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Welcome to NuoDB Swifts Release 2.1 GA

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Note: This blog was published over a year ago. Content may be out of date.

NuoDB Swifts Release 2.1 is a HUGE release.

I described our goals for Release 2.1, and some of our ideas for where we'll be headed beyond 2.1 - in my posting at the start of the Release 2.1 Beta. We've now emerged from the end of a very successful Beta and Release 2.1 is now generally available.

Here's a summary of the new features and capabilities of this release.

Automation

Automation is a high-level requirements-oriented approach to managing databases. For instance, suppose your goal is to “operate a database that is minimally redundant”. With Automation, you’d apply the supplied “Minimally Redundant” Automation Template when you create the database. NuoDB does the rest, spinning up Transaction Engines and Storage Managers on a minimum of two hosts. Furthermore, Automation ensures that if a host goes offline, another will be automatically selected on which to start replacement Transaction Engines (TEs) and Storage Managers (SMs) as necessary to sustain the Template requirements. In this way, you can think of a Template as a Service Level Agreement (SLA) that expresses and enforces your deployment goals, and Automation as a way of “putting the datacenter on autopilot”.

Release 2.1 brings significant improvements and updates to Automation:

  • NuoDB management layer improvements for detection & enforcement of Automation Template SLAs
  • Enhanced Automation Template parameterization capabilities (Template variables, Host Tags for Supplying Options & Host Tags for a database, Supplying Host Tags for a Host)
  • New REST API and command line capabilities for creating, managing, and monitoring domains and databases and administering all aspects of system operation.  
  • New REST API for metrics and alerts via optional system database or via JMX

With this coverage, a NuoDB domain can be completely integrated into your particular environment. Or use the REST APIs to create a DBaaS for your enterprise.

Additionally, we've refreshed and unified our browser-based tools, for interactive access to most of the same capabilities supported via API and command line. The tool suite, Admin Center, provides 1-click access to:

  • Admin Center home page: up-to-date content and online resources
  • Automation Console: interactive tool for creating, managing, and monitoring managed databases
  • SQL Explorer: browse databases, schemas, and submit SQL queries
  • Documentation, Forums, Tech Blog, Feedback, Code samples
  • Built-in Quickstart and Storefront demos, both of which have been updated for 2.1
  • Admin Console: our original tool for administering unmanaged (non-Automated) databases.

 

The new Admin Center menu for 1-click access to NuoDB's interactive tool suite.

 

The updated Automation Console in action.

 

The Basics

Performance, scalability, hundreds of improvements based on customer scenarios, and key investments, including:

  • Introduction of a cost-based SQL optimizer and improvements to SQL indexing (in multi-TE and batch scenarios), resulting in significant performance improvements
  • Improvements to Migrator, for importing data into NuoDB, including a new parallel data loading option (beta testers have reported dramatically-reduced import times), improvements in loading of indexes, and added support for MySQL data types, improved date types, and new support for ENUM types

We've also added an affinity-based load balancer, which makes it easy to pair workloads to specific hosts. For instance, if you're running a memory-intensive workload, you can map its database access to Transaction Engines (TEs) running on large memory hosts. Other workloads against the same database can be directed to hosts configured appropriately for those workloads.

Hybrid Transaction and Analytical Processing (HTAP) 

HTAP is a term for a conceptual scenario where transactional workloads operate in parallel with analytical workloads. Enterprises benefit from being able to analyze their operational data in real-time, as opposed to offloading it for analysis later.

These two kinds of workloads place conflicting requirements on the database. Analytical workloads are characterized by relatively long-running queries over much of the dataset, which may block, or be blocked by the typically high-rate transactional workloads. Also, the memory and CPU requirements for each kind of workloads differ greatly.

NuoDB is uniquely suited to support the kinds of simultaneous workloads required for HTAP, because of its support for MVCC (to eliminated blocking due to locking) and the ability to scale out Transaction Engines (TEs) elastically in support of multiple, and diverse, workloads. Through the use of the affinity balancer introduced in this release, analytic workloads can be mapped to specific TEs on appropriate (high memory, high CPU) hardware configurations. This means that cache pollution is avoided: the in-memory caches for those analytics TEs remain “hot” for analytic workloads, while the caches for OLTP TEs remain “hot” for those workloads. 

Read more in our new white paper, which will be out later this week! We will be doing more in this space in coming releases. 

Enterprise Integrations

We've heard from customers that it's important to be able to integrate NuoDB into their existing datacenter monitoring and alarming systems. To that end, we've added preview support for these popular monitoring solutions and interfaces:

  • Java Management Extensions (interface for monitoring and alerting, to allow integration with JConsole and many 3rd-party tools)
  • New Relic: A SaaS tool to help cross-functional teams tackle the challenge of monitoring complex production software.
  • Zabbix: Open-source software designed for monitoring availability and performance of IT infrastructure components.
  • AWS Quickstart: an easy, flexible, and customizable kit for quickly configuring a complete domain in AWS. Install it on your laptop, answer a few questions in the command line tool, and a few minutes later you'll have a multi-host domain provisioned in your AWS account.

The New Relic, Zabbix, and AWS Quickstart are available at our GitHub repository. So feel free to customize these as you see fit. Or, as noted above, use our REST APIs and command line utilities for a completely customized integration.

We’ve also finalized our support for hosting Drupal, the immensely popular and capable Open Source CMS, atop NuoDB. NuoDB enables a highly-available site right out of the box with a two host configuration, or a multi-region setup with just a little more effort, side-stepping the usual complexity of a, say, replicated MySQL configuration. We’ll soon be running our own corporate site (nuodb.com) on it. See our GitHub respository for the details.

To Learn More

We've completely revamped our online documentation (available here - we'd love your feedback). Be sure to browse the Release Notes for details about what’s new and different about this release and important updates for existing users. 

Updates to our Editions and release cadence

We have made some changes to the editions of our Product:

  • Community (Free) Edition: we'll start publishing latest builds of our software, for development, evaluation, and testing purposes.  Our free Community software is not recommended for serious production use and licensed for use on a maximum of two host machines.  Community users continue to receive free online Forum support of the software.  
  • Developer Edition:  we are discontinuing the Developer Edition in lieu of the new Enterprise Edition trial.
  • Enterprise Edition trial: Our experience over the past year have also shown us that customers intending to fully evaluate and deploy NuoDB on large-scale should sign up for our Enterprise Edition trial, which provides the following benefits:
  • You can evaluate the software across various scale-out and redundancy scenarios
  • You'll have access to existing and new enterprise features that are currently under development
  • You'll full email & telephone customer support during the trial

Our plan is to always be shipping, with updates to 2.x being released on a quarterly basis in 2015.

In Closing

Release 2.1 continues the trajectory established over the past year (continued scalability, performance, and other improvements) while also highlighting themes (Automation, HTAP, Enterprise Integration) that you’ll see us revisiting and investing in again in coming releases. We believe NuoDB can play a central role in an enterprise’s data architecture, and where Automation is a fundamental enabler for a fully-managed, self-healing “Autopilot” datacenter.

Thank you to our Beta testers, who helped us focus on specific, significant improvements to the product!

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