name states, the FoundationDB Key-Value Store is a distributed key-value database that can span multiple servers to increase the amount of data being held, and to write and retrieve values more quickly. Data can be fetched either through SQL (Structured Query Language) or an API (application programming interface).

Thus far, Web 2.0-styled e-commerce companies such as Bede Gaming and Customer.io have mostly used the database. FoundationDB is expecting more usage in the years to come from organizations setting up IoT networks.

Random writes per second is the key metric to think about when considering which database to choose for an IoT system, Rosenthal said. An organization may have thousands of sensors monitoring operational data in factories, or collecting GPS location updates from the portable telephones of millions of users.

Over 30 billion devices should be connected to the Internet by 2020, IDC has estimated. So, IT architects are wondering “how to build systems that collect and process all of this data from all of these devices,” Rosenthal said.

“We see people all the time who say they need to do 250,000 writes per second, or that they are launching a service that needs a million writes per second. And all of these people want to be prepared to scale,” Rosenthal said. “You don’t want to use a database that is right up against the limit of what you want to do.”

In addition to the speed boosts, which came about thanks to a significant re-architecting, FoundationDB Key-Value Store 3.0 also comes with a number of other new features. Most notably, it now offers centralized database monitoring, allowing administrators to watch over all of the machines in a cluster, rather than just each one on a case-by-case basis.

FoundationDB Key Value Store version 3.0 can be downloaded at no cost. Enterprise licensing and support starts at $99 per process per month.

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